Forever 18.

Turning 18, in my opinion, is one of the milestones of life.

I remember when I turned 18, it was my first year here in Melbourne, and it was also my first birthday away from home. It was bitter sweet, almost. Thank God that I had friends who love me and made my day very very special and unforgettable. So, to me. Having a celebration when you turn 18 is almost crucial! (: It signifies you becoming an adult (I know, not as huge as turning 21, but nonetheless important!) and definitely deserves a good dinner and a huge cake!

A huge cake was what I made for Peiwen for her 18th birthday during the last weekend! To be honest, I was very very nervous. Big cakes are definitely not something I am good at, not to say, I rarely make them. So I was really brave to decide on making not just a big cake, but a layered cake that, to me, is the most complex thing I’ve ever done! And.. it was HUGE! haha I got a shock after I assembled it, at how huge it was!

As “tall” as Peiqi’s hands!

Just shy of Peiwen’s hand haha

The original name of this cake is called the Heaven and Hell cake. I know. Not a very attractive name. But it’s only cause the two flavours of cakes in this recipe is an angel food cake and a devil’s food cake, held together with a peanut butter mousse. haha. So it does make sense yea? But when it was assembled and when I was helping to cut it into smaller portions, only one thing came to my mind: Reeses. So I decided to change the name to Reeses Choc-White cake (:

Thankfully, it was well received by everyone, and most importantly, the birthday girl (: So happy birthday once again! Hope you had an awesome time!

Cutting the cake was nerve-wrecking for me. I didn’t know if the layers were going to be distinct, or it was going to be a while mess inside. So with my fingers and toes crossed…

not very uniform in the height of each layer. but the layers are pretty distinct, right? haha Or just me and my self-encouragements. haha. ah wells. anywho! Here’s the recipe I’ve adapted from Food o’del Mundo

Reeses Choc-White Cake

Ganache
1 3/4 lbs (795 g) dark chocolate melts
1 1/3 c (315 ml) heavy cream

Place the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan and when it begins to bubble up, pour over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Gently stir, starting in the middle and working your way outward, until the cream and chocolate are completely mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Angel Food Cake
1 1/2 c (235 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 c minus 2 Tbls (120 g) flour
2 Tbls cornstarch
1 1/2 c (355 ml) egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1 c (200 g) sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F (160C) and line the bottom of a 10″ round cake pan with ungreased parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar, flour and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until frothy. Increase speed to medium-high and gradually sprinkle in sugar, then extracts, beating until stiff peaks form.

Sift half of the flour mixture over egg whites and fold until just combined. Sift over the remaining half of the flour mixture and gently fold until no streaks remain.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until top of cake springs back when touched, 45–50 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack and let cool.

My angel cake turned out to have a very crispy outer layer, not sure if it’s cause I did something wrong, but it did add this crunchy texture to the cake which actually was pretty good! (:

Devil’s Food Cake
3/4 c (155 g) unsalted butter
1 1/2 c minus 3 Tbls (185 g) flour
3 Tbls cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c (355 ml) coffee
3/4 c (70 g) cocoa powder, sifted
2 c (250 g) sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, room temp

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Grease a 10″ round cake pan with shortening and dust with flour to coat. Shake out excess flour and set pan aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk the coffee and cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the shortening, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with a handheld mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 minutes. Alternately add the flour mixture and the coffee mixture to the bowl in 3 stages, beating to combine after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, 30–35 minutes; transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Peanut Butter Mousse
1 lb (455 g) (2 8oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3 c (710 ml) smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
2 c (315 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 c (235 ml) heavy cream

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Put cream into a large bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining 2/3rds. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Assembly

Using a serrated-blade knife, slice each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place 1 layer of the devil’s food cake on a cake stand and spread 1/3 of the peanut butter mousse over the top. Top mousse with a layer of the angel food cake and spread with half of the remaining mousse. Repeat with the remaining devil’s food cake, mousse, and angel food cake. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours.

Stir ganache (heat it in the microwave, if necessary, at 10 second intervals. Be sure to stir well) until smooth and pour over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing with a palette spreader if necessary. Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before slicing.

Happy 18th Birthday !

So tell me dearest readers, how did you celebrate your 18th birthday?

Chocolate Gluttony Brownies

Chocolate.

The ultimate stress reliever food! (: I will never turn down chocolate. White, milk, dark. With fruits, nuts or plain. GIVE ME ALL! It doesn’t help that Lindt cafe opened in Melbourne last year. haha. A whole range of different quality chocolates within easy reach! Chocolate becomes essential especially when there are assignments and when you get writer’s block. and what did I do? I baked! To me, baking is therapeutic. When I’m stressed, two things comes in mind. Baking and chocolate. Nothing would be more perfect than baking brownies!

