Tag Archives: Cake

White Chocolate Pistachio Mousse Cake w/ Pistachio Crunchy Insert-Bachour Inspired (Green)

25 May

Finally I have time to write in my blog again. As I am typing away I remember how at peace I am. The past few weeks have been quite busy and with work in full steam, well I got stressed out. A walk with a friend today solved the problem as it helped me unwind. There is nothing more peaceful than walking at the beach and around the neighbourhood on a warm spring day. Walking around beautiful surroundings definitely let me vent out and voice my frustrations allowing me to relax.

In the wake of the last few weeks, I also had a friends birthday to make a cake for. I wanted to surprise her thus made the cake extra special. In the last few months I went on a splurge buying baking books to try new recipes. Of them I bought Bachour’s recipe books. Apparently he is America’s 10 top pastry chefs and his works and recipes are to die for having mastered his art. As I was flipping through his recipe book, my eyes fell on GREEN. The reciped combined different elements of texture which was creamy and crunchy. Bonus it had my favorite ingredient pistachios. So off I went to make it and in the process challenged myself.

To make the cake, I first made a chiffon cake. I choose this cake as it is a favourite to my family.

Pistachio Crunchy Insert-I then made the crunchy insert. To do this, I toasted some sicilian pistachio and grounded into a fine powder. Next, the white chocolate was melted. Once the chocolate was melted, the ground pistachio, wafers, and chocolate were combined and mixed into a smooth paste like consistency. I then used a 6″inch ring and serran wrapped the edges and spooned the mixture into the cake ring to create a crunch disk.

Pistachio Cremeux-While the disk was setting, I then made the cremeux. To make the cremeux, the gelatin needed to be bloomed in cold water. I then boiled the cream and milk, added the bloomed gelatin and poured the liquid onto the white chocolate and pistachio paste and mixed until homogenous. Once the mixture had cooled, I spooned the cremeux into a silicone mold and froze the cremeux.

Pistachio White Chocolate Mousse-As with most mousses, gelatin needs to be bloomed. While the gelatin was blooming I boiled the milk and added the bloomed gelatin onto the chocolate and pistachio paste. As the mixture was cooling, cream was whipped until soft peaks. I then folded the whipped cream into the white chocolate/pistachio mixture.

Assembly-To assemble the cake, I placed the chiffon cake on the bottom and laddled the mousse onto the cake. Next I inserted the crunchy insert onto the mousse and laddled some more mousse. The cremeux came next and finally more mousse was laddled on top to finish the cake. When the cake setted, I made some white chocolate disks to surround the cake with, pipped whipped cream on top and decorated with strawberries.

Voila!!!

Pistachio Cremeux (Note these recipes make 3 6″ cakes)
12 g gelatin sheets
375 g cream
100 g milk full fat (I used 2%)
250 g white chocolate
200 g pistachio paste

Pistachio Crunchy Insert

150 g wafer crumbs
50 g toasted pistachio
200 g white chocolate
100 g unsalted butter (I did not add the butter)

Pistachio White Chocolate Mousse
26 g gelatin sheet
500 g full fat milk (I used 2%)
150 g pistachio paste
810 g white chocolate
750 g cream

Result: Fabulous. You got the creamy and nuttiness of the pistachio cremeux and mousse which is offset by the crunchy texture of the insert. This recipe is a keeper!!!!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

24 Apr

This is one of those posts that I don’t want to write anything ha ha ha. I am busy typing away and looking out at the sunset whilst contemplating a stroll outside. Keen on getting the last bit of sunshine, in an otherwise record warm week, I am just going to write the recipe. Yes I am lazy but I think I have earned it writing these few years.

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Ingredients:

180 g Butter
100 g Sugar
4 egg yolks
50 g sugar
4 egg whites
25 g corn starch
25 g custard powder
125 g Cake flour
3 g baking powder
2 g cinnamon
1 pinch lemon zest

Bon Appetit…..I am off for a stroll

Green Tea Azuki Cake

21 Apr

After a break, I am back baking. This time it is a Green Tea Azuki Cake. I had first tried it at Chicco, a Japanese bakery, on Robson St. I really liked the combination of red beans and green tea flavours together. Apparently there are other bakers that like the combination of the two flavours as well as I have found inspiration on the internet. Here is my version.

