Sunday, 30 October 2011

Mouahaha!!

I don't really like Halloween... Especially the dressing up part. Call me boring but I will only dress up when someone makes me (and then I'm not happy about it.) 

But I guess I must write something to acknowledge the season so here we go.

















This week I made a buttery vanilla cake which takes merely 10 minutes to whip up and is extremely easy to make. Anyone can make it! I'm not exactly sure where the recipe came from. 

Lazy Daisy Cake:

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp cream
1/2 cup of either shredded coconut or any coarsely chopped nut.

Beat the eggs and vanilla until frothy and light (About 30 seconds)
Gradually add the granulated sugar and mix
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
Then add the dry ingredients to the egg and sugar mixture.
In the microwave, heat the milk and 1 tbsp of butter. (Now you must be fast) Add that to the egg mixture and poor it in an 8" pan. You must do this step quickly because the warm milk will react with the baking powder and we want it to start baking as quickly as possible.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350°F

Meanwhile... 
In a small saucepan, heat 3 tbsp of butter, brown sugar, cream and the 1/2 cup of coconut (or nuts)
Heat until everything melts (Takes only a couple of minutes)

When the cake is done, pull it our of the oven and pour melted butter + sugar mixture on the top of the cake.
Broil the cake and keep a very close eye on it because it will burn easily. Broil until the top becomes a nice golden brown (Takes seconds)

And this is what you get! It looks really simple and not that delicious looking but I assure you its really good and buttery. It's my favorite cake to eat when I'm in a hurry and I just want some sweetness.


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BOO!!



_H_A_P_P_Y_
_H_A_L_L_O_W_E_E_N_

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A Break from these Carbs (Part 1)


Photo taken by Alex E


I couldn't fall asleep tonight so I started going through my computer just looking at old files and junk. Then I stumbled upon my essays from previous years at school (When I still had to take English class) This is just a little something I found and I thought it would be nice to share. It's a poem that I had to write for College a couple of years ago.It is about my life and what makes up who I am... In a nutshell.


I am.


I am from stained glass,
From Austen and the great classics
I am from the boarded up attic over my bedroom
(Dark , mysterious it evokes shivers)
I am from the cherry blossoms,
The lush spruce
Whose beautiful smell fills the whole house
At Christmas time.
I am from snow forts and dog-lovers,
From Pasquale and Elder and Liang.
I am from daydreamers and mountain climbers.
From come inside and spit that out.
I am from lonely elementary days at school in ethics
Always the only student in that class
I'm from Wuxi and unknowns,
Barbequed steak and steaming Earl Grey
From the honey bee who killed my great uncle,
The stolen wooden bear,
And the fire that destroyed my home.
I am from hidden treasures buried in the backyard
Waiting to be discovered.
On my bookshelf are framed pictures
Precious moments never to be forgotten.
In my messy closet hides a scrapbook
Holding memories of cherished days
With people never to be seen again in this lifetime
Only faces on a page are left of them.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Chocolate Galore!!

My roommate just discovered that we have a free preview of the Food Network. Now whenever the tv is on, it's turned to the Food Channel. Today we watched a show called From Spain with Love: Episode Crazy Chocolate!! And my god was it crazy! Melted chocolate, gold chocolate, every-kind-you-can-think-of chocolate.

The most impressive pieces of chocolate were works of art. They had all kinds of sculptures big and small. Just look at these chocolate pieces.

More pictures here


 . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . . o . . .  


 And of course that inspired me to write a piece about my own chocolate cakes!




Three tier semisweet chocolate cake 
with 
Vanilla cream filling 
and 
Milk chocolate ganache top

Or a very large Jos Louis


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The recipe for this cake is from the same magazine that the cookies from the previous post were from. It isn't the  most perfect shaped cake but it still tastes wonderful. 
It took me about 8 hours to make because there were so many steps that had to be chilled.
Picture of completed cake below

Ingredients:

Cake
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped


  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Cream filling

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 18 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped


  • Additional powdered sugar


Preparation:

For cake:

Preheat oven to 325°F. 
Butter three 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. 
Place chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth.
Whisk all purpose flour and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in large bowl to blend (mixture will be crumbly). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in warm melted chocolate. Mix in dry ingredients in 2 additions alternately with buttermilk in 1 addition. Divide batter among prepared pans.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; peel off parchment. Cool cakes completely. 

For cream filling:

Place 2 tablespoons cold water in small bowl. Sprinkle unflavored gelatin over; let stand 10 minutes to soften.
Bring 1/2 cup cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. Add hot cream mixture to softened gelatin; stir until dissolved. Place in refrigerator just until cold, whisking frequently, about 5 minutes.
Place remaining 1 cup chilled cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until peaks form. Add gelatin mixture and beat until peaks form.
Place 1 cake on 8-inch cardboard round or tart pan bottom. Spread half of filling over. Top with second cake. Spread remaining filling over. Top with third cake. Chill on cardboard round 3 hours.

For ganache:

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool.
Place cake on rack set in large rimmed baking sheet. Spread half of ganache over top and sides of cake. Chill cake 1 hour. Rewarm remaining ganache in small saucepan over low heat just until lukewarm, whisking often. Pour ganache over cold cake, spreading as needed to cover top and sides. Chill until ganache is set, about 1 hour. 

 . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . .  . . . o . . .  . . . o . . .  



Here's what the inside of the cake looks like...





Sunday, 16 October 2011

A little sweetness to cheer us up.

It's cold and dark out so early now. You feel like a mole trapped inside with only the dark night surrounding you. (Well, I do)
Not a cheerful thought...


So here are some delights to make us forget about the long winter to come.


(I haven't actually baked anything this week since it's midterm time but here is a desert that I've made in the past with a very good friend of mine.)


Apricot bow ties

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I made these with my friend when she came out to visit me in the country. They are really easy to make. We cheated by using apricot jam bought from the store but it tasted just as good as homemade jam. The recipe was from a Fine Cooking Magazine. It was a special edition all about cookies. Yum!

Ingredients:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened 
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted; more for rolling 
3/4 cup apricot preserves
One large egg, beaten
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting 

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and the butter until light and fluffy.
On a low speed, gradually mix in flour until a smooth dough forms.
On a lightly floured surface, kneed the dough into a ball and divide the ball in 3 equal pieces.
Wrap each piece in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. 
Preheat oven too 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove one piece of dough from the fridge and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Then cut about 2-inch squares (Works better with a pizza cutter)
Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of apricot jam/preserve in the center of the square. Fold one corner into the center, dab with the beaten egg, and then bring the opposite corner into the center and pinch firmly together to seal the corners.
Repeat with the remaining dough...

Bake until golden and puffy. It will take about 10-12 minutes.

Let the cookies cool and then sprinkle with confectionners' sugar.

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This cream cheese dough can also be used for another kind of cookie. 

This one...

Cardamom Palmiers
You only need some sugar and spice.