A while back, Masterclass had the most sinful and gooey brownie. Baby and I just couldn’t not give it a try. I’m so glad I did though. Cause the recipe is definitely a keeper! The best thing is you can add as many things as you want in it, and it will still turn out yummy! It’s a pity I didn’t have pecans or peanuts as I think it will just bring it to whole other level of delicious. But here is always next time, cause more assignments are due in 3 weeks!

so here’s the recipe I used adapted from Gary Mehigan (Masterclass)

Ingredients :

250g melted butter
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
90g good quality (Dutch) cocoa powder
1 cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp baking powder, sifted
5 eggs
1 block of Lindt White Chocolate with Almonds
1 cup chopped dark chocolate

6 big marshmallows

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 165°C. Line 2 x 20cm square baking tins or one larger slice tin with baking paper.

2) Add butter and sugar to an electric mixer and mix on medium speed, sprinkle in cocoa powder and mix until combined and has a gooey consistency.

3) Add eggs one at a time, allowing each one to mix through before adding the next.

After adding 1 egg yolk

Last and final addition

All ready to add the flour

4) Rain in flour and baking powder with electric mixer on low speed, beating until well combined.

5) Stir through the chocolates until combined.

6) Pour equal amounts into the tins and smooth over the surface with a palette knife. Place the marshmallows on top of the batter and push it in just a little.

7) Bake for about 40 minutes until firm at the edges but still a little soft in the middle.

8) Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Alternatively you can make this ahead of time and store in the fridge.

GOOEY and filled with chocolatey goodness! (:

I’m pretty sure you will enjoy it! heh The middle is definitely my favourite bits!

Chocolate Ganache, Cream and Strawberry Tart

my very first time making a tart. As you can see, it’s staying in the mold cause any attempt of taking it out, it crumbles into a million and one pieces! *sigh* ah wells. just have to pluck up the courage to try it again. SOON. haha we shall see! (:

I found the largest and reddest strawberry from Queen Victoria Market, and just knew I had to try marking these tarts, although the original recipe calls for raspberry. hehe. they were as huge as my palm!!!

how gorgeous do they look! (: I bet if you saw them, you wouldn’t be able to resist either!!! hehe

I used the recipe from Masterchef, and besides the tart being too crumbly (which I’m pretty sure it’s because I didn’t let it set in the fridge long enough haha) it was YUMMY! The chocolate ganache was the saviour of the dish to be honest. haha but I’m not too surprised, chocolate always saves everything! Especially when I’m stressed. haha

so here’s the recipe! (: Hope you will be more successful than me!

(Adapted from Masterchef)

Ingredients :

240g plain flour
160g butter
Pinch of salt
300ml thickened cream
1 tbs caster sugar
1 punnet strawberries

160ml cream
40g butter
180g dark chocolate, finely chopped

Steps :

Step 1: Place the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor and blend
until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 1-2 teaspoons cold water and
blend again until the dough just comes together. Tip out onto a lightly floured
board or clean bench and form dough into a disc, enclose in cling film and
refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Step 2: Roll pastry out to 3-5mm thick, then use to line four 10cm loose- bottomed tart tins. Prick the base with a fork, then place back in the fridge to rest for about 20 minutes.

Step 3: To make the ganache, place the cream and butter in a pan and stir over medium heat until butter has melted. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl, pour over the warm cream, then stir until the chocolate has melted.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the pastry case with baking paper and
pastry beads or uncooked rice. Blind-bake for 7-10 minutes, then remove baking
paper and beads and bake for another 5-10 minutes until just golden. Press down
any bubbles that have risen up and allow to cool. Remove from tart cases and
place on a serving plate or clean board.

Step 5: Meanwhile, whip thickened cream with sugar until soft peaks. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until needed.

Step 6: Pour the chocolate ganache into the tart shells. Spread evenly with the
back of a spoon or palette knife. Place the strawberries on top of the tart and serve!

Bon Appetit!

Triple Kahlua Surprise !

a while back, I made tiramisu for a mini housewarming that we had at our place. Of course, I bought I big bottle of Kahlua just in case for times like these! I am a bit fan of Kahlua and have always been wanting to try how it would be in cupcakes. Boy did I give it a good shot. I didn’t only have it in my cupcake, I had it in my filling and in my frosting! haha. Now it’s no wonder I named this the triple kahlua surprise yes?

I sourced around for recipes that people have tried and tweaked it a little, came up with my own ganache filling and buttercream frosting so I’m a happy girl (: I think it turned out really well and for once my frosting looks like those you can find in cupcake shops! Well definitely not perfect, but I’m just super happy that it kinda looks similar! haha

so the texture of the cupcakes were soft and when it is in your mouth it has the texture of a chewie brownie! So it is a little dense and quite similar to the texture of a souffle, a dense souffle. Possible due to folding in the stiff egg whites into the mixture at the end. The ganache really compliments the cupcake and the buttercream frosting makes it less rich so I think it’s a perfect match! (: Top it off with shaved chocolate and you have a yummy little dessert on a plate.

