Blackcurrant Sunflower Seeds Pound Cake

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Itching to bake cakes and to use up my sour cream, I made a Blackcurrant Sunflower Seeds Pound Cake. I bake into many many smaller loaves so that I can give away.
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Recipe for Blackcurrant Sunflower Seeds Pound Cakes, adapted from Honey Bee Sweets.

(Makes 6 mini aluminum loaves)

Ingredients:
250g Liv unsalted butter, room temperature
310g Caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2tsp Vanilla paste
200g Sour cream
400g Plain flour
2 3/4 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
80g Sunflower seeds
80g Blackcurrants

Method: 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare 6 mini aluminium pans.
2. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and the hot water together to make a smooth paste.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs and then vanilla. Then add in the sour cream, and scraping the bottom of the mixing bowl to make sure it is evenly combined.
4. Fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and blend well.
5. Lastly, mix in blackcurrant and sunflower seeds into the batter and mix well.
6. Place in the oven to bake for 32mins. Bake till golden brown and the tester comes out clean. 
7. Once baked, remove from oven and let cool completely.
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Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seed Loaves

My recent favourite baking is breads. It is a staple in my family. Especially when I have attended several bread workshops, I have more confidence in baking better breads for my family.
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Recipe for Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seed Loaves, modified from天然麵包香Natural Breads Made Easy.
(Makes 2 loaves, or 1 1/2 loaves with 6 buns)

Ingredients:
Pre-ferment dough
411g Bread flour
235g Water
4g Instant Yeast
6g Fine salt
12g Milk powder

1) Prepare pre-ferment dough: Mix yeast with water, then combine the rest of the ingredients.  Knead till smooth dough. Cover and keep in fridge for at least 17 hours before use. (I kept this for about 24 hours.)

Main dough
176g Bread flour
18g Milk powder
6g Fine salt
2g Instant yeast
59g Fine sugar
59g Water
41g Liv unsalted butter
135g Mashed cooked pumpkin
88g Raw shredded pumpkins

100g (approx) Pumpkin seeds for decorations

Method:
2) Mix all ingredients for main dough except shredded pumpkins till combined. Gradually add in the pre-fermented dough, piece by piece and knead to get a smooth dough. (about 5mins on low speed)

3) Add in the shredded pumpkins and butter and knead to form a smooth and elastic dough. (about 5 mins on medium speed) Check for window pane test. Cover and proof the dough for 30 minutes.

4) Divide the dough equally into two if doing two loaves. Shape the dough and place aside and let it rest for 15mins.

5) Roll the dough out flat, and roll it up tight like swiss rolls and seal it tightly.

6) Spray the top and sides with water. Then roll it on a tray of pumpkin seeds.
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7) Place it into a bread loaf pan and let it proof for 45mins.
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8) Bake in preheated oven of 180C for 30-35 minutes till golden brown.

9) Remove from the baking pan immediately after baking. Let it cool completely before consuming.
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Laing - AFF Philippines July 2014

When I was in Legazpi, Philippines, my friend took us to a popular eatery called Small Talk Cafe. It was my first meal in Philippines. It was like a small family business. It served yummy fusion Filipino Italian food.

I tried a pizza with taro leaves. The leaves tasted like some creamy coconut. I really like the taste of it. When my friend knew that I liked it, she purposely asked the driver to detour and let me buy the leaves. It was frozen packed. When I came back, I requested my helper to cook it. As taro leaves are special to Bicol province, she has not tasted this before. I had to surf the web and instruct her to cook it.
3 Aug 13 - Pizza. Lunch @ Small Talk Cafe.
This was how it was described.
"This Laing recipe or Bicol laing is a dish indigenous to the Bicol province. Rich and creamy, it's made from dried taro or gabi leaves and coconut milk."
laing
Recipe for Laing (Taro Leaves Cooked in Coconut Milk), modifed from Filipino Food.

Ingredients:
250g Frozen Taro Leaves (including roasted pork, garlic, salt and chilli)
80g Coconut Milk
1 tsp Sauteed Shrimp Paste(Bagoong Alamang)
1 tbsp Cooking Oil for sauteing

Method:
1. Heat the wok, then add the cooking oil.

