Category Archives: Cakes

Steamed Cakes

Hi dear blog …..it’s been almost a year again since my last post so I guess it’s time for another update. I will strive to maintain you a bit more than I have done. For some time now I’ve lacked the inclination to maintain blogging but that is no fault of yours. At any rate, it’s good to have my favorite recipes compiled together and I hope they will be useful for other people.

The recipe below is for Steamed Cakes and is one of my mother’s. Like most of the other recipes here, steamed cakes is also a form of comfort food for me.

As the seasons are changing and we enter cold, drizzly Autumn, my craving for comfort food has returned.

My life is also going through its own seasons and some recent experiences have left me feeling confused, shocked and with my nerves worse for wear.

There have also been some changes at work which have added to my feelings of tiredness. I work for a charity organisation that supports people with disability.  It is for me something I love. I’ve been doing volunteer work since I was in high school and have always wanted to work in the community sector. A job that allows me to do this which also focuses on promoting social inclusion and diversity is something I always dreamed of. However the sector is also changing with the introduction of a new insurance system  for people with disability.  

With all these changes and recent experiences, I feel physically and emotionally tired. I am definitely wanting comfort food these days. The fortunate thing for me is that I live at home so at the end of a long day, a most beloved and comforting sight is there to greet me (mom) along with warm, comfort food which she has already cooked.  I’m very blessed that for me cooking is something I do optionally and as a hobby (although this has resulted in you dear blog becoming somewhat neglected).  So, on to her recipe for steamed cakes:

mayyoucookitricecakes

Ingredients

About 1/2 cup melted butter
3 cups self raising flour
1  1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
Approx 2 cups water
1/2 tsp baking powder

Instructions

  1. Cream together the sugar and butter.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder together.
  4. Add the flour and water, beginning and ending with the flour. The batter should have the consistency of a pancake mixture.
  5. Pour into individual molds and steam for about 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.Serve warm with butter or a little bit of cheese.  

The recipe above is for basic steamed cakes to which  you can add your favorite flavor extracts and coloring. In the picture above, I had made  buko-pandan, yam and strawberry flavored steamed cakes. To make this, just divide your batter into 3 separate bowls and add your extracts and coloring respectively before pouring them into the individual molds and steaming. 

Advertisements

Jadeite love

My mother and I were watching a show we both love not too long ago when we made a wonderful discovery. The show was ….dare I say it? Arguably uncool, totally nerdy but so what I love it Poirot. I like Agatha Christie’s novels and enjoy watching the Poirot and Miss Marple series.

The Poirot series is set in the 1930’s and we were admiring the art deco items from the time. My mother noticed the tea set from the episode we were watching and said it looked a lot like the dishes they’d had when she was a child. They were milky green, a bit transclucent and lovely. Before we left the Philippines she looked all over for another set but could never find any. For the last 27 years since we moved to Australia she had looked for these dishes at homeware and department stores but still could not find them.

So, when she mentioned it to me, I did a little bit of research the intuitive 2015 way……Google! Within minutes, we solved the mystery of the green dishes. My grandfather had worked as an aircraft mechanic for an American air base in the Philippines (before Philippines had their own airport, then he moved to Philippines Airlines) and consequently often bought American-made products from the base which he brought home. It turned out the dishes were jadeite plates and it made sense that my mother couldn’t find them in the Philippines or Australia because they appeared not to have been produced in either country. However, they were mass produced in the US and were inexpensive during the 1930s- 1970’s. They were manufactured by McKee (the first to produce these), Jeanette Glass Company and Anchor Hocking. Mosser Glass produces more modern jadeite pieces.

JadeiteloveMayYouCookIt

My search in sites like Ebay and Etsy led me to vintage jadeite plates while in Amazon.com I found a variety of new and old. They are collectable items these days and although they were reasonably priced, they turned out a little bit expensive in terms of postage and currency conversion. Interestingly, in my searches I could not find one single posting from Australia so I had to order them from overseas (most from the US, one from France). 

After we discovered what the plates were,  I have to admit I also fell in love with their beautiful mint green loveliness. I understand now why my mother loved them so much and it is nice to have a lovely part of history on our table.

Mocha Chiffon Cake with Buttercream frosting

It was my brother’s birthday recently and his favorite cake is mocha chiffon. Like a dutiful little sister, I decided to make him a mocha chiffon cake for his birthday. The recipe  is outlined below which is pretty straightforward to make and tastes delicious.

For the mocha chiffon cake you’ll need:

6 eggs at room temperature, separated.

1/2 cup oil

1 cup sugar

1 tsp cocoa power

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp coffee and chicory essence

1 cup self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cream of tartar

IMG_4777_BLOG

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius and grease two 9×2 inch baking pans.

