... tackling one recipe at a time

Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

English Breakfast Milk Tea and Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Macarons

It had been three months since I baked my last batch of macarons. I was afraid that I lost the knack of making macarons with the cute little feet. "What if I can't do it anymore? What if my macarons turn out flat and cracked?" I overcame my fears and decided to bake a batch last weekend. To be on the safe side, I chose a flavor that I'd tried before: dark chocolate earl grey. I carefully folded the egg white into the almond flour mixture, making sure I didn't overmix them. Then, I meticulously piped the rounds and waited patiently until they formed a skin. Fhewww... so far so good.. Now, it was time to bake them. I said my prayer, put a pan into the preheated oven, and set the timer to 15 minutes. Ughhh, 15 minutes of complete agony.

Kriiiiiiinnggggg.... Time's up! I slowly opened the oven door and........ perfect macaron feet!!!!! Yeayyy!!! What a relief.. I was confident and overly excited, so I made another batch. This time, English breakfast milk tea :) They turned out perfect too :D I was ecstatic! I started making the ganache filling for the two flavors and yuummmm, were they good.. I love the English breakfast milk tea flavor, it was a tad bit sweet for my taste because I used white chocolate, but it was delicious and fragrant regardless. The dark chocolate earl grey was great too but I was not too excited about it because I'd made it. Anyhow, pictures are below as usual :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anniversary & Birthday: Pirouline Cake

It's my 4-year anniversary with my boyfriend tomorrow. When he was still here, I used to bake a cake for us every year. This year I'm not baking anything special since he's not here to celebrate our anniversary with me :( It's kind of sad, but thank God for Skype so I can still see him ^^

This morning, my friend suddenly texted me and requested a cake for our friend's birthday tomorrow. Well, I don't get to bake a cake for my anniversary, at least I can bake a pretty cake for someone's birthday. I can't make mousse cake because it takes too much time and eating it off a piece of paper towel (which is what we usually serve the cake on during birthday gatherings) is troublesome. Hence, I go with a simple chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting instead. Everyone likes chocolate and cream cheese, right? The cake part is easy, but what about decoration? It's for a guy's 20th birthday, so I can't put girly stuffs on the cake. Oh I know.. Pirouline cookies! I just make a fence-like structure around the cake with pirouline and decorate the top with pieces of chocolate and fruits.. Easy, sophisticated, and pretty :D
Looks good, no? Personally, I like it a lot :p I think it's one of the best cakes I've ever decorated. I don't care about the taste anymore, if it looks good I'm satisfied :D Oh well, here I am tooting my own horn, lol. Anw, I hope the birthday boy will enjoy this cake as much as I do looking at it.

And to my boyfriend who is thousands of miles away, it would say "Happy Anniversary" on the cake if only you were here -______-"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another Summer Flavor: Peach Jasmine Tea

When it's really really hot outside and sweats are dripping down my forehead, the first thing I think of to quench my thirst is a jug full of iced peach tea. It's light, not too sweet, and wonderfully refreshing. Well, today was the day when I was in desperate need of my icy cold peach tea fix. The sun was shining so brightly and it was blistering hot outside. Just when I started boiling some water to steep my tea bags in, I got a wonderful idea. "What if I make a cake with the flavor of my favorite summer drink?" I started looking for recipes and drawing an image of the cake. Finally, I got it. Layers of white cake, peach mousse, jasmine tea peach gelee, and jasmine tea mousse. That's easy enough. After I went to the grocery store to buy a few missing ingredients, I began constructing my layered mousse cake. Making the individual components were the most complicated steps since I didn't have exact recipes for each component. Plus, my nose was a little bit stuffy so I couldn't really taste or smell the mousse and gelee. Oh well, I figured the cake would at least look good :D

Just as I suspected, the flavor of each component was not strong enough. Also, the cake was rather bland and not sweet at all. Ughhh, I hate stuffy nose -____-" I need to make this cake again when my nose is working normally. I have to increase the sugar and steep the tea bags longer to extract more jasmine flavor. If I were to present this to Food Network's Chopped judges, they would say "The idea was great, but the execution was not on point." :D Nvm, there's always next time ^^

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back @ Chambana: Easy Green Tea Cupcakes

Finally, I'm back in Chambana. My apartment is a mess. My room is dusty. Gosh, I don't want to unpack or clean! Okay Lilia, suck it up, roll up your sleeves, and start cleaning! Seriously, this is like working out.

So, after hours of throwing out stuffs, scrubbing, wiping, piling up boxes, and stuffing everything in my limited cabinets or on top of the kitchen counter, my apartment is halfway clean. Alright, that's it for now, I can't do this anymore. I have to do something relaxing.. Bake :D Some of you may think I'm crazy, baking in a cluttered kitchen with limited space after a whole day of cleaning? Yes, that sounds very good to me :)

I don't want to bake something very complicated though and I have to use the truckload of cake mixes I got from work, but with a twist as usual. Let's see what my roommate says. "Green tea", she suggests. That sounds like a great idea. Alrighty, green tea cupcake it is!

Easy Green Tea Cupcake
Yield: 20 cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
2 Tbsp green tea powder (or less if you want a milder flavor)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup water

1. Preheat oven at 350 F and line your cupcake pan.
2. Mix yellow cake mix and green tea powder together to make the dry mix. Set the mix aside.
3. Beat butter until fluffy on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, and beat until well blended.
4. Add the dry mix alternately with the water. Start with dry and end with dry.
5. Scoop the batter into your lined cupcake pan and bake for 20 minutes or until done.
6. Take the cupcakes out of the pan and let cool.

That's it for the cupcake. Easy right? The cake is light, fluffy, and green-tea-y, just the way I like it. Now, it's time to add another layer of flavor to the cake. Hmm, what do I have in my fridge and pantry? Ooohhh, azuki bean paste.. How about azuki bean cream filling and green tea-azuki bean cream frosting? Perfect!

Azuki Bean Cream Filling

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
8 oz mascarpone cheese
2 Tbsp sweet azuki bean paste
2 Tbsp heavy cream

1. Beat butter and mascarpone together until light and fluffy.
2. Add the azuki bean paste and heavy cream. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy.
3. Reserve half for the frosting and pipe the rest inside each cupcake.

Green Tea-Azuki Bean Frosting

1. Mix the reserved azuki bean cream with 1 Tbsp green tea powder.
2. Pipe mounts of the cream onto each cupcake.

Fhewww, done! The frosting is a little bit broken, but I was too tired to fix it. Well, it still tastes good regardless. When you bite into it, you taste the layers of the creamy frosting and filling, the soft moist cake, yuuuummmm! Anw, here are the pictures of the cupcakes. Pardon me for the not-so-good quality, I couldn't wait to eat the cupcakes so I just randomly snapped a few pictures of them :D

Monday, August 9, 2010

Last Week in Minneapolis

Seriously, time goes by so fast. I can't believe this is my last week working for General Mills in Minneapolis. Time to pack, say goodbye, and move on. Again. I'm kind of happy and sad at the same time. Happy that I'm done with my project and I think I did quite well. Sad that I probably will never meet a lot of the people I know from this internship ever again, and that I have to go back to my research at school that I haven't even glanced at for 3 months -____-"

So, tomorrow is my final presentation at work. I'm kind of nervous, but not really. At this point, I just want to get it done, but there is one thing that makes me excited about my presentation and the thing is I get to bake something cute for tomorrow :D Most of the interns who have presented served some kind of food during their presentation, so I figured I would do that too. Let's see, cupcakes are definitely on the top of my list because people will not need utensils or plates to eat them. Gotta make them interesting though and I'm tired of the manufactured store-bought flavors of the boxed mixes. I have to modify the mix somehow.. Hmm.. Ding ding ding ding!! Coconut cupcakes! I have some white cake mixes that I can use for the cupcake base, so I just need to buy a few extra ingredients from Cubs. Yayyyy :D

Here goes the recipe for my easy version of Coconut Cupcakes:

Ingredient (make ~18 regular cupcakes):
1 box white cake mix
1 cup coconut milk
3 eggs
2 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven at 350F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. Beat eggs at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
3. Add coconut extract, vanilla extract, and coconut milk. Mix well.
4. Add the cake mix and shredded coconut, mix just until incorporated.
5. Scoop the batter into the cupcake pan about 2/3 full.
6. Bake the cupcakes for 22 minutes or until it's done.

Coconut Frosting

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut milk

1. Beat marshmallow creme and butter together until light and fluffy.
2. Add powdered sugar, extracts, and coconut milk.
3. Beat until all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature before frosting.

*Decorate frosted cupcakes with toasted shredded coconut.

Yummm, the cupcake is moist and coconuty. The frosting is smooth, sweet, creamy, and melts in your mouth. Ugh, I have to stop eating otherwise I can only serve napkins and water at my presentation tomorrow. Anw, pictures are below as usual :D