To make the cake, I used a chiffon cake. The key to making this cake and eliminating undissolved matcha powder was to make a paste first. This was accomplished by warming some milk, adding the matcha powder and whisking it until the powder dissolves. Once the milk mixture becomes green from the matcha and without flecks of matcha, add it to the cake mixture. The paste method will help in matcha maintain its green colour even during baking. Next I whip the egg whites and folded it into the cake batter and baked it at 350 for approx 20 minutes until done.

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To make the azuki filling, I bought some azuki paste and folded in some whipped cream. The mixture was then spread to the matcha layers. Assembly was simple, I had opted to do a simple whipped cream decoration.

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Ingredients

Swans Caking Flour
Berry Sugar
Matcha Powder
Eggs
Milk
Oil
Azuki Bean Paste

Enjoy!!!!

Christmas in Town- Delightful Tiramisu

7 Dec

Brrrrr….wow the temperature certainly has dipped over the past few days. Walking down the street in the evenings, you could see the frost start to form on the pavement. Glittering away in the respective street lights, they resemble thousands of little stars in the dark sky. One knows that winter is coming simply by observation. All around town one could see plumes of icy cold breathes, red noses, scarfs, gloves and shivering bodies walking briskly around the street. The city celebrated winter and coming Christmas with the Rogers Santa Claus Parade. A delightful and fun event for all, thousands of Vancouverites braved the cold weather by lining out on Georgia Street to see of Kris Kringle himself. The Art Gallery was the hub and kiddies and their respective parents, friends and families gathered to take photos.

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After a wonderful weekend event, I decided to warm up the house by doing some baking. Tiramisu was one of my favorite Italian desserts. I had an extra pound of coffee lying around and thus decided to make it. I recently received Louisa’s Bakery as a gift. The book was from a established Hong Kong Chef. Unlike most tiramisu which used uncooked egg yolks, her version of the classic Italian dessert comprised of an custard. Salmonella was not my friend and I absolutely do not want to be relieving myself of this ailment. Off I went to making it.

Nothing tastes better on a tiramisu than fresh lady fingers. The key to making lady fingers is to seperate the egg and sift the flour with the cornstarch.

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Keys to remember
-temperature to the sugar syrup is key 120C
-whip marscapone at room temperature and whip cream sepearately
-do not pour egg into hot sugar syrup as egg will cook

To make the marscapone filling, first soak the gelatin in cold water. Next measure the cheese, whip cream and set aside the marscapone at room temperature. To make the custard filling, separate the egg and set aside the egg whites for future use. Combine water, sugar and boil the mixture to 120C. Beat the egg yolks and slowing add in the hot sugar mixture. This will kill any bateria. Continue to mix until the mixture resembles a custard and add in the gelatin. Next whip the marscapone until pliable and fold in the whipped cream. Lastly fold in the egg mixture until fully incorporated.

Assembly: Arrange the lady fingers at the bottom and soak them with coffee syrup (water, coffee, sugar and kalua). Pipe or pour in the marscapone mixture and repeat. For a prettier effect, save some of the lady fingers and arrange them around the cake pan. Set in the fridge.

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Lady Finger Recipe
(Adapted from Lousia’s Bakery Book)

100 g egg yolk
50 g sugar
100 g soft flour (Cake and Pastry Flour)
20 g corn flour
150 egg white
75 caster sugar

I found this cake to be quite light and the custard method suited me better. For those who love cheesy mousse cakes with coffee the Tiramisu would be a definite hit.

Enjoy the Christmas Season!!!!

Chocolate Entremet

2 Sep

Fascinated by the scintillating and beautiful photos seen in books by Pierre Herme and Hidemi Sugino, I have always dreamt of making a entremet myself. Hesitation always played a part as it was very taxing and time consuming since there were various steps involved. Sure Herme made it sound easy; he’s practically the king of pastry after all. With a wave of his magical whisk, another masterpiece arises. Here you have little old me, wide eyed and twitchy nosed like a mouse peering at these photos. While the popular choice was to purchase an entremet at Thomas Haas, a wonderful chef with a flair for beautiful creations, the thought lingered on the back burner; I really wanted to try my hands at it. The opportunity arose when students had to prepare a cake for decoration as mentioned from the previous post.