When you see the recipe, you might think it’s way too much Kahlua, but you barely taste any in the cupcake itself. The only thing that has the taste of it is the icing (which you can alter the amount you want) so really the amount I used in this recipe is just nice! So if you’re a big fan of Kahlua, try giving this little cupcake a shot! I’m very sure you won’t regret it!

Triple Kahlua Surprise

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Chocolate Macarons with Chilli Chocolate Ganache ♥

Macarons has always been my down fall. haha I’ve tried twice but failed twice, miserably. I didn’t have the courage to try it again. But after talking to Clara and Felicia, I decided to give it one more shot! (:

SUCCESS!

I got the “feet” that I’ve been waiting for! (: WHEEEEE! I was super happy and even happier that I got it though I baked it at 9pm at night! haha. Thanks again Clara for sharing with me your recipe! (:

But as it’s Clara’s recipe, I won’t be posting the recipe but will let you feast on some photos!

I bought myself a new present : an Silpat mat! (: I was a happy girl hehe

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chocolate salted-caramel mini cupcakes

I promised myself that once all the school madness is over.
I will bake something to unwind (:
and I did! hehe
been wanted to try this recipe for ages.
and i did.
mine didn’t turn out as yummy as I thought it would be.
though it looks pretty haha.

i think the icing just taste of butter, sadly.
and my salted caramel didn’t stay in the middle of the cupcake.
it got absorbed by the cupcake for some reason
maybe it was too thin haha.

ah wells. (:
it’s still quite good.
baby said he likes it.
hopefully it taste better when it’s been put in the fridge!

so here’s the recipe!
(adapted from Bake or Break)

Cupcake

1 1/2 cups of plain flour
3/4 cups dutch cocoa
1 1/2 cups of caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 350° (175 C°).
Line mini muffin pans with paper liners.

2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and water. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until smooth.

3. Fill muffin pans about 2/3 full.
Bake about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes to wire racks to let cool completely.

4. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen in an airtight container for up to a month.

Salted-Caramel Filling

2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1tbs light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 tsp sea salt

Steps :

1. Heat sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high heat.
Stir occasionally until syrup is clear. Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan.
Stop stirring, and cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed.

2. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized and temperature just reaches 360°.

3. Remove from heat. Slowly pour in cream and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Stir in sea salt. Use immediately. If caramel begins to harden, reheat gently until pourable.

4. Use a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece, about 1/2-inch deep, from the center of each cupcake.
Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of warm filling into each cupcake. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.



Dark Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 & 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Steps :

1. Combine cocoa and boiling water. Stir until cocoa has dissolved.

2. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar,
and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add melted and cooled chocolate.
Beat until combined. Beat in cocoa mixture.

3. Frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen up to 1 month.
Bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth before using.

4. Fit a pastry bag with a medium open-star tip (Wilton #18).
Fill pastry bag with frosting. Pipe onto cupcakes, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak.
Garnish with a pinch of sea salt.

5. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted.
Store at room temperature in an air-tight container until ready to serve.

i think it’s the prettiest I’ve made.
just wish it was yummier and made me go WOW. haha
but it was still good! (:

chocolate cupcake with creme banana filling and peanut butter icing

Chocolate cupcake ingredients :

3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups of caster sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals
1 tablespoon vanilla essence/extract
Regular or silver cupcake paper liners

Directions :

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a large measuring cup, combine the oil, water, instant coffee and vanilla.Whisk it into the dry ingredients
until combined. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps.

2. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners and fill till 2/3 full.
Bake until wooden skewer comes out clean about 20-25mins.
Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

3. Remove center of the cupcake using the cone method.
Set cone aside, trim the excess tip off the cone.
Fill the cupcake with creme banana filling, replace cone.
Frost with peanut butter frosting!


Creme Banana filling ingredients :

3/4 caster sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
5 tablespoons butter
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract

Directions :

1. Combine sugar, flour and milk in a saucepan; cook, stirring until smooth.
Continue cooking until mixture thickens.

2. Transfer to mixing bowl and let it chill for about 10 mins.

3. Beat butter into chilled mixture, one tablespoon at a time. Fold in mashed bananas and vanilla.


Peanut butter frosting ingredients :

2/3 cup icing sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup thickened cream

Directions :

1. Place the icing sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl.
Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you work.

