Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcake with White Chocolate Buttercream

Red Velvet Cupcake with White Chocolate Buttercream and Cream Cheese Frosting

Really...do I need to say more? They're little miniature cups of red velvet goodness ordered by Faiz and Lam, whom I fondly called the Delectable Duo who were also my wedding photographers. Check 'em out at Lafa Pixellutions.

These are large cupcakes that come with a surprise inside - white chocolate buttercream! I can feel myself getting a sugar rush just looking at them.

Christmas Bake - Gingerbread Cookies

I first tasted gingerbread cookies many years ago at my friend's boyfriend's house in Ipoh. I also enjoyed the stuffed turkey, pudding and the great time we had just chatting around the Christmas tree. However, the one memory that stays with me all these years is the spicy, wholesome scent of the gingerbread cookies.

Last year's Christmas, I baked them for a few friends that were good enough to order from me. I decided to make them really festive and adorned them with sugar crystals and deco, and fondant. Check 'em out here!

Japanese Cheesecake

I love cheese in all form. If I'm not careful, I could even end up looking like a barrel of ripening cheese. Urgh...not an appetizing sight. One of my favourite things to do was to go to Jusco and buy their Japanese cheesecake. It's not much of a cheesecake but it wasn't too bad.

After much hesitation, I decided that it was time to challenge myself to venture into the unknown and bake an authentic Japanese Cheesecake. It's quite a temperemental cake and needs a gentle touch. It's healthier because you don't actually don't use a lot of cheese. Cheaper too! But it does use lots of eggs and you need to beat the white and yolk separately. It gets its lovely lightness of being from this type of aeration.

After about an hour, my masterpiece came out perfect. Made the mistake of letting the aluminium foil touch the surface that came off a bit. Other than this, it was delicious. Had to stop hubby from finishing it off all in one night. It's great for those who are not exactly fans of cheesecake as it does come off more like a light sponge cake.

Magic Sticks - Coconut, Chocolate and Almond Biscotti

I used to go to Starbuck for a cup of coffee...the magic words are 'used to' because with the slow economy, I do have to stretch and pinch. Somehow, I could never resist their selection of biscotti. Originating from Italy, biscotti is essentially a type of biscuit. Unlike the chewy American kinds, biscotti is hard...sometimes as hard as rock. They are made without any eggs and the liquid comes from either butter or oil. The ones made with butter tend to go rancid faster. But the ones that use oil can be pretty hard to chew on. That's why they are great for dunking in hot coffee or latte.

Getting kind of bored with baking traditional cookies such as chocolate chips, vanilla or even oatmeal cookies, I decided it's time to venture to biscotti world. It's actually quite easy to make and taste heavenly but what put most people off is the fact that you have to bake it twice. And if you're not careful, you can end up with cookie crumble instead of slices of magic.

I had all the ingredients to make my favourite - Coconut, Chocolate and Almond Biscotti. I love the crunchy slices of shredded or flaked coconut, the yummy chocolate chips and bits of almonds peeping through. I made it with butter so I had no choice but to finish the whole tumbler fast. Shared them with hubby and colleagues and they all gave the thumbs up!

Crab Quiche. So Delish!

I am quite hopeless when it comes to short crust pastry. Why? Definitely not because how easy it is to make but because I don't have a cutting board large enough to fit my lovely quiche pan. I ended up doing it on the kitchen countertop...which is not very hygenic, to say the least. Anyway, I was a happy camper the other day when I saw a silicone cutting board that wasn't too overpriced. Promptly bought it and the first thing I did was to surf the net for a few recommended recipes. Found a promising recipe on Allrecipes.com and decided to go ahead with it.

I didn't have much ingredient in the fridge but I did have some imitation crab meat (yup, imitation...but I'm happy because seriously, who has the time to boil, crack and dig into those nasty crusteaceans). The rest of the recipe just came together although I had to make some adjustment with the cheese. Only had cheddar so cheddar it was.


After some rather nerve-wrecking time spent peeking into the trusted yet moody oven, I followed the ring of the bell that signaled that the quiche was ready with a careful lifting of the pan. Oh boy, you should have smelled the heady mixture of melted cheese, herbs, milk and cream. I resisted the temptation to take the whole pan out out and just gobbled it down. Anyway, my Crab Quiche was a huge success. I love my new cutting board and I intend to make many more quiche magic.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Return of the Red Velvet Cake

The Return of the Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red is the colour of passion and is my favourite actually. When I first moved into our new house a couple of years back, I had to seriously resist the temptation to paint the walls a fiery red. Would've driven my darling hubby nuts! Anyway, my kitchen cabinet is red and I'm loving it. Oops...sorry, I digress. We are after all talking about the popular Red Velvet Cake, I've baked quite a few over the years but it's just gaining a footing here in good ole Malaysia. A number of orders came in in the last couple of weeks and it seems that everybody's quite curious about this lovely cake. Not sure what it is? Well, contrary to some belief, it is actually not a chocolate cake. No sirree...cocoa is added for a subtle taste of richness. It's all about the colour and it does look gorgeous when sliced. Some prefer the traditional cream used in Southern USA but here, most prefer cream cheese. I do like cream cheese frosting as well.

This Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting was ordered by Suhadah. Hope she enjoys eating it as much as I enjoyed baking it.

White Chocolate with White Chocolate Buttercream ... Utter Decadence!

The funny thing about white chocolate is that fact that there is hardly any cocoa in them. Seriously, what is the whole point? I'm not exactly a chocolate fanatic...savoury pastries would bring me down on my knees, thanking God. But I do appreciate a good chocolate bar once in a while and the darker and more bitter it is, the more I'd swoon. White chocolate is quite a fascinating entity though and quite tricky to use in baking. I've tried a few recipes over time but haven't actually came across one that I like. Anyway, I purchased a huge block of white chocolate the other to experiment. Since I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate, most of this lovely concoction went to my neighbour's kids. This is truly quite a decadent recipe and uses huge amount of chocolate. Just crazy sweet!