I first made the milk chocolate mousse by creating a sabayon. Eggs and sugar were mixed on top of a double boiler till luke warm and then whipped to light and frothy. The gelatin was then placed in cold water while the chocolate was melted. With all these mixtures taking place, it was then time to whip up the cream. The mixtures were then assembled. Gelatin sets quickly so work quickly. Next came the white chocolate mousse. The method was just the same as the milk chocolate. When it came to assembling the cake, I poured the chocolate mousse and then the white chocolate mousse. The cake was placed in the fridge to cool. Making of the chocolate glaze came next. Milk and cream were first heated up and then poured onto the dark chocolate to make the ganache. The key to glazing the entremet was to let the glaze cool but still smooth enough to coat the cake. As a tip, one could use a ladle and pour the ganache onto the cake. Once one ladled the smooth ganache onto the cake, work fast as the glaze sets rapidly on the cool cake exterior.

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I had a large cake left too. Guess what that meant :). This time I caramelized some hazelnuts to make pralined hazelnuts. Macarons were then added to create a border.

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Chocolate Glaze

200 ml Cream Whipping
60 ml Milk
110 g Sugar (I used approx. 50 g)
300 g Dark Chocolate
110 g Glucose Sugar ( I used honey)
110 g Butter

Khatsahlano and Summer Baking: Mango Cake

14 Jul

Vancouver has been in the sun’s favour all week and I as usual have been taking advantage of the weather. Yesterday, I went to Khatsilano. It was a popular street festival with live music, art and food. Every year, crowds accumulated on 4th Ave and enjoyed a stroll up and down the street listening to music and appreciating art. There was something for everyone. For the younger crowd, the kiddies enjoyed the hockey game hosted by RBC and sung Karoke. For the adults, well, they really enjoyed their time as there were food vendors and the local restaurant went beyond by building a temporary stand with tables so they could enjoy their experience.

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It was a very good event as you could see from the crowds and now back to my baking for the summer months.

I have been thinking of making another cake again. Nothing reflects the summer like the tropical fruits and the sweet aromas they present, especially the mangoes. For my family, the ATAULFO mangoes were a favorite. Ranging from yellow to a light orange colour, when ripe the flesh was sweet, aromatic, juicy and soft. Unlike the other varieties, the ataulfo mango had the least fiber, which to me was a plus. No one liked picking at their mouths with toothpicks while trying get tiny strands of fibre out right?

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I started out making the chiffon cake and baked it on a jelly roll pan. Once the cake was done, I prepared the filling by whipping up some cream. Next, the mangoes were peeled and sliced and on the cake. I then toasted some coconut flakes and decorated the sides of the cake. The finishing touch was adding on some freeze dried strawberries and pistachios for colour. The cake was a light, refeshing and moist cake. One of my favourite cakes. Enjoy!!!

White Chocolate Green Tea and Jasmin Delice

27 Feb

I have been wanting to do a cake again and since I got today off, I wasted no time in making a cake.  I have made this cake before previously and had decided to make it again since I had alot of matcha in storage.  I decided to make Claire Clarks Green Tea and Jasmine Delice cake.  Unlike previous times which I stacked fruit on top of the finished cake, this time I opted to go the simpler route and the ending to me was more hmmmm…well you be the judge, it’s personal preference.

The original cake had three components, but I opted to change it a bit and instead of a pistachio sponge cake, I chose to make a chiffon cake instead.  Besides that, I stuck to the Jasmine Tea and Green Tea Mousses.