2. Add the cream and beat on high speed till smooth.

Enjoy! (:

Mug Cake

I made this super easy
2 mins chocolate cake
for a quick chocolate craving fix! hehe
i know. not the conventional kind to make a cake.
but its the best i could come up with
in the shortest time! (:

it’s called Mug Cake!
and it’s exactly what it looks like.
making a cake in your mug!
and in the microwave.
I followed all the instructions. and it said on high for 3mins.
and mine came out a bit overdone.
so I would say. 2 mins and it would be nice, and almost lava cake-ish. hehe

can tell it’s pretty dry and stuff.
but it was still yummy! (: hehe
just need to shorten the time in the microwave.
and it would be perfect.
so give it a try if you need a quick choc fix! hehe

4 tablespoon of plain flour
4 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 egg
3 tablespoon of milk
3 tablespoon of oil
3 tablespoon of chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract

Methods :

1. Add dry ingredients into a bowl
2. Add the egg and mix well. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well again.
Add the chocolate chips and vanilla and mix again.
3. Pour mixture into your mug, and put in in the microwave for 2 mins at HIGH.

PS: the cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t worry. it will be fine! (:
Let it cool and sprinkle some icing sugar to make it look pretty!

EAT!
*slurp*

Enjoy dearies. It’s all good and easy and fun!

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Since Peggy was going to be away for her birthday.
and she invited us over for dinner at their place.
I decided to bake a birthday cake for her.
and also a gesture to thank the both of them
cause they always invite us to join them for dinners or day adventures! hehe
so it was a must to bake her a cake.
was a bit worried. cause i decided to bake something I’ve never tried before.
seriously daring.
and maybe seriously OUT OF MY MIND. hahaha.
but yes. it turned out pretty well!
and hopefully she enjoyed it (:

it was my first three layer cake! (:
i kinda suck at baking big cakes.
more of a cupcake person.
but i think it doesnt look half bad! right? haha

i was quite happy with how it looks after we cut out a piece! (:

success! (:

im a happy girl. hehe

Recipe:
(From The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

ingredients:

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
260g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
45g cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt
170g plain flour
160 ml whole milk

chocolate custard:

500g caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125g cocoa powder
200g cornflour
85g unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

also need:

3 20cm cake tins, base-lined with greaseproof paper

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius (Gas 3)

2. Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or a handheld electric whisk)
and cream until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl
with a rubber spatula after each addition.
Turn the mixer down down to slow speed and beat in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder,
baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until well mixed.
Add half the flour, then all the milk, and finish with the remaining flour.
Mix well until everything is well combined.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins.
Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins
before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

4. For the chocolate custard: Put the sugar, golden syrup, cocoa powder and 600ml of water
into a large saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally.

5. Mix in the cornflour with 120ml of water, then whisk into the cocoa mixture in the saucepan.
Bring back to boil , whisking constantly.
Cook until very thick, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
Pour the custard into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill until very firm.

6. When the cakes are cold, using a serrated knife, slice a thin layer off one of the cakes.
Put this layer into a food processor and process to make fine crumbs.
Put one cake on a cake stand and spread about one-quarter of the chocolate custard over it with a palette knife.
Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the custard over it.
Top with the last cake and spread the remaining custard over the top and sides.
Cover with the cake crumbs and chill for about 2 hours.

chocolate souffle : second night in a row !

I watched Masterchef and they made a chocolate and jaffa souffle
Not a big fan of jaffa.
I left it out.
so it’s just chocolate Souffle. for the second night in a row! haha

because I never had my souffle rise perfectly on the sides.
I was hoping this one would be it.
and IT WAS IT! hehe

it rose. perfectly.
i was super happy! hehe
and it was still nice and gooey in the center.
the way baby likes it. hehe

poke it in the middle and add a scoop of ice cream
match-made in heaven  hehe

guess who’s the happiest girl on Earth?
*jumps*
awesome. and super easy as well! hehe

Ingredients :

120g of 70% dark chocolate
4 eggs, seperated
50g sugar, and extra to coat the ramekins
butter to coat the ramekins

Steps :

1. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees celcious.

2. Boil a pot of water and put a heat proof bowl over to melt the chocolate.
Make sure you don’t get any water in the chocolate, or it will be ruined.
Butter the ramekins with a brush and with upward strokes on the sides.
Coat the buttered ramekins with caster sugar.

3. Cool the melted chocolate and beat in the egg yolks.
IN another bowl, beat the egg whites with a bit of the sugar to get the meringue started.
Slowly add the rest of the sugar till you get stiff peaks.

4. Add 1/3 of the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture until incorporated.
Then slowly stir in the rest of the meringue mixture gently.

5. Scoop the mixture into the ramekins slowly and carefully, not to get any on the sides.
Then bake it in the over for 10 mins.

6. Sift icing sugar over the top immediately after you’ve taken it out of the oven
and put a scoop of ice cream in the middle of the souffle.

7. INDULGE.

Chocolate Souffle. DONE!

Bon Appetit everyone (: