Blackforest Birthday Cake

My mum turns 70 years old earlier this month. We made her hold a birthday celebration. As  Chinese, she likes to add one more year to her age (don't know why). Therefore, I was tasked, or rather, volunteered to bake a birthday cake for her party.

It was very stressful to bake such a big cake, enough to feed 30 persons. After thinking through for a long time, I decided to make the most basic cake - Black forest Cake. I wanted to make a cake which I know my parents will like. I've made this cake before, and they liked it. So this time, I made it into a larger cake. The cake sheet was so thin and fragile. It was rather difficult to do the transfer. I baked three 14" x 10" cake sheets. Bought 3kg of dark pitted cherries and two non-diary whipping cream. In the end, I used 2/3 of the pitted cherries and about 1.2kg of the whipping cream. Not to forget the maraschino cherries for decorations.

Recipe for one cake sheet is here. Bake at 180C for 15mins. Here are the various steps I took to make the cake. For the wordings, melt compound chocolate and mould it accordingly. Then colour the whipping cream and write the wordings.

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Golden Apple Streusel Tart

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Suddenly had the urge to eat apple pie. So I decided to try this recipe from Gordon. Perhaps, it was the other way round. I borrowed this book from the library, and it seemed to be calling out to me to bake it and eat it. So I did! I really love this tart. Using Granny Smith green apple, it was very tarty (and quite sourish). You also see that I used very little sugar for the fillings. It's all so authetic apple taste. I really love it!
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Recipe for Golden  Apple Streuel Tart, modfied from Gordon Ramsay, "Desserts".
Makes 8" and 6" tarts

Ingredients:
Pate Sucree
Makes for a 8" and 6" round tart pan

125g Liv unsalted butter, softened
75g Caster sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 large Whole egg, lightly beaten
250g Plain flour
A pinch of fine salt

Method:
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl smooth and creamy, but not fluffy. Add the vanilla extract to the mixture.
  2. With the mixer on slow speed, gradually incorporate the beaten egg. Scrap down the sides.
  3. Sift the flour and salt together. With the mixer on its lowest speed, add the flour in 3 or 4 stages. As soon as the mixture comes together as a crumbly dough, stop the machine.
  4. Gather the dough together and turn on to a lightly floured surface, briefly knead it with your hands until smooth. Avoid over-working the pastry or it will become softened by the warmth of your hands.
  5. Wrap in a cling film. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins or over night before rolling out.
  6. Roll out the pate sucree thinly and use to line a 8" and 6" tart pans, with removable base.
  7. Line the pastry case with parchment paper and baking beans, then chill for 20mins.
  8. Bake the pastry case blind for 15mins at 190C, then remove from the oven and take out the parchment paper and baking beans. Set aside.
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Golden Apple Fillings
5 Granny Smith (green apples)
50g LIV unsalted butter
1 tsp Ground cinnamon, heaped
2 tsp Brown sugar
100g Golden jumbo raisins

Streusel Toppings
75g Plain flour
40g butter
20g Brown sugar
5 pieces Digestive biscuits, finely crushed

Method:
  1. Peel, quarter and core the apples, then cut into 1-2cm dice.
  2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan until sizzling  Toss in the app cubes and saute for about 5-7 mins until golden brown and slightly softened.
  3. Add the ground cinnamon and sugar, stirring occasionally until thickened. 
  4. Add the raisins in, stir and mix well. Set aside to cool.
  5. To make the streusel topping, sift the flour into a bowl. Add sugar to mix.
  6. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  7. Stir in the crushed biscuits.
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To assemble:
  1. Spoon in the apples mixture into the half baked pastry crust.
  2. Pinch the toppings evenly over the fruits in an even layer.
  3. Bake the tarts at 190C for 30mins until the topping is crisp and golden.
  4. Transfer the tin to a wire rack and leave to cool slightly.
  5. To unmould, press up the base of the tin and slide the streusel tart on a large serving plate.
  6. Serve warm, with creme chantilly.
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Chocolate & Coffee Layered Cake

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February is a month of birthdays in my family. As usual, my younger sister will make her request for cakes. She usually request for chocolate cupcakes with loads of swiss meringue buttercreams. This year, she requested for the Mocha Checkered Cake. However, instead of making it checkered, I layered it.

For the layering, I used Chocolate buttercream, whereas for the external frosting, I made Coffee buttercream by adding 1.5tsp instant coffee to 1 tsp hot water to swiss meringue buttercream. The cake was very well received. The coffee buttercream was very strong and fragrant. Everybody liked it, especially my sister who loves buttercream so much!
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Cake layers from base - coffee cake, chocolate buttercream, chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, coffee cake, chocolate buttercream, chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, coffee cake and finally coffee buttercream.

[Note: For coffee paste, I strongly recommend using Nescafe Classic Instant Coffee granules. The coffee taste is very strong in the cake layer and coffee buttercream. This instant coffee granules seems to be bake-able, to be able to produce good coffee taste and aroma.]

蛇年快乐

祝愿大家

新年快乐, 万事如意,

身体健康, 恭喜发财! 啊!

Chocolate & Orange Kue Lapis Legit

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When it comes to Chinese New Year, no matter how busy I am in baking my cookies, I will always allocate some time to bake Kek Lapis or Cake Lapis or Kue Lapis Legit. Having tried several flavours over the years, I decided to do a Chocolate & Orange Kue Lapis, a combination which I always like!

A recipe which I always fall back to is from Florence. In many kue lapis that I've ever attempted over the years, I modified from her recipe. I like her recipe very much because (1) it doesn't use an exorbitant amount of condensed milk and even I replaced it with whole milk and it worked fine, (2) the quantity of egg yolks and butter used is reasonably acceptable. These are in comparison with other recipes, though kue lapis cake uses a lot of butter and egg yolks in the first place! So here is my modified version.
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Recipe for Chocolate & Orange Kek Lapis Legit
Makes a 21cm x 21cm square cake pan. Filled to the brim.

Orange Layers
Ingredients:
250g Liv Unsalted butter, room temperature
50g Caster sugar

10 Egg yolks
60g Caster sugar
1 tbsp Grand Marnier (or any orange liquor of your choice)
2 tsp Orange extract
1 large orange zest
2 tbsp Whole milk

66g Cake flour (I used superfine flour)
1/4 tsp Baking powder

5 Egg whites
30g Caster sugar
1/2 tsp Cream of tartar

Method:
  1. Cream butter with sugar until creamy.
  2. Beat egg yolks with sugar till thick. Stir in orange zest, orange extract, liquor and milk.
  3. Sieve flour and baking powder into an empty bowl.
  4. Mix butter and egg yolk mixture well.
  5. Fold in flour mixture in two batches and mix well. (I used the beater to mix in the flour.)
  6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites till foamy. Add cream of tartar into the sugar and mix well. Gradually add in sugar and beat till stiff.
  7. Fold egg white into egg yolk mixture and mix well.
  8. Set aside.
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Chocolate Layers
Ingredients:
250g Liv Unsalted butter, room temperature
50g Caster sugar

10 Egg yolks
60g Caster sugar
1 tbsp Rum (or brandy)
2 tbsp Whole milk

40g Cake flour (I used superfine flour)
26g Cocoa powder (I used Belcolade)
1/4 tsp Baking powder

5 Egg whites
30g Caster sugar
1/2 tsp Cream of tartar

For method, follow Orange Layers #1-8 above.
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To bake:
  1. Using a laddle, scoop the orange layer evenly into the paper-lined and butter-greased cake pan.
  2. Turn the oven to bake function at 180C.
  3. Bake the first layer for 5mins. Switch to grill and continue to grill at 6mins.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and scoop the chocolate layer evenly onto the cake pan. Even it out.
  5. Grill this layer for 7 mins.
  6. Continue to alternate the layers and grill at 7mins.
  7. After 3/4 of the pan, reduce the grill timing to 6mins.
  8. After grilling the last layer, turn the temperature to 160C and bake the cake for 8-10mins to ensure it is thoroughly baked.
  9. Remove from the oven and let it to cool in a wire rack for 10mins. Then remove from cake pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
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Notes:
  • I realised that each layer was slightly too thick to cook through. That was why there was a transparent layer.
  • Possibility good to turn down the grill temperature to 160C, and grill up to 9 mins for each layer to let it cook through.
  • Alternatively, I will have to reduce the quantity in each layer to make it thinner and easier to grill.
  • Also, noticed the orange zest in the lighter layer.
Overall, the taste of this lapis legit cake was very good. The orange taste came through even though chocolate was more prominent. Orange taste was very subtle, but powerful! With the addition of the extra egg white, the cake was very soft. I like it very much.
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I'm submitting this to: 

Crispy Baked Cod Fish Knots

One of my (baking) colleague, SL, shared with me on baking the cod fish strips as snacks for Chinese New Year. She let me tried after she had done it and gave me some tips on how to. Initially, I didn't think of baking this, though it's fairly easy. I decided to give it a try after I bought the cod fish snacks. To my surprise, my children loved them! After I tried them again, I found it to be rather addictive!

The first batch I baked, half were too blackish as the heat was too high. I tried baking again and watched the oven heat closely, turning up and down the temperature accordingly. This time, it was evenly baked and it turned out nice! So here is how I made it.
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Recipe for Crispy Baked Cod Fish Knots
Makes a  small canister

Ingredients:

120g Cod Fish Strips

Method:


1. Tie the fish strips into a knot.

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2. Bake them at 150C for 9 mins, then turn up to 170 for 3 mins.
3. Let it cool thoroughly before storing them in air-tight container.
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I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover.
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