Friday, February 27, 2009

Mango mirror cake

This is my third birthday cake this month. This time is for my all time friend, one of my first friend in Melbourne. We went to college together, took the same subjects in Uni, used to live 10 doors away, sometimes my personal shopper and chauffeur.. our fondness memories together would be sleeping on beanbags in the computer labs during our last weeks of uni.

He has been a sweet tooth, even worst than me at times, so he loveeesss cake. Last year I made him a passionfruit sponge cake, but this year he requested a mango mousse cake. I decided to try strawberry mirror cake and substitute the strawberry for mango.

I first saw this cake from the food blogs I have become addicted to when they did the cake for one of the Daring baker's challenge. The cake itself is quite fiddley to make, but the result is sooo worth it. The bavarian cream is so silky smooth and creamy without being too rich. And it is the perfect pairing for the light sponge cake base. I would say that this sponge cake is becoming one of my favourite as the base for cakes. The shiny gelee on top of the cake gives a sweet touch to the cake, and a perfect canvas for any decorations. I didn't have time to make chocolate decorations, so I decided to use leftover's from the green tea-ramisu. One thing that I found disapointing is how soft the cake is, first I wanted to put half cut mango for decoration, but the weight is squashing the cake, so I opt for slices of mango instead. Perhaps I should use a stronger gelatine next time.

I'm still kicking myself for loosing my camera's battery charger. It was on its final breath when I capture this cake. So the quality is seriously lacking. These two might be the better ones out of the bunch.

Mango Mirror Cake (Adapted from Cakes and Pastries At The Academy by the California Culinary Academy 1993)

3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 TBSP sugar
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
½ cup water
1/3 cups sugar
2 TBSP cointreau or any fruit liqueur

Mango Bavarian Cream
2 ½ TBSP unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups strained mango puree(around 1 mango)
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 ¾ cups whipping cream

Mango Mirror
1 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP kirsch
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP unflavored gelatin

Mango Juice

1 mango
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water

1.Preheat oven to 450F. Butter and flour the sides of an 11-by-17 inch jelly roll pan(rimmed baking sheet). Line bottom of pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit bottom pan exactly.
2.Beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light. Beat in the vanilla.
3.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, ad cream of tartar and beat until whites begin to form peaks. Add the 2 TBSP sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks(do not over beat).
4.Sift flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in . Stir in one fourth of the whites. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites.
5.Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake until light brown and springy to touch(7 to 10 minutes). Cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife along edge to loosen. Invert cake tin to cut out 8 ¼ inch circles of cake. Wrap the cake layers, separated with waxed paper, and set aside. Cake may be frozen at this point.
6.To make soaking syrup: Combine water and the 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature; flavor with liqueur. Set aside or refrigerate in glass jar until ready to use.
7.To assemble cake: Brush sides of 10-inch springform pan lightly with flavorless salad oil or almond oil. Cut out a cardboard circle that is exactly the same size as the bottom inside of the pan; cover cardboard with aluminum foil and fit into bottom of pan. Center one layer of the