I first made the Jasmine Tea Mousse.  As the first step, I soaked the gelatin in cold water to soften it up and steeped the jasmin leaves.  To me this will prevent lumps in the gelatin.  Of note, prior to adding the gelatin to the white chocolate, make sure the white chocolate was warm still and the gelatin was warm or the result would be a lump of gooey mess.  Chocolate was not cheap-grrrrrr…..While the chocolate was melting, I whipped up some cream.  Once the chocolate has melted, the gelatin and steeped tea was added.  Caution, as mentioned before, all ingredients need to be warm or the gelatin will set fast.   I then folded the whipped cream into the chocolate/tea/gelatin mixture.  In terms green tea mousse, I made a paste with the water and green tea first and then added it to the melted white chocolate.  Emphasis again was placed on, I soaking the gelatin.  All the components were then added together and folded in the whipped cream.

As for decoration, I added some strawberries and blueberries and added a dusting to ground pistachio and freeze dried strawberries for colour.The ended result was a creamy light cake complimented with the taste of matcha and jasmine.  It would be an ideal cake for tea and matcha lovers.

Jasmin Tea Mousse (I opted for 1/2 recipe which was sufficient)

3 tablesp. water

2 tbsp. jasmin tea

300 ml double cream

2 gelatine leaves

150 g white chocolate

2 tbsp. liquid glucose

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3 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. green tea

300 ml cream

150 g. white chocolate

2 tbsp. liquid glucose

You could use any kind of cake, but I would suggest either a pistachio cake or chiffon cake.  It will work wonders as you would taste the mousses.

Roasted Chestnut Cake

25 Nov

Chestnut was and still is one of my favorite treats. Honestly, I really don’t know why. I really like the subtle sweet nutty taste to it. I have been trying to perfect this cake or experimenting with different textures.  I decided to make it as chestnut was in season.  I purposely left the cake all white and piped out the decoration with whipped cream as I wanted to make the candied chestnuts stand out more.  I first baked the chiffon cake on a roll pan that way it easier to bake because of surface area.  I then cut out the layers of the cake using an 8 inch cake ring.  Next I prepared the chestnut filling by roasting the chestnuts.  A combination of Italian and Korean chestnuts were used for texture.  The Italian chestnut was more fragrant and powdery in texture while the Korean chestnut possessed a sweeter and sugary taste.  They complimented each other perfectly.  Once the chestnuts were roasted, I proceeded to ground the chestnuts to make the paste.  Cream, brandy and sweetened chestnut paste were added to the freshly ground chestnuts to add flavour and texture.  When the paste was smooth, I used a star tip to pipe out the filling and assembled the layers of the cake.

For decoration, I used an idea I saw from a Japanese pastry magazine that was translated into Chinese.  With a Gateau St. Honore tip, I piped out the petals or fan like design.  To add colour to the white cream, freeze dried strawberries were grounded and then sifted onto the white cream to create a red and white contrast to the cake.  Deciding on a clean refined look on bottom of the cake, I choose to use Callebaut pearls and lined the cake.  The fun part was actually the sugar work.  I had taken a course in sugar once at Debrulle now Arts Institute to make curls thus added a couple of them.

Next came the glazing of chestnuts in sugar.  As a word of caution, sugar is very hot once you melt it to the hard crack stage as it hits 200F and above so be careful as anyone could potentially get burned.  I speak from experience.  Once the sugar was heated to the appropriated temperature, I dipped the chestnuts into them and allowed the sugar to drip off them.  Eventually, you would get a crystallized stem of sugar coming from the chestnut.  It was quite appealing to see as it added a 3D dimension to the cake.  I allowed the sugar to set and then placed the sugar curls and glazed chestnuts onto the cake and finished.  Note:  You don’t need to use different varieties of chestnuts but it does add texture to the filling.  Furthermore, roasting the chestnuts is optional, one could blanche the chestnuts to remove the skin and cook them but the flavour would be different; however, it was your preference.

 

 

Cream and Cakes Galore

3 Aug

This is an interesting week as it had both my birthday and ice cream making course right next to each other.  Imagine how tired I was.  I also have gatherings this weekend :).

