Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Macarons #1

Attempted the so called Christmas macarons. Well, it is basically having red, green and white macarons with different fillings.
By saying attempted I meant on the colors. I could not get that Christmassy Red and Green. Anyway, even for the green ones, they were matcha macarons. So much for Christmas eh?
However, this is my version #1 as stated in my post title. I will attempt another batch and may consider chocolate ganache for the red ones; peppermint for the green and vanilla for the white. We shall see...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Not Martha's Orange Chiffon Cake

Having bought some rather large oranges, I decided to bake an orange cake. What came to mind was a chiffon cake. About a week ago, I deliberated on signing up for a baking class on Orange and Pandan Chiffon Cakes. My wife had told me to drop the idea as I already know how to bake an Orange Chiffon (Martha Stewart's recipe). Reluctantly, I gave the class a miss but I trawled the internet for different versions of making an Orange Chiffon.
I came across Mintyskitchen's blog and noted that she uses self-raising flour instead of cake flour. Finding it interesting, I decided to attempt making the chiffon.
However, as I was getting the ingredients ready, I was unsure if I should adapt the recipe and replace the self-raising flour. Between a sealed, yet-to-be-opened pack of self-raising flour and a half used cake flour pack, I went for the latter. 
I would like to thank Veronica of Mintyskitchen for the wonderful recipe. With cake flour and extra orange zest, I think I made another perfect chiffon. Guess my wife was right. I do not have to attend any more classes. Perhaps I should have been daring enough to use self-raising...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Martha's Red Velvet

I started having this Red Velvet fever again. For the past fortnight, to be exact. It was like about a year ago that I baked Red Velvets cupcakes for my mom's birthday celebration. As I had to bake close to a hundred cupcakes, I got myself a Rowenta, my second oven. It could have been my third if not for my Baby Belling letting me down at that crucial period.

The recipe I used then was from Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten (my blogpost dated 31/8/2011). This time round, however, I scanned through Martha Stewart's version and decided to have a go at it. The recipe is available at

No cupcakes this time. A layered cake covered with cream cheese frosting. Personally, I prefer Martha's version to Ina. But you know what, I will suspend my judgement at this juncture as I am now scanning over Rachel Allen's recipe. Yes, here I come, Rachel. I am gonna bake your version...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Soya Bean Chiffon Again

It is about time I did the Soya Bean Chiffon again. The last time I did this was in June this year. Refer to my post Soya Bean Chiffon Cake dated 27 June 2012.
I noticed from the number of hits, blog readers tend to check out this chiffon and the Matcha or Green Tea Chiffon. I hope this second post will provide a little more information on this chiffon.

If you had noticed, I have bravely divided the chiffon into 3 layers this time round and each layer is topped with whipping cream. I could only do this after I bought the Wilton Cake Leveler a day ago. 
I had given the reference to the recipe in my previous post and I had mentioned too about the soya bean powder that I used. Hope that the photo directly above will help you identify the product easier. However, I am not too sure if you can get it at your local store...or if it is available, it might come in a different packaging.

I must say that this chiffon is a great cake to make. It is not too sweet. It is really soft and fluffy and light - all the good attributes of that perfect chiffon. 

My only regret is that I used 200ml of whipping cream. Having a layered cake like this requires more than that amount and so I concluded. Thus, you noticed I did not cover the entire cake with the cream. Nevertheless, it was a great cake. Spoken with pride.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Orange Macarons

Once again, I have decided to make macarons and this time, orange macarons. Two reasons why I wanted my macarons to be orange. Firstly, I wanted to experiment using the orange coloring powder I had bought and secondly, to prepare for Halloween!

