Happy New Year!

I’d like to begin by wishing you all a very happy, prosperous and safe new year! Hope everyone had a great time over the holidays. 😀

2014 was a special year for me. I started to blog and met some amazing people along the way! The journey at school has been challenging and inspiring for me nonetheless. It would have been difficult without your encouragement to say the least!

I’ve made some things I would not have dared to try otherwise. I made the traditional French wedding cake, “The Croquembouche”. Apparently the name means, crunch in mouth. That’s it!
The first step in making the croquembouche is to make the chouquettes, the petit choux.
Next, making the nougatine shapes, to hold the choux tower. Working with nougatine can be quite tricky and one must be careful so as to not burn one’s fingers!

Shaping the nougatine :

New folder10

Building the tower without a cone:
New folder10

Ta Da…..

IMG_8868

The Christmas special buche:

Buche Coffee: Sponge with coffee butter cream

The traditional Xmas Buche

The traditional Xmas Buche

Buche Maracaibo :
Chocolate sponge with a vanilla cream, chocolate parfait and salted shorbread covered with a chocolate glaze!
IMG_9915

Buche Alaska:
Dacquois biscuit, with praline, lemon curd, red fruit jelly covered in milk chocolate mousse and glazed with white chocolate!

IMG_9928

Taking these over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday!
Bon Apetit!

Advertisements

Ice Cream Cake

While I was working in Singapore I would often pass by an Ice cream shop selling ice cream cakes. I always thought it was weird and never gave it a try. I now know what I have missed! Ice cream cakes are perfect for summer, especially after a good feast it will go down really well.

I made this cake for my friend’s actual birthday and everyone absolutely loved it including myself. I sneaked in a piece for myself to enjoy the next day. What can I say, pure Evil! 😉

It is super easy making it the perfect summer dessert. I have used vanilla and mango flavors as no other fruit sings the songs of summer to me than mango! Vanilla ice cream and Mango sorbet with some chocolate chips will transform you in a heavenly place altogether. Sigh!

LESSON LEARNT : Sometimes, rather unfortunately I can have a closed mind. Open up!

Meringue Ice Cream Cake

Meringue Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients :

Meringue:
100 g egg whites (2.5-3 eggs)
200 g icing sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

Chantilly Cream:
250 ml heavy cream, chilled
50 g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Ice Cream
Mango Sorbet
Sprinkles (optional)
Chocolate Chips (optional)

Instructions :

Meringue:
Preheat the oven at 150°C.Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Use a piping bag fitted with a plain round nozzle.

Put the egg whites and 30g of icing sugar in a large, clean, grease free bowl and using a hand mixer, beat the egg white at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 70g of icing sugar , a couple of tablespoons at a time, and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Gently, fold in the remaining 100g of icing sugar.

Pipe two 7-inch(18cm) discs in a spiral shape, center out on the baking sheet. You could also use a spatula.
Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 90 C and bake for another 2 hours.

Turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside the oven to cool completely. This can take about an hour or more.

Chantilly Cream:
Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Chill until ready to use.

Assembling the Cake:
Place a cake ring on one meringue, remove the excess. Repeat with the second meringue.
Place a meringue disc on the cake board. Place the cake ring over it. Cover the meringue with Vanilla ice cream.
IMG_6205
Dust with some sprinkles for a fun look.
IMG_6206
Freeze for 30 minutes.
Spread a layer of mango sorbet on top. Sprinkle over some chocolate chips.
IMG_6207
Place the second meringue disc on the sorbet and press it down gently. Freeze for 30 minutes.
IMG_6208
Cover the cake with chantilly cream and smooth with the help of a spatula. Freeze for 2 hours. Decorate as you please.
Freeze again until 30 minutes before serving.

Bon Apetit

Bon Apetit

Note : You can crush up some oreos, cookies or chocolate wafers instead of using meringue for a no bake, fuss free ice cream cake.

Chocolate Framboise (Raspberry) Cake

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to challenge myself. Learning for me is a continuous process and something I look forward to all the time. To start a blog seemed to be the right platform to add different skills and techniques in my repertoire. Little did I know I would also have the opportunity to meet fabulous people online.