2. Mix the yolks and sugar until light and creamy. Gradually add the oil then mix in the vanilla, chicory and coffee essence.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the yolk mixture. Mix until well combined.

4. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.

5. Gradually fold in the egg whites into the yolk and flour mixture.

6. Pour  the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

7. Leave to cool in the pan for about 15 mins before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Sandwich the cakes using some of the buttercream icing and decorate the exterior with the remainder. I used a blue ombre design  for my brother’s cake and topped it off with 2 large gumpaste flowers.

MayYouCookIt

For the buttercream frosting you’ll need:

1 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla essence or preferred flavoring (for this I used (surprise, surprise!) coffee and chicory essence)

3 cups icing sugar

1. Whisk butter and icing sugar until light and creamy.

2. Add the essence and a little milk if a lighter consistency is desired.

Macarons

What is deliciously light, chewy, and can almost always guarantee a smile no matter how long or grey the day may be? What else but theMacaron ? The Lindt Chocolate Bar serves delicious macarons. I love to sink into one of their comfortable chairs with a coffee and macaron as the stress of the day is slowly replaced with contentment.

The macaron was arguably introduced to mainstream Sydney by superstar patissier Adriano Zumbo during his appearances in Master Chef Australia. Since then, his inner city cafe has become a mecca for foodies, pastry lovers and macaron seekers of all kinds.

The modern macaron that Adriano Zumbo introduced was developed by Pierre Desfontaines from the French pâtisserie Ladurée *. It consists of two almond meringue shells filled with buttercream, ganache or jam filling. When I first considered making them from scratch, I decided to reconsider that notion and examine it. They are notoriously difficult to make and require a lot of patience and perseverance. The thought of making these delicate brightly colored biscuits intimidated me. What if I put in all this effort only to have a batch of cracked, deflated cookies? Is it really worth the time and energy? Why bother making them when I can buy them from someone who knows how to make them already? But there the turning point lay – if I let this fear of failure stop me from trying to learn how to master the macaron, then I will spend the rest of my life never knowing this skill. The macaron loomed in my mind, a neon tinted fancy mockingly bwaking chicken…chicken.. ch-ch-chicken! I made up my mind. It was time to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

To make the macarons you’ll need:

Macaron Shells:
3 cups sifted icing sugar
3 cups ground almonds
5 egg whites (aged)
1/3 cup caster sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
Flavouring and food colouring

Chocolate Ganache:
125g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
Approx 100 ml heavy cream

Untitled3

  1. Separate the yolks from the whites and leave the egg whites in the fridge to age for at least 24 hours.
  2. Using an electric blender, grind the almond and powered sugar together until very fine.
  3. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and keep whisking until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Stir in your preferred coloring and flavouring.
  5. Fold the almond and sugar mixture into the egg whites. Fold carefully, making sure the mixture is fully incorporated.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round 5mm nozzle. Pipe 2cm rounds onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Set meringue aside to dry for about 45 mins (this helps to reduce cracking)
  7. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius and bake the macarons for about 15 mins or until firm when lightly tapped.
  8. Allow the macarons to cool on the tray. The macarons should lift from the baking paper easily, but if the bottoms are a little sticky, use a sharp knife to lift them.
  9. To make the ganache filling, heat the cream and pour it over the chocolate. Mix gently until the chocolate melts. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Allow it to cool until the mixture thickens.
  10. Match up similarly sized macaron shells. Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag and pipe onto one half of the macaron shells before topping with the other macaron shell.

Christmas Wreath Cake

This cake is simple to make and the result is quite lovely. It was something of an experiment, and as an early attempt the results were not exactly as I had envisaged. Still, I think with practice (or if made by a more practiced cook) it has the potential to be quite beautiful. I have decided that this will be a keeper. Consequently, there may be wreath cakes sporadically gracing my family’s table throughout the year before next Christmas hehe.

