Wednesday, January 28, 2009

happy chinese new year!!

happy chinese new year!!

happy year of the ox!


yaa..yy ... yay.... pfftt! it's hard to blog happily when you're body is aching and wanting to sleep. ugh... the cold bug has finally caught me!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

the perfect sponge cake

i've found it!!

really? so soon?


.. no.. not really. it's close though ^_^.

this is only the second recipe that i tested. genoise classique from Rose Levy's Cake Bible. i used this recipe before for my brother's wedding cake. for some reason, i had forgotten it until recently. this recipe uses beurre noisette (brown butter), which gives it an extremely wonderful fragrant.

i can't explain to you what the fragrant is like... mm... i just LOVE beurre noisette... mm.....

anyway... the method & the ratio of this recipe is pretty much the same with the previous one. no leavening agent. just eggs, sugar, flour and butter. it's amazing how much volume two eggs can produced.

the result was pretty good. i was being careful with my folding, making sure all the flour was incorporated. but i still think the cake was a tad grainy. i really, really, must work on my folding skill.

i looked into my fridge and found some whipped cream & strawberries from the previous cake i made.... soo voila! strawberry shortcake!

it is so good... i like this one better than when i used chiffon cake. dangerously light and yummy... ^_^

the next thing i'm going to do is to test this recipe in a larger batch. need to work on my folding skill while i'm at it. doing all these testing and baking for fun made me realize my two biggest weaknesses: folding and piping....  

i still have lots to learn about! ^_^

Monday, January 12, 2009

looking for the perfect cakes

a perfect cake for me is 50% taste and 50% appearance. if it looks gorgeous, but tastes like cardboard then it's a disappointment. the same goes the other way around. if it tastes delicious, but looks like crap... then it's simply not appetizing.

whenever i make a cake, i always look for feedback in both areas. i can tell what people think about the look of my cakes from the oohs and aahs when they first see the cake. silence does not mean golden in this case...^_^ i can also tell what people think about the cake from the amount of leftover in their plates. i often walk around the room just to see if people actually eat all their share or left some in their plates. i know a cake is good if people ask for second... hehehe

then i also realize that people have different taste. some like their cakes light and refreshing, some like it rich and sweet. that's why some people love sprinkles cupcakes and others prefer satura cakes....

i am now in a search for the perfect cakes. i need cakes that are not only tasty, but also durable enough for decoration and tiered construction. i'm planning to dedicate the next few weeks (or months, depending on my schedule) for recipe testing ^__^.

last saturday was hubby's mom's birthday. so i took the opportunity to try out a sponge cake recipe. most of the time, i use chiffon cake for my sponge cake. it's easy to make, tastes great, and very durable. however, some times i find it a tad too dry. sure i soak it with syrup, but chiffon just doesn't absorb syrup all that well...

soo... the first cake i tested was a genoise... standard recipe with a 2:1:1 ratio of eggs, sugar, and flour by weight, done in the warm method. the result was o-kay. it's light, soft, and airy. the only problem i have with it is that it's a little bit grainy. i think it's because i was rushing when i folded in the flour and butter... it soaks the syrup really well, but even though it's moist to the touch, the mouthfeel is just not perfect.

the adornments i used for this was lemon cream with fresh fruits. the lemon was a bit too strong in my opinion. i must have added too much lemon curd... oops! hehehehe

so, next week plan is to make more sponge cakes.... i have several recipes already in line waiting to be tested... yippie!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

baking with company

i had great company in my kitchen this past weekend ^_^ .... it's my little brother!

he's been craving for some delicacies that were frequently made by our mom. since he's also still in his winter vacation *envy*, he has some time to spare in my kitchen!

he wanted to learn to make a couple of things: nastar (pineapple tartlets) and onde-onde (glutenous rice balls with peanut filling).

we made the pineapple tartlets once during the holiday. but we did not make enough, and they all disappeared within minutes after we took them out of the oven. almost all of us ended up with sore throat cuz the cookies were still piping hot when we ate them.

we decided to make more this time. he even took the time to make the jam! ^__^

and we got plenty of tartlets this time. yum!

then on sunday, we made the onde-onde. it's kinda like mochi balls, but it's filled with peanut and we ate it with hot ginger tea syrup. it was interesting making this since i haven't made it for years, and it doesn't help that my instruction only shows a list of ingredients without measurements ^__^. it was fun!

i still need to figure out the proper ratio between the glutenous rice flour and the cornstarch. my brother said it tasted delicious, but i personally think it's too chewy...

on another note, what do you think about my pictures? google has finally released picasa for mac, and i am SOOO happy!! i used to use picasa when i was using windows (the dark side). but then i switched to mac and i had to hunt for other photo processing tool. i found picnik, and it works fine except that it doesn't do collages for free :-(. now that picasa is available for mac, i can make collages to all my heart desires! i love it.