This post is more of a thank you post. An acknowledgment for reigniting in me a feeling lost somewhere. Cake decorating is something I truly find challenging and it may not even be my style. I just like to explore! I made my first theme cake few months ago for my hubby’s birthday. I wanted to make a cricket themed cake as he is utterly passionate about it. It turned out to be a complete mess, disaster to say the least.

cr

I gave up the thought of trying to create something like this again! However, over the last few days, I came across two very beautiful posts. One from Bonnie and the other from Violets & Vanilla. I was mesmerized to say the least. These girls have talent and are extremely creative and versatile. So when we decided to throw a surprise pre-birthday drinks for one of our friends i jumped in to try my luck. This time I decided to take baby steps. To bite as much as I could chew and I kept it simple. Voila! I was happy with the end result. Simple and chic!

Thank you so much girls!

DSC_0905

It’s nothing elaborate and like I said important baby steps. 🙂

Ingredients :

Chocolate-Framboise

Raspberry Syrup :

100 g raspberries, pureed
50 ml water
1 tbsp lemon juice
50 g sugar

Chocolate Sponge Cake:
150 g all purpose flour
20 g cocoa powder
240 egg whites (I needed 6.5)
180 g egg yolks (I needed 8)
120 g sugar

Chocolate Mousse:
500 ml heavy cream
90 g sugar
50 ml water
4 egg yolks
1 egg
220 g chocolate (70% cocoa)

Chocolate Glaze:
200 g chocolate (50% cocoa)
25 g vegetable shortening (replaced with butter)
25 g grapeseed oil

DSC_0897
Instructions :

Raspberry Syrup :
Combine all the ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Chocolate Sponge Cake:
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder.

Whip the egg whites at medium speed until they hold a soft peak. Add the sugar and whip the egg whites until stiff and glossy.
Add the egg yolks and whip until smooth, about 5-10 seconds.

Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and gently fold in with a flexible spatula.

Spread the cake batter on the trays and bake for 10-12 minutes or until done.
Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool.

Chocolate Mousse :
Pour the cream into a bowl and chill.

Place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
Meanwhile beat the egg yolks with the whole egg at low speed.
Pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the egg yolks mixture and increase the speed to medium and continue to whisk for 8-10 minutes until the mixture cools to room temperature.

Finely chop the chocolate and melt over a double boiler.

Whip the chilled cream unitl it holds a stiff peak.
d9cf30f881bb292a6a5081ff6c1316190afbc48a011c7aaf4a5ab25fc913f86c

Scrape the chocolate into the egg mixture and stir until smooth.
Beat one-third of the whipped cream into the mousse to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until smooth.

Chocolate Glaze:
Finely chop the chocolate and place with butter in a bowl. Place over a double boiler and let melt, stiring until the chocolate reaches between 95 and 104° F or 35 to 40° C. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, smooth with an offbeat spatula and chill until set.

Assembling the Cake :
Line the cake board with parchment paper.
Place one sponge cake and brush with raspberry syrup.
Spread half of the chocolate mousse over the cake with an offbeat spatula.
283ac7e4c69433e00483ecdf9a87fd8a59d7b6f707faa0b104259e4e47413fbc
Place the second sponge onto it and brush with raspberry syrup.
Spread half of the chocolate mousse over the cake with an offbeat spatula. I mixed the mousse with some raspberries at this stage.
Chill until set, at least an hour.
Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, smooth with an offbeat spatula and chill until set.

Decorate as you please.

A little bit about my friend who is going to turn 35 in a couple of days. He is a gem of a person… a true gentleman, this is what I wanted to reflect in the cake! The saying “Age is just a number” suits hims best. Anyone who meets him would describe him as 18 by heart. He not only takes care of the more younger people in our group, but he is also a fun loving, humorous guy. Hence I personalized the cake with some of the words he frequently uses to indulge in the amusing side of his personality. He knows how to brighten up a dull day anytime! 🙂

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

I am taking this cake over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday for the celebrations! 🙂

Happy Fiesta Friday!

Happy Fiesta Friday!

Magic Bullet for World Cup Hangover: Orange Sponge with Choc Mousse and Orange Mint Curd

“Ummmm”. Well, this is the kind of instant response I am usually seeking from mon chéri when I want to cheer him up.Still under the world cup hangover he unfortunately injured his ankle in a game of football and needs about 2-3 weeks of bed rest to recuperate. No golden boot here… 😦

With this sinful combination of orange and chocolate I’ve hit the nail on the head! I went about creating this dessert as I wanted to try out two recipes, one for an orange sponge cake by Julia Child and the other, a chocolate mousse by Christophe Felder. When you are trying to re-create recipes of two outstanding individuals of the culinary world, you can’t go wrong at all! Julia Child, one of the chefs whom I admire most for her determination and courage who brought about a revolution in the culinary world. Apart from the movies, the book “My Life in France” gives a humurous and lively representation of Julia’s culinary adventure. Christophe Felder, is not only an amazing pâtissier but is also considered as the creator of plated desserts by some critics!

No points for guessing that the combination of both the recipes turned out to be utterly delicious and fulfilling.
I have tried to create a plated dessert here since this is one of the skills I am trying to enhance and find my own style. 🙂

Orange Sponge with Choc Mousse and Orange Mint Curd

Orange Sponge with Choc Mousse and Orange Mint Curd

Ingredients :

Orange Sponge Cake : 9-inch cake serves 4-5 portions (I made half this recipe)

120 g sugar
4 egg yolks
Zest of 1Orange/ orange blossom water 1/2 tsp
72 ml orange juice
Salt, pinch
100 g all purpose flour
4 egg whites
Cream of tartar/ lemon juice/ salt, pinch
1 tbsp caster sugar

Candied orange peel:

1 orange
50 g sugar
100 ml water
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon (optional)
2 Tsp Vanilla sugar

Chocolate Mousse: Serves 12 (I made 2 portions)

100 g heavy cream
250 g chocolate (60-70% cocoa)
Cream of tartar/ lemon juice/ salt, pinch
6 egg whites
40 g sugar
2 egg yolks

Orange Mint Curd:

1/2 gelatin sheet (1g)
88 g butter, softened
1 egg
68 g sugar
65 ml orange juice
8 medium mint leaves

To decorate:

Pistachios, crushed, optional
Blanched almond flakes, optional
Icing sugar, optional
Ground Cinnamon, optional

DSC_0625

Instructions :

Orange Sponge Cake:
Butter and flour the cake tin. Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Beat the sugar and egg yolks until light and fluffy to form a ribbon.
Add the orange zest, orange juice and salt and beat until foamy.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat until it forms stiff peaks.

Pout one-third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and fold. Fold in the rest.

Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Cool before serving.

Candied Orange Peels:

Bring a saucepan with water to a boil.Peel the orange into wide strips. Cut into strips.
Add to the boiling water, cook for a minute and drain. This will help to remove bitterness.

Now, combine the sugar and water and boil over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Add the orange peel and boil for 2 minutes. Add the honey and stir.
Let the mixture Rest for 15 minutes.
Drain the peel. Transfer to a wire rack and let dry for an hour.

Whisk the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Add the orange peel to the cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.keep aside.

Chocolate Mousse:

Finely chop the chocolate.
Bring the cream to boil over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it melt slightly. Whisk to make a smooth, shiny ganache.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whip until they form soft peaks.
Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until they hold a firm peak.Do not overbeat.

Whisk the egg yolks into the ganache.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Gently fold with a spatula. The mousse should be smooth.
Chill for an hour before serving .

Orange Mint Curd:

Soak the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the egg into a heavy saucepan and add the sugar. Whisk the eggs with the sugar.

Whisk in the orange juice. Continue to whisk over medium heat.
Tear the mint leaves into the pan and cook just until the cream comes to a boil and thickens.
Whisk in the softened gelatin.

Strain the cream over the softened butter. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream and butter for one minute until smooth.
Chill completely, at least 30-45 minutes.

DSC_0682

Assembling the cake:

Spoon a little orange curd on the plate.
Cut a piece of cake and place over the curd. Spoon some mousse over/beside the cake.
Dust the cake with icing sugar, cinnamon and top with almond flakes.
Sprinkle the pistachio and top with the candied citrus peel. Viola!

Plating A

Plating A

Plating B

Plating B

Was Plating B a Hit or a Miss? I would love to know which Plating appealed to you more?

Bon Apetit!

The quintessential “Opéra” Cake

Opéra

Glazed Chocolate and Coffee Layer Cake

Who doesn’t love the Opera cake? When I would walk into a patisserie to buy a croissant or macarons, my eyes would always fall on the rich, dark, mysterious cake.  It is almost as if I was falling in love with it over and over again.  They look so attractive and always make you test your will power….. 😉 Just a bite of these dreamy little cakes can take all worries off your mind. Literally!

DSC_0715
I haven’t eaten the Opéra cake in a long time and when I found myself thinking about it for days together, I decided it was time to get baking! 🙂 They sure do have a lot of elements, but time flies when you make these and the effort is totally worth it. It would make for an outstanding dessert to finish off a dinner party.

This recipe has been adapted from Cristophe Felder’s “Patisserie”. If I have to make this again, I would eliminate the egg yolk buttercream from the buttercream recipe and use just butter, coffee and italian meringue. I have used half of the recipe and made a small cake.
The cake turned out moist and light, with perfectly tempered chocolate. What more can one ask for? 😉

DSC_06601
Makes 16 by 12 inch cake
Ingredients:

Coffee Syrup : ( I have made 1/4 of the recipe)
400 ml warm coffee
150 g caster sugar

Jaconde Cake: ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
8 eggs, 4 whole, 4 separated
220 g ground almonds
275 g sugar
100 g all purpose flour

Chocolate Ganache : ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
170 g dark chocolate (60% cocoa)
120 ml milk
40 ml heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, softened

Coffee Buttercream:
20 ml espresso or strong coffee, at room temperature
Italian Meringue:
62 g sugar
1.5 tbsp water
1 egg white
Egg Yolk Buttercream:
2.5 egg yolks
120 g sugar
50 ml water
180 g butter, softened

Chocolate Glaze: ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
400 g chocolate (%2% cocoa)
50 g vegetable shortening (replaced with butter)
50 g grapeseed oil (replaced with butter)
DSC_0731

Instructions :

Coffee Syrup :

Combine the coffee and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Keep aside.

Jaconde Cake:
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper. ( I have used 2 baking sheets)

Combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, ground almonds and half of the sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 15 minutes.

Whip the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until firm and glossy.

Gently fold the egg whites into the egg-almond mixture.

Gradually sift in the flour and gently fold until smooth.

Spread one-third of the cake batter on each prepared sheet. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Remove and let cool.
7686701e1491708ef4f86ace5c9069722e67927aafd6ceede501247f62253392

Chocolate Ganache :

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.

Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a small saucepan and pour over the chocolate. Add the butter and whisk until smooth.

Coffee Buttercream :
Step 1: Italian Meringue
Whisk the egg whites in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.You can tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
c2
Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk until the mixture returns at room temperature. Touch the bottom of the bowl, it should not be hot.
c3
Step 2: Egg yolk buttercream :
Whisk the egg yolks at low speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.You can tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the egg yolks and beat until they are pale. This should be the ribbon stage.
099f35ebaf7c5b591c57edf2b76f587cdf5899cc317b474f6ed496838428fd02
Step 3 :
Whip the butter until it is creamy and smooth.
bb1c7cf85f28ca2cbc9910daa89ee16fe7fa7bf80837f16c31540fdf9896723f
Step 4:
Add the egg yolk mixture to the butter and beat at low speed until the texture is light.
Beat in the italian meringue at low speed.
a552a43f38e77193a45685cdb6352211f62a33da52e0fd084ae818bbc2b5a41d
COntinue beating at medium speed for about 10 minutes.

Step 5:
Add the espresso to the buttercream and whip at low speed until smooth.
2
Assembling the Cake:

  • Line the cake board with parchment paper. (Optional) I just used some buttercream on the board. 🙂
  • Place one sponge cake and brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread half of the coffee buttercream over the cake with an offbeat spatula.
  • Place the second sponge onto it and brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache over it.
  • Place the third sponge cake on top. Brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread the remaining buttercream and smooth with the spatula.
  • Chill until set, at least an hour.

