October 28, 2006

fancy cake

i feel like to make a fancy cake. i feel like to decorate. it's been a long time since the last time i've done it.

i'm a self-taught kind of person. i learn from books, any cake decorating sites i've visited, and many to mention is from my friends at the group. ideas are just there. all i need to do is put them all together on a pile of cakes.

and i always love a baskeweave borders. it's lovely. it goes anything with sort of flowers. this time, i made the flowers from white chocolate. i used ice cream scoop to curl them into a shape of buds. it was so much fun!

Happy Ied el Fitr to all of you who celebrate it.

I hope you are all enjoying as much as I did the cake.

October 11, 2006

on a memory lane

In a Ramadhan night, a long long time ago. I was still a High School student, and was so glad that I was attending the kitchen to prepare meals and desserts for the Ied el Fitr in two days time. This means that my Mum would make a cake which was made from agar-agar powder, wheat flour, a lot amount of sugar, and sweetened condensed milk. She would add vanilla powder into the mixture. She said that would make the cake release its flavour while we're having a bite.

Not so long ago, I was looking for this recipe. I couldn't find it in my Mum's cookbook she gave me a few months ago, and then I gave a good shout to the group. And I've found the recipe I've been looking for, sent directly to my mailbox (Thank you Riana, you're the best, mate!). This recipe is definitely the one that we used to use a long time ago. And I just remember that.

And just yesterday, before breaking the fasting, I made this cake. I tend not to use too much sugar in any cakes I made and this recipe calls so much sugar. I have to reduce some amount as sugar and sweetened condensed milk are all used together. I added vanilla as well, but because I don't have vanilla powder, I use vanilla essence instead.

Now, I'm back on track. On my present life. With the cake from so long time ago.

Cake Casablanca
Source: Resep Bonus Sisipan Femina-Blueband
Sent and posted by Riana Ambarsari

This original recipe's method is not so organized, so use your best method you could apply and works for you. I did mine. And, oh, it should use waterbath.

100g Blue Band (it's a brand for butter and margarine in Indonesia--I used 50g butter and 50g margarine)
3 packets agar-agar (you can find them in Tofu Shop, NZD 1.80 per packet)
5 eggs (separate the yolks and whites, put them in the different bowls)
450g white sugar (I reduced it to 300g only)
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk (that'll make half of 395g can we have here...do the math)
70g plain flour (sifted)
6 glass of water (1 glass equals 200mls)
3 Tbs cocoa powder

Original Method:
1. Melt the butter.
2. Beat the egg yolks with 225g sugar until thick. Fold in the sifted flour, mix well.
3. Bring to boil agar-agar, 225 sugar and water. When it becomes slightly cool, mix it into the egg mixture.
4. Fold in the beaten egg whites and the sweetened condensed milk.
5. Mix well. Divide half of the mixture and add cocoa powder. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared and greased pan, them pour in the chocolate mixture.
6. Bake for about half an hour, then chill. Cut to serve.

My Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a big china dish or two. I use two 26x20 dishes.
  • Make sure you have some water in the jug, so when the mixture is ready to go into the oven, you can immediately have hot water for the waterbath.
  • Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and fluffy, mix in the sifted flour and while you're beating the egg yolks, melt the butter in the microwave. Add into the egg mixture. (I add in the vanilla essence by this stage).
  • Meanwhile (while your machine is beating the egg yolks), bring to boil agar-agar, sugar, and water. Remove from the hob, let cool, and keep stirring while you're cooling the mixture down. And when the mixture of egg yolks finished beaten, fold in the melted butter, take it out of the machine.
  • Put a smaller bowl to the mixer and beat the egg whites until stiff.
  • Back to the egg yolk mixture, the agar-agar mixture will be cooled down by now, and pour it into the bowl, one stream at a time, mix well. Add in the sweetened condensed milk. Then fold in the egg whites.
  • Pour into the prepared dish or dishes, bake waterbath for 25 minutes (my oven). It still IS gooey, but it'll set when it's cold. Let it cool at room temperature, then cover and chill in the fridge until set.