This year unlike most years, my family decided to have it as low key as possible so we just went out for a nice cozy chinese dinner.  Big surprise here.  As for my cake I decided to do a strawberry chiffon cake.  So delicious and smooth; the local strawberries nicely compliments the lightness and sweetness of the cake.  I first enjoyed this cake at a little Japanese dessert cafe, Cafe Chicco, on Robson St.  For those who also enjoy Japanese desserts here is their website, http://www.chiccocafe.com.

Japanese desserts unlike their American counterpart is less dense, less cavity inducing sweetness and less arterial clogging in terms of fat.  It is much more lighter in consistency and still flavourful, somewhat like Asian desserts.  The only difference is that Japanese desserts, in my opinion,  is that they are influenced by french baking most noticeably in the entremets and mousse cakes.

I liked the cake enough that I decided to research cake recipes, especially Japanese and Asian, to develop my own chiffon cake.  Well, to say the least, I finally succeeded but I think mine is way better as I have better control over the quality of ingredients I use to make the cake.  The results are superb. 

Keys to a good chiffon cake or sponge cake:

  • temperature-have eggs and egg whites at room temp before making cake
  • use cake flour-it creates lighter texture as all purpose or bread flour has too much gluten
  • don’t over beat egg whites-if you over beat them there is no turning back, it becomes watery
  • when folding egg whites and batter together don’t over mix.

In terms of baking I choose to use a sheet pan and baked the chiffon cake like a jelly roll format.   I find it helps the cake bake and raise evenly.  In addition, because of a larger surface area, less time is required to bake in comparison to a cake ring.  I am not saying cake rings are bad, don’t get me wrong, but I found sometimes the results are inconsistent.  I would get a lighter half and then a denser half at the bottom.   Once the cake had cooled, I used the 8 inch cake ring and cut out the layers and assemble like any other cakes.  Cake layer first, then added cream and sliced strawberries and the placed on the second cake layer and repeat again until the cake is assembled.  To ensure that the whipped cream stayed firm, I placed the cream the fridge so that it doesn’t become runny.

As a finishing touch, I decorated the cake with local strawberries and whipped cream.  I then piped scallop border decoration to refine the look of the cake and finished of the decoration with toasted almonds on the side of the cake.  Voila here is the finished product.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

As mentioned before, I attended a ice cream making session today at the Pastry Training Centre.  I have always wanted to make ice cream and learn the techniques of it.  As a bonus not only were we making ice cream, we were assembly the ice creams into ice cream bombs and cakes.

During the class, the instructor emphasized on the importance of a good sugar to fat ratio.  He also stressed the importance of each main ingredient and effects of these ingredients on  the finished product such as sugar, cream, liquid and liquor.

Sugar and liquor lowers the freezing point of the ice cream hence the finished product will be softer.  An ice cream high in liquid on the other hand, will result in ice crystals forming in the finished product ending in a harder and grainier finish.

Keys to making Ice Cream

  • make sure to keep sugar and liquid balance in ratio
  • in custard base ice creams-bring the custard to no more than 82 degrees-if it goes higher than 82 the eggs will scramble and you get a grainy finished product
  • let the ice cream mixture rest over night in a fridge prior to placing in the ice cream machine-this will allow the mixture to mature and result in a richer and smoother finish
  • don’t combine milk with citric juices such as lemon-milk will curdle

Here is a recipe I found on the internet on making Rich Vanilla Ice Cream from David Lebovitz.

1 cup milk

150g sugar

2 cups whipping cream

pinch of salt

1 vanilla bean, split

6 large egg yolks

3/4 tsp vanilla extract (i replaced with vanilla bean)

directions :

1. warm the milk, 1 cup cream, sugar & salt in a medium saucepan.

2. scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. cover, remove from heat and let it steep at room temp. for 30 mins.

3. pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a strainer on top. in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

4. stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping the bottom as you stir, until mixture thickens and coat the back of a spoon.

5. pour custard thru’ the strainer into the cream. put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the extract (or bean paste) and stir until cool over an ice bath.

6. chill the mixture thoroughly then churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions then freeze until firm. alternatively, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can place the mixture in a shallow metal tray and freeze, whisking every couple of hours until frozen and creamy.
Enjoy your ice cream making adventures!!!

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