Chocolate Glaze:
Finely chop the chocolate and place with butter in a bowl. Place over a double boiler and let melt, stiring until the chocolate reaches between 95 and 104° F or 35 to 40° C. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, smooth with an offbeat spatula and chill until set.
DSC_0627

Decorate as you please… 🙂
DSC_0644
Serve:

Dip the knife into hot water and wipe it dry after each cut. Serve with a big smile…:)

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Summer Celebration with deconstructed Lemon Basil Cheesecake

Lemons are available throughout the year, but they are even more special during summers. Lemonade is one of the best drinks to beat the heat. Not only do they have numerous health advantages, they also provide flavor and aroma to food.

I love lemons and this recipe is perfect to celebrate lemons without having an overpowering tangy taste to it. Adding basil leaves to the lemon curd gives this dish an element of surprise and balances the flavor perfectly. When i was pondering about a dessert to serve after a heavy indian meal for a dinner, i found this recipe to be my savior.  The cheesecake being airy and light, the lemon basil cream tangy and fresh make it ideal for a summer evening dessert.

DSC_0692

The below recipe is for a plated cheesecake desert and hence all the elements have been chilled separately. For a traditional cheesecake, chill as a complete dessert.

Ingredients :

Base :
50 g flour
50 g almond meal/ fine semolina
75 g sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
50 g butter, melted

CreamCheese Filling :
250 g cream cheese, softened
240 ml, whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted

Lemon Basil Cream :
1/2 gelatin sheet (1g)
88 g butter, softened
1 egg
68 g sugar
65 ml lemon juice
5 medium basil leaves

Instructions :

Base :
Preheat oven to 165°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add butter and bring together forming a firm crumb.
Tip crumbs into prepared tin and. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Chill in the refrigerator.

CreamCheese Filling:

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the cream cheese and set in the refrigerator for atleast 30-45 minutes.

Lemon Basil Cream :

Soak the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the egg into a heavy saucepan and add the sugar. Whisk the eggs with the sugar.

Whisk in the lemon juice. Continue to whisk over medium heat.
Tear the basil leaves into the pan and cook just until the cream comes to a boil and thickens.

Whisk in the softened gelatin.

Strain the cream over the softened butter. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream and butter for one minute until smooth.

Chill completely, at least 30-45 minutes.

Assembling the Cheesecake:

To serve, spread the base mixture down the centre of the plate. Pipe rounds of the cheesecake in the centre and at the two opposite ends.
Pipe small rounds of the lemon cream on either side of the cream cheese mixture.

DSC_0677
To serve as traditional cheesecake :
Pour the creamcheese filling onto the base; smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Top with the lemon basil cream. Refrigerate until firm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Bon Apetit

Bon Apetit

Ginger Cake

To satisfy my cravings for something sweet and spicy, I was hunting for a good cake recipe. Incidentally, I stumbled upon a book “A little course in Baking” which had a great recipe for Ginger cake.
Although,I am not a huge fan of ginger I gave it a try and to my surprise this cake turned out to be everything I was looking for.It was super moist,with a kick of ginger and subtle flavours of cinnamon and cardamom coming through.The golden syrup and brown sugar make the cake quite rich.

Nothing can beat the feeling of enjoying this cake on a chilly evening sipping a cup of chai over endless talks with your better half. 🙂

Ginger Cake

Ginger Cake

Ingredients :

115 g butter,softened, plus extra for greasing
225 g golden syrup
115 g soft dark brown sugar
200 ml milk
4 tbsp syrup from jar of preserved ginger
finely grated zest of one orange
225 g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp cardamom
0.5 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, slightly beaten

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 3.
Grease the cake tin and dust with some flour.

Prepare the Batter:

Wet ingredients

Wet ingredients

Put the butter,sugar,syrup,milk and preserved ginger syrup into a saucepan.
Heat gently over a low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and well mixed.
Stir in the orange zest.

Smooth Mixture

Smooth Mixture

Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly for 5 minutes.

Dry Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

Sift together the flour,bicarbonate of soda and spices in a mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre.Pour the melted mixture into the well and using a balloon whisk, whisk together until all the ingredients are well mixed.
Then stir in the beaten egg.
Pour the batter into the cake tin.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

DSC_0742_edit

Cool completely before serving.