2. Add in the defrost taro leaves and gently stir to cook. 

3. Add coconut milk and let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

4. Cook until the taro leaves have fully absorbed the coconut milk and almost rendering fat.

5. Serve with rice.

I'm submitting this to Asian Food Fest Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

Mixed Vegetables in Coconut Milk - AFF Philippines July 2014

Last year, I was coaxed by my dear Filipino friend to visit Philippines. She arranged my whole itinerary. It was truly one of the best holiday I ever had! We not only had a lot of sight-seeing and activities, we also experienced all kinds of cuisines, especially Filipino cusines! It was also my first time having fresh sea urchin and balut. And best of all, we were driven around by her chauffeur in Manila! She was truly such a good host I almost can't bear to leave Manila!
3 Aug 13 - Mayon Volcano from Cagsawa Ruins. 4 Aug 13 - Our boat - Kirsten. 4 Aug 13 - Under the sea. 4 Aug 13 - Starfishes. 4 Aug 13 - Fresh live sea urchin delicacies. IMG_2995 IMG_3084 P1000565
While I was there, I ate a lot of dishes cooked in coconut milk. They were known as ginataang gulay. It means vegetables stewed in coconut milk. Here are two of these I had in Philippines.
9 Aug 13 - Coconut vegetables. Lunch @ Romulo. 4 Aug 13 - Homecooked coconut french beans. Lunch @ Subic Beach hut.
They were so good, I had to ask my helper to re-create them at home. She was pretty familliar with this. And since I bought Achuete seeds and bagoong, she added them to the vegetables to make it more Filipino taste. The achuete seeds made it more reddish. Here's how to prepare them.
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Recipe for Mixed Vegetables in Coconut Milk aka ginataang gulay
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

Half a large oval (Cameron) cabbage
1 Carrot, sliced
4 slices Ginger
200g Pumpkin
1 tbsp Achuete seeds
1 tbsp Bagoong
250g Coconut cream
Cooking oil
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Method:

  1. Heat wok, add the cooking oil.
  2. Sauteed achuete seeds in the oil, when the oil is dark orange in colour, discard the seeds.
  3. Add in bagoong and ginger and stir till fragrant.
  4. Add in pumpkin and cooked till slightly soft.
  5. Add in cabbage and carrot and sauteed till soft.
  6. Turn down the heat, and add in coconut milk and let it slimmer for about 15mins.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with rice.
I'm submitting this to Asian Food Fest Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

Rainbow Cake

This post is sponsored by Liv butter. Try Liv today!
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Times just flies by in a flash! It is already coming to end June. This year, I decided to bake a birthday cake for myself. It's a cake I've always wanted to bake - Rainbow Cake. I have put this in my list of to bake and finally, I got to bake it!
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This cake recipe was adapted from Dreamersloft. Actually, it wasn't difficult to make, except having to mix the colours. I actually baked it in two batches of 3. I think I might have slightly overbaked it. I also didn't mix the egg whites well. But the rainbow colour made up for it!
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Recipe for Rainbow Cake, adapted from Dreamersloft.
(Makes a 7", 6 layers, recipe from Whisk Kid)

Ingredients:
320g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp salt
170g Liv unsalted butter, slightly softened
320g caster sugar
4.5 egg whites, room temperature
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
270g fresh milk, room temperature
Red, green, yellow, blue gel colouring (Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease 3 x 7" cake pans and line with parchment paper. (Alternatively, grease the cake pans and dust generously with flour, then tap away excess flour). Set aside.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the egg whites gradually, then add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.
5. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, until just blended. Stop to scrap down sides of the bowl with spatula as necessary.
6. Divide into 6 portions (each about 180g).
7. Add food colouring to each portion using toothpick, bit by bit to desired colour tone. Mix thoroughly to ensure all the colouring is well blended with the batter.
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8. Pour batter into cake pans and smooth the surface. Bake for about 13 mins. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely. Bake the other three batters.
9. Place the cake pans on a wire rack to cool for 15 mins. Invert the cakes onto rack and let cool completely. If not frosting immediately, wrap each layer individually with clingwrap.
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Frosting
500g Whipping Cream
50g Sugar

1. Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff peak.
2. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a serving plate/tray and spread some whipping cream evenly. Repeat this process until all cake layers are stacked.
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3. Crumb-coat the top and sides of the cake, and place the cake into the fridge to chill for 30 mins.
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4. Frost the cake and garnish as desired.
5. Chill the cake to set the frosting. Leave in room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.
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No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

Don't we all get attracted by easy and good recipes? At least I do. No churn ice cream sounds good to me as my family loves ice cream - stick, cone or tub. We usually have some form of ice creams in our freezer to satisfy our cravings.

As my fridge ran out of ice cream recently, I decided to make some ice cream. This recipe - No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream, is really easy to prepare. However, it is very sweet even after I reduced the condensed milk. The taste, smoothness was pretty much like a real ice-cream, except it lacks some body. Such ice cream cannot crystalised like the real thing. Nothing can compared to those ice-cream made with custard, this is just a quick fix on ice cream cravings.
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Recipe for No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream, adapted from Baking Bites.
(Makes a 1 litre tub)

Ingredients:
300g  Sweetened condensed milk (Milkmaid)
2 tsp Vanilla beans paste
500g Whipping cream
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Method:

1. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl until well-combined.
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2. Whip cream to stiff peaks in a large bowl. Stir 1/3 of the mixture into the sweetened condensed milk to lighten it, then fold in remaining whipped cream.
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3. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, at least 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
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