Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rich Eurasian Cakes

Had a go with baking a chocolate cake days leading to Easter. I have been baking chocolate cakes but just thought I try out this recipe from robin's eurasian recipes. I guess I have always been impressed by the sugee cakes (semolina and almond) that is so trademark-ish of Eurasians. I stand corrected. So I was hoping this cake would somehow taste different.

Well for one, it was really dark and chocolaty. It rose to a nice height which is perfect for an iced layered cake. It tasted better and more moist the next day. This cake has made it to my list of cakes to bake for special occasions.

There are a few more recipes, common as they are that I would like to try out from the book. Namely the Cherry cake and the Butter cake. The latter calls for 12 eggs and 500g of softened butter! Though I mentioned that the sugee cake is so Eurasian to me, I am not sure if I should try baking it. The recipe calls for 10 egg whites and 15 egg yolks! That is a whole lot of eggs and butter we are talking here...but again these are precisely the ingredients that make a good cake so I reckon. So should I try the recipe out or not? As they say, no venture, no gain. Besides, since I am still in the mood of making macarons, I should be able to put those yolks to good use.

Come this long weekend cos of the Labor Day holiday, I see myself laboring to bake the cakes and, as usual, eager to know how they will turn out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Beauty and the Beast

Attempted Lemon and Matcha Macarons on Good Friday and at the same time beating the clock to leave for a procession at St Peter and Paul's Church. Making time for the procession was a ritual my favorite aunt and I have been doing since I was a liitle kid. And now it is my turn to pass on to my two boys to 'carry on the tradition' so they say. Okay, coming back to the macarons...

After whisking and folding the merigue, man, I felt good. Only for the Lemon ones. Definitely seem better than the previous attempt at the chocolate macarons I did before. Immediately I whipped up my DSLR and started to shoot the macs as they stood on the trays to 'rest'.

Very pleased with the Lemon ones but not so for the Matcha ones. The latter looked 'ugly' and rough. Sigh. Just knew the green ones will not turn out well. Something must have gone horribly wrong either at the whipping stage or the folding stage. The incredible Hulk has been created.

Lemon ones - smooth and perfect        Matcha ones - ready to disappoint

Time was up to pop them into the oven. Time was up to take them out. Anxiety over. Very happy with the Lemon ones except that I should have added more coloring to make them more yellow to look more lemony. Success? Expected. 

Then came the Matcha ones. Disaster? Expected. Sigh. I knew it. I knew it. Texture was rough. Hideous. The shells were soft and damp. Could not bring myself to shoot them alone. So decided to take a 'group' shot.

Made the effort not to highlight the rough green ones. They are really bad when seen with the naked eye.

There you go - Beauty and the Beast. I will not give up. Thanks to Jill and Bakertan. I will charge on...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mac Madness

Chocolate Macarons with nutella fillings (the easiest way out for fillings)
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz (website)

Macarons fever has hit me for the past month. Eager to try making them and still eager albeit being discouraged at most times. Yes, the challenge is there! Heard so much of how vulnerable these seem-so-easy-to-do-with-minimum-ingredients to make them, I jumped on the bandwagon to Mac Madness. Boy, am I mad at times when I think I made it.

Attended 2 expensive mac classes, one hands-on and the other demo, and I still do not get it. The cliche "Men Don't Get It" does not apply here as I dare say the two genders are always trying to perfect these elusive fabulous macarons. Don't get me wrong. For those professionals and those who have already achieved and been baking them like cupcakes, I take my hat off to you. You are to be worshipped. But generally from the blogs I read by home bakers like me, well, we need to 'arrive' not sooner but perhaps very much later. So apart from classes (and thinking of signing up for a couple more) I am desperately searching the net for recipes.

Many nights, usually after a long day's work, I will attempt to make them. Weekends, especially Saturdays are best days for me to work on them. Each time just when I think I succeeded, I get disappointed. My family has been encouraging but I always insist they are being polite after seeing my efforts and anxiety I display while whipping up the egg whites or using a candy thermometer to get that right temperature for the boiling sugar.

I have been delaying posting photos of my failed macarons or not-so-good looking ones until today. Why? I guess if I want to read my blog, say, ten years down the road, I have this as an archive. A decade later when reading them I will either be proud that I had perservered or I will simply say, "Fools rush in...".

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Experimentia 1

What happens when you have the craving for bananas, oreos and had acquired a taste for rum? You combine all these three distinct items into a batter for cupcakes and aptly name them Banana-Oreo-Rum Cupcakes!

In my previous blog, Going Bananas Over Bananas, I baked a wonderful banana cake. It was an affirmation that I could bake it right. Further inspired by fellow bloggers who also baked Banana cakes; Banana Oreos Cakes and Rum Cakes, I thought I should combine all my three favorites and experiment. Hence the title of my blog Experimentia 1. It being the first of many more 'experiments' to come.

Really ignorant if there is already such a combination out there and I do appreciate it if fellow readers could tell me so and provide me the references. In any case, I doubled and adapted the recipe from blogger Cuisine Paradise so as to make it a tad original.

I replaced the Plain Flour with Cake Flour simply because I had left overs from previous bakes and I wanted the cake to be lighter and more fluffy. To cut down the 'sweet' content, without reducing the sugar, I left out the condensed milk and poured in the rum. As I was mindful that I had left out the sweetness of the condensed milk and replaced it with something bitter, I decided to crush as many oreos as I like and did so with the bananas by mashing more than 4. I was hoping the natural sweetness of the over-riped bananas will also overcome the 'bland' mixture. Really, it is up to the individual when it comes to a matter of taste.

Recipe for Banana-Oreo-Rum Cupcakes:

220g Cake Flour
220g Butter
180g Caster Sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tbsp Dark Rum
1 tbsp vanilla extract
About 16 Oreo cookies coarsely pounded
4 - 5 bananas randomly mashed

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
2) Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy
3) Beat in the eggs
4) Incorporate the mashed bananas, rum and vanilla extract
5) Sieve flour, baking powder and baking soda over the batter and fold in gently
6) Fold in the crushed cookies
7) Scoop and fill in cupcake casings - makes about 14
8) Bake for 25 to 30 mins

And there you have it, a moist and fluffy Banana-Oreo-Rum cupcake.