IMG_3639_3

You can make it with a whole ring cake or with cupcakes. Personally, I prefer using cupcakes and in this instance I used chocolate cupcakes. To make the cupcakes, you’ll need:

1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
100g milk chocolate
125g softened butter
3 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour

I opted for cream cheese frosting and for this you’ll need:

125g softened butter
250g cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted icing sugar
Green icing coloring

For the leaves and berries I used:

250g white chocolate
Several bunches of mint leaves.
Green food coloring
Jaffas

Instructions

    1. Wash and dry the mint leaves.
    2. Melt the white chocolate and stir in the green coloring.
    3. Brush the white chocolate over the mint leaves or dip one side into the melted chocolate. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and allow the chocolate to set.
    4. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celscius and grease muffin pans.
    5. Combine the water and milk chocolate over low heat, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
    6. Beat the sugar and butter until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    7. Sift the flours and cocoa together. Gradually add into the sugar, butter and egg mixture, stirring until just combined.
    8. Stir in the melted chocolate and spoon into the prepared muffin pans.
    9. Bake for about 20 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
    10. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in several drops of green coloring and mix well.
    11. Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag and pipe onto the cupcakes using a large star tip.
    12. Arrange the cupcakes to form a circle then place additional cupcakes to make a second, inner circle.
    13. Gently peel off the leaves from the hardened chocolate.
    14. Arrange the chocolate leaves and jaffas on top of the cupcakes

IMG_3632_6

You can also place chocolate cake truffles in the center of the wreath if you prefer. To make the cake truffles:

  1.  Process the unused cupcakes in a food processor until fine crumbs form.
  2. Pour the cake crumbs into a large mixing bowl and spoon several tablespoons of the remaining frosting until the mixture forms a dough.
  3. Roll the mixture into balls and then toss in cocoa powder or dip into melted chocolate. Place the balls in the center of the wreath.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I broke my stand mixer not too long ago and this precipitated a need to buy a new one. I’ve wanted a KitchenAid mixer for a while now but had never bought one because it seemed so extravagant. They’re a bit costly here in Australia ranging from $650 – $1200 each. However, since I needed to replace my mixer anyway, and I want one that will last a long time, I decided to take the plunge and buy the long desired KitchenAid. I have to admit I’m happy I did. I chose the “ice” colored mixer from the Artisan range but it strikes me as more of a duck egg blue. I didn’t really want the iconic red and my eye was consistently drawn to this lovely light green/blue color. It’s a beautiful piece of equipment and I was excited to try it out when it was delivered.

IMG_3540

For its inaugural task, I decided to bake a Pineapple Upside Down CakeThis cake is the first thing I learned to bake, so it seemed fitting that it should be the first thing my dream mixer should make hehe. I was eight years old and eager to take on Yan Can Cook when I learned this recipe. Problem was, I wasn’t allowed to play around the kitchen yet. After a prolonged campaign of  pestering, I finally succeeded in convincing my mother to let me bake. We made a Pineapple Upside Down Cake together. Well, at least my mother did. I made a mess, but I did mix the batter and added ingredients every now and then.  I didn’t do much in terms of cooking that day and never did develop the skills to take on Mr Yan, but I did have a great time. Albeit under the watchful eye of my mother, who was determined to stop me from enjoying myself to the full in her constant efforts to keep me from falling off the chair, falling into the batter or burning myself, the kitchen or the house down.

This cake is pretty simple to make and very tasty. To make it, you’ll need:

2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup softened butter
1 cup white or caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 can pineapple pieces
1 packed cup brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter (extra)
Maraschino cherries

IMG_3543

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 20cm round cake tin using the 1/2 cup extra butter.
  2. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the base of the tin and arrange the pineapple pieces and maraschino cherries evenly on top.
  3. Beat the butter, vanilla and sugar until the mixture is light and creamy.
  4. Add the eggs gradually, beating well after each addition.
  5. Sift the flour over the mixture, adding alternatively with the milk.
  6. Pour the batter over the pineapple, sugar and maraschino cherries.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan for a few minutes before turning it over onto a plate.

pineapple

Chocolate Cupcakes

I recently had occasion to make cupcakes and I thought this time I’d use some white chocolate frosting..I love chocolate in any way, shape or form and I like the taste of the chocolate frosting better than buttercream. Of course, the only appropriate topping would have to be more chocolate :-) This time in cookie form, hehe.

IMG_3309-Copy

Cupcake 
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
100g milk chocolate
125g softened butter
3 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour

Frosting 
120 gms white chocolate melts.
1/4 hot water
2 cups icing sugar
100 gm butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate cream cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celscius and line muffin pans.
  2. Combine the water and milk chocolate over low heat, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  3. Beat together the sugar and butter until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Sift the flours and cocoa together. Gradually add into the sugar, butter and egg mixture, stirring until just combined.
  5. Stir in the melted chocolate and spoon into the prepared muffin pans.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the center bounces back when lightly tapped. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
  7. To make the frosting, combine the white chocolate and hot water. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
  8. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in the cooled white chocolate then place in the fridge until the frosting is firm enough to pipe.
  9. Place the frosting in an icing bag and pipe onto the cupcakes using a star tip.
  10. Cut some chocolate cream cookies in half and place on top of the frosted cupcakes.