October 08, 2006

more cheese pleeeeease...

people in the group are very interesting. some are excellent cooks, some are great entertainers, and some are eager learners, like myself. sometimes it amazes me where these ideas come from, and there are always tips and tricks. sharing becomes the 'middle name' of each person. and most of us like to try what it seems new to us and sonds delicious. the results are: new recipe folders, new experiences, and new friends.

one of many great recipes shared in the group is this one. i've made this several times and it always turns out good. it tastes like cheese and sugar, not either too cheesy or too sweet. the flavours are mingled with one mighty bite, it's gone, leaving your tastebud to judge.

Cheese Button
original recipe: Femmy Jaco


250g butter (salted is doing fine, after all the base is just like pastry)
3 egg yolks
1 egg white
1 Tbs caster sugar
150g grated Edam (I used Cheddar)

450g plain flour, sifted (I use self-raising flour, the result is very light base)
100g tapioca

200g icing sugar
45g egg white (approximately one egg white, egg size 6)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
grated Cheddar cheese (to sprinkle)
vanilla essence or vinegar or lemon essence (to add more flavour)

Beat Ingredients A together (my method is to beat the butter and sugar until white and fluffy, then add the egg yolks and egg white one at a time), then mix in the grated cheese. Mix in Ingredients B, mix well. Roll onto a thin sheet, approximately 2-5mm (I think mine was 3mm), cut into square 2x2cm (I use a round cookie cutter to resemble a button). Spoon the icing onto each cookie. Bake in a preheated moderate-low (my oven setting is 160C) until crispy.

October 01, 2006

a slice of brownie

brownie brownie
a slice of brownie

with a cup of good espresso

or probably a long black will do

Whenever I eat a slice of brownie, my heart sings. Not only because the chocolate tastes so goooood, but also the nuts which enrich the flavour tends to melt me down, to the bottom of the baking paper, to the very last piece.

I love all sort of goodies made from chocolate. And I love to use my 70% chocolate bars. Call me a chocoholic, but it's true. Chocolate makes me happy.

tra la la tri li li...

By the way, I've tried many brownie recipes. Some recipes offer simple ingredients (what's so or not so simple about chocolate brownies?) with or without eggs, others offer much richer versions with adding chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or even cream cheese and berries. I've tried these lots a lot. They are all nice, they have their own characteristic of flavour. What I don't like about brownie is that they sometimes become solid like a brick when left eaten for 2 - 3 days. I want them to stay soft, not to lose its melt-in-the-mouth sensation, until the very last slice, to the very last crumbs.

Until I've tried a recipe from David Herbert's (again) simple cookbook (boy, this man is truly making simple recipes which works EVERY time!). The sponge is soft and yes-oh-so-melt-in-the-mouth sensation is there. The crust which is developed on the surface of the cake is definitely a great start to follow a deeper bite. My suggestion is use your best chocolate and the freshest ingredients as much as you can, then you won't go wrong!

Chocolate Brownies
by David Herbert of The Perfect Cookbook

125g (4oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I use 70% cocoa)
125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, cubed
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups caster (superfine) sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
100g (3 1/2 oz) pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 160C (315F, Gas Mark 2-3). Grease a 20x30cm (8x12 in) baking tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Allow to cool. In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence for 3-4 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture. Add the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in the nuts. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 minutes, or until dark brown and the top has formed a crust. Allow to cool in the tin. Remove and cut into squares. Dust with icing (confectioners') sugar to serve.

Tips from David:
To make orange and macadamia brownies, omit the pecans or walnuts and stir into the mixture 2 tsps of finely grated orange zest and 100g (3 1/2 oz) of roughly chopped macadamia nuts.

Brownies can be drizzled with melted chocolate or spread with chocolate icing, or frosting.