Well, I do not celebrate Halloween at all but the mere thought of making macarons that resemble pumpkins crossed my mind. Who knows too, I may be able to sell these heavenly halloweenees to those who celebrate the event.
I was torn between making chocolate ganache and chocolate buttercream for their fillings. I decided on the latter as I wanted a firmer filling and for me to splash a couple of teaspoons of Cointreau into the buttercream.
Recipe for my chocolate buttercream:
90g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter
Zest of two oranges
Juice of one orange
100g valhorna chocolate (melted and cooled)
2 tbsp Cointreau (optional)

1. Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add butter, orange zest and juice.
2. Using a handheld mixer, beat (1) at low speed so as to prevent splatter. Increase to medium speed and beat till all ingredients are incorporated.
3. Add the cool chocolate mixture and beat for a couple of seconds before adding the Cointreau, if using.
4. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle.
5. Pipe buttercream onto the macaron shells. Be generous with the buttercream so that it will spread out evenly when another shell is pressed above it.
The filling was not very sweet but as usual, I regretted that I added just too much Cointreau. I could have used zest of one orange instead of two. And maybe, I should have added tiny orange bits from the rind to lend some texture to the filling.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tiramisu Macarons

The thought of making either coffee or tiramisu macarons had been brewing in my mind for the past week or so. I finally settled for the latter as it would be my first attempt.
I checked out the internet to look for a different recipe from mine. I stumbled on a blog by Food Nouveau which not only offered a recipe but a troubleshooting guide as well.
As tiramisu macarons, I thought I should increase the amount of coffee powder in the fillings. So in my white chocolate ganache, I added 2 tablespoons of coffee powder and the rest of the remaining powder (don't think it was more than a tablespoon) in the bottle. That was followed by a couple of dashes of rum into the ganache. The more the merrier...
When the perfect looking macarons were cooled, I dusted cocoa powder over them. In my attempt to make them tiramisu-ish, I think I over did it with the coffee powder.

Once again, the macarons tasted heavenly. After a few bites, I concluded that the bitter taste of the ganache was balanced with the sweetness of the shells.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Green Tea Chiffon Cake

I had decided to do a Green Tea Chiffon or Matcha Chiffon over the long weekend as Monday was a public holiday cos of Hari Raya; I have the book Okashi - sweet treats made with love by Keiko Ishida which has a wonderful recipe on "Green Tea Chiffon Cake"; and I came across a blog, Anncoo Journal, that had adapted the recipe from Okashi.
Below is the recipe from Okashi and I too had modified some ingredients and omitted and added some steps in the method:

70g Cake Flour
10g - 15g Green tea powder (I am using Ujinotsuyu Matcha powder - the best I reckoned and below is a photo of it.)
5 Egg yolks
20g Caster sugar 
70g Water
60g Vegetable Oil

90g Caster sugar
10g Corn flour
5 Egg whites

  • Preheat oven to 150C -160C (depends on your oven. I used 150C).
  • Combined and sift cake flour and green tea powder together to form the dry mixture. Set aside. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Add water and corn oil and blend together. Add the dry mixture and mix until batter becomes sticky. This will be batter A. Set aside.
  • To make the meringue, combine sugar and corn flour. Set aside. Beat egg whites. When the whites become foamy, add half the sugar and corn flour mixture and continue beating for a  minute or two. Add the remaining sugar and flour mixture and beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.
  • Add some meringue to A and fold in lightly, then add remaining meringue and fold to incorporate completely. However, try not to overmix it as this will result in a not-so-light and fluffy texture.
  • Pour batter into an ungreased 20cm chiffon cake pan. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. I suggest you start watching your cake after 30 minutes.
  • When cake is done, remove from oven and turn the pan over. Leave cake to cool in pan.
  • Once cake has cooled completely, carefully run a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it.

I must say the chiffon tasted great although I found it a tad sweet. Perhaps I should reduce the amount of caster sugar to 10g?

Monday, August 13, 2012

2012 National Day Macarons

In celebration of Singapore's 47th years of Independence, I decided to make these lovely Red & White Macarons with Chocolate Ganache as their fillings. I discovered by chance that some local stores were selling white coloring powder. Perfect for my white macarons. I had initially intended to use soft beige coloring.
I trawled the internet to look for more macaron recipes. I have my own basic recipe for macaron shells but it is the different types of fillings that I am more interested in. 
Perhaps for those wanting to venture into the land of macarons, you may want to check this uk site - Absolutely interesting recipes to experiment with. 
For the chocolate ganache, I used Martha Stewart's Chocolate Ganache Frosting recipe but adapted it:
8oz good quality chocolate
200ml Thickened Cream (Heavy Cream is mentioned instead)
40ml Karo Corn Syrup
I chanced upon this glass jar in my pantry and thought it would be a great idea to store my macarons in it and present it as a wonderful gift. My macs were a hit, especially with my dear wife who devoured quite a number...

Friday, August 3, 2012

In the Pink with Macarons

I made them again. It is the fever. I made them just to arrange them for a photo shoot. I am thus perfecting my skills in making macarons and honing my skills on food photography.

I had intended to make Raspberry macarons. However, the raspberry powder I used on the macarons resulted in total disaster. So I decided to make plain pink ones and a thick layer of chocolate ganache to go with them.

There are so many recipes and videos on how to make macarons. Perhaps I should attempt the recipes mentioned and see how the macarons will turn out. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Pistachio MacArt

A piece of Pistachio Art
I just had to make Pistachios macarons. The recipe is again from Jill's book which I had mentioned in my previous blog.

Macarons left aside to 'set'
What you see here are the macarons from the third batch. The first batch, was to me, not perfect. When I piped them, they were a little too liquid. Into the bin they went. But the next two batches were successful. Noticed I sprinkled some coarsely crushed pistachio on a couple of macarons only? I was not sure if they would turn out right.

To attain the pistachio-green, I mixed yellow paste with dark green. I would recommend the above food colors which I had purchased online from the UK - Squire's Kitchen. I personally found them to be slightly thicker and richer in color than Wilton's. 

Pistachio macarons with dark chocolate ganache
I have included below the packet of baked pistachios which I bought from the local store. The nuts were great. I had some crushed into the ganache as well. I guess I should have been more adventurous to mix more in the ganache.

These are the plain ones and their pistachio-ness are found in the ganache only. They look and tasted great. If only my wife and boys would pop them into their mouths...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chocolate Macarons au cafe-creme

Perfect shot of my two perfect macarons
It has been a while. I decided over the weekend to try my luck on making Macarons again. By now, we all know how 'difficult' it is to make them. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you fail.

Given the many macaron recipes I have, I zoomed into Jill Colonna's recipe in Mad About Macarons. I am still fascinated by the macarons one can make from her recipes. So far, they have worked for me.

Drizzled with Valhorna White Chocolate
I referred to the Dark Chocolate Macarons recipe to make the shells but used the recipe from Coffee Macarons to make the cafe-creme. In fact, I adapted the cafe-creme by leaving out the butter. It still tasted heavenly. However, I learned that the next time I do a cafe-creme, I should follow her recipe and stick to two tablespoons of coffee powder. I had added close to three tablespoons with the intent of creating a more flavorful and stronger coffee taste. It was bitter. But I want to believe that the sweetness in the shells balanced the taste.

To make the macarons less boring, I drizzled melted Valhorna white chocolate over the smooth brown tops.

I must admit that I am pretty pleased with my macarons. They looked and tasted good. And yes, I will attempt to make macarons in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Martha Stewart's Orange Chiffon Cake

I had decided to bake another Orange Chiffon cake but this time, without the cranberries (see my post on Orange Chiffon). I was basically inspired to try out the recipes from my new book - Martha's American Food. It is Stewart's latest book and my very thoughtful wife bought it and presented it to me as a birthday gift. Imagine how thrilled I was and by the way, this is not the first cook/baking book she had bought for me. 

The photos of the chiffon cake was another push factor that made me want to try out the recipe. But as usual, I adapt recipes for reasons like availability of ingredients or to use up the remaining flour or oil in this case. So I conveniently replaced the plain flour with cake flour and the safflower oil with vegetable oil. 

I do not intend to post the recipe here for copyright issues but if you would like to have it, do drop me a comment. But at this juncture, I should say I was a little apprehensive when the recipe calls for cold water to be added. The result was:

Orange Chiffon Cake with powdered sugar

The cake was fabulous as seen above. Height wise, it was perfect. I dusted powdered sugar to add a little sweetness to the cake. To replicate the cakes shown in book, I served my slices with the recommended whipped cream and candied orange zest. 

With whipped cream, candied zest and mini choco chips
decided to add color too by placing some Hersey's mini chocolate chips at the sides. Honestly (I mentioned about adapting recipes above), I had forgotten to throw in the mini chips into the batter before baking. I would then be able to call it my Orange Choco Chip Chiffon Cake. But viola, I had the perfect Orange Chiffon cake!