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I always hope to get a smooth cake top like the sponge cake guru Jeannie Tay’s cake.  My cakes usually cracked at the top no matter how careful I prepared the meringue / adjusted temperature according to my naughty oven.  The latest failure is a super funny one… and I baked this cake in the same week of Halloween too, make it super spooky.

sponge halloween face 1

Recipe Source: Chocolate Sponge cake (cooked dough method) | Jeannietay’s Blog

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After so many trials that I lost count of how many Japanese cheesecakes I made in the past few years, I finally realize the recipes I used before was perfectly fine.  It’s my own oven that I never understand and I have to lower the temperature by 20 degrees F and put a baking sheet on a rack above the cake to block top heat.  No wonder it cracked every single time even the batter looked fine.. my oven is simply too hot even I had an oven temperature already and followed the recipe temperature, I still need to lower it further. Anyways, I can rest from making more cheesecakes and challenge something else now.

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The cake would have been perfect if I learned a more proper way to depan the cake instead of leaving it onto the cooling wire for that 10 seconds .. zebra monkey!

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I made my first ever fondant cake for my best friend’s bridal shower 2 months ago.  It was quite a disaster, the cake was dry. All ll I had at that time was just a block of purple and white fondant to start with and some creativity (NOT a single bit of artistic skill unfortunately, due to my lack of art genes).  Even though there were lots of flaws, the bride and the guests were still very impressed by my effort to put together a 2 tier fondant cakes together.  After that experience, I started to hunt for more proper tools so I can make a better cake next time.

So here I am, spending 10+ hours on a second fondant cake for an university friend for her bridal shower.  Luckily purple is one of her favorite colors too, so I’m reusing the leftover purple fondant and more white fondant to cover another 2 tiers cake.  This time is a smaller size cake and I want to record this process.  Hopefully my next fondant cakes will mark more improvements.

This time, still lots of flaws, but I know how to COVER up (with decorations and ribbons!!)  This time there are more “WOW”s and I feel really satisfied with the hard work.

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I brought an old dessert cookbook to my friend’s house many years ago, made an interesting “Chocolate Magic Cake” together which involves pouring boiling water over a chocolate batter.  After that night, I never saw that book again.  I was always thinking of this fudge cake with a lot of chocolate sauce and after many years I decided to google for an online version.  This should be it, and I followed reviewers about adding more chocolate flavor and a bit of butter cubes to thick up the sauce.  Most important is not to invert the cake as stated in the original recipe.  It would be a big mistake to invert this runny cake onto a platter that would make a huge mess (that’s the last thing I want to do to end an dinner).  I cut down the sugar too and let’s see if it will still be sweet enough.

Adapted from:  Glendora’s Chocolate Fudge Pudding (Cake) – Printer Friendly – Allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp of butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1+3/4 cups boiling water

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart baking dish.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, white sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 tablespoons chocolate chips and salt together in a large bowl. Mix in the milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle cubed butter onto the batter.
  4. Mix brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1 tbsp chocolate chips together; sprinkle over batter in baking dish.  Pour the boiling water slowly over the top of the batter and topping.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. The top of the cake will be set and the bottom will be runny. Divide into 8 portions and spoon each portion onto a plate.  Drizzle sauce over the divided cake and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Oct 12,2015 night test: Step 2:  I used 5 tbsp cocoa powder and 2 tbsp chocolate chips in the dry ingredients, and used only 1/2 cup milk as in the original recipe.  Huge problem with a super thick / dry batter as I increased the dry ingredients without compensating with more milk.  I’m editing the portion to just 3 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 tbsp chocolate chips with increasing more milk, so hope the cake would end up with more sauce than the one I get tonight.  I will try this cake once more to confirm the ingredients.

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I highly recommend people who can read Chinese following this amazing step-to-step recipe (see below for the link) to make this extraordinary sponge cake that’s so soft and moist (thus the name Cotton Cake).  The smooth surface doesn’t erupt like the chiffon / sponge cake, and it looks so nice and pretty.  The recipe is not too sweet and uses a lot less oil than my usual sponge cake recipe, so it’s actually a lot healthier than traditional cake.  I am just translating here for my dear friend L, an avid baker who is in search of a good sponge cake recipe.  L, hope you will find success making this cake!  But don’t keep for too long at room temperature in a tight container.  My cake turns yucky durian like flavor after being in a air-proof container at 48 hrs, so odd!!  So I had to throw it away, what a waste, as it was a beautiful cake for the first 24 hours.  May be I should keep in the fridge, or even better, just finish it as soon as possible!!

The Cotton Cake has a beautiful top and it is soft and moist that melts in your mouth

The Cotton Cake has a beautiful top and it is soft and moist that melts in your mouth

Original recipe in Chinese:  入口即化的棉花蛋糕。。。分享。。。 | Giga Circle.

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I wonder how a 11 month old baby can finish a tub of 750gm of plain full-fat yogurt herself before expiration date.   One day past expiry, there was still 1/2 tub left.  I know it’s probably okay for an adult with better immune system to finish up the yogurt. But I prefer to cook dairy which has just past its expiry.  This yogurt cake sounds yummy, although I rarely make lemony dessert because lemons are simply too sour for my tastebuds.   As it turns out, the cake is refreshing with a moist texture.  It’s perfect for summer, and luckily the sugar is enough to balance the sour lemon juice.  I reduced the sugar and cut out the glaze, as well followed other reviewers to poke holes to let the lemon syrup run through the whole cake, making it extremely moist.   The sweetness is perfect !    Next will try out a chocolate yogurt muffin recipe, because my baby has started another tub of plain yogurt (AGAIN!)     Let the yogurt baking continues..

Adapted from:  Ina Garten

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-yogurt-cake-recipe.html

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Lemon Yogurt Cake

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This is my latest favorite banana bread.  It requires less oil and healthier sugar than a lot of other typical banana bread.  I think it uses less sugar because it’s loaded with 5 bananas each loaf !!  Most importantly, I can still bake when I have NO EGGS in my house.

It’s moist inside and crunchy on top after baking.  It’s one recipe I don’t alter any ingredient except using 1/2 flour as whole wheat and choosing pecans as my nut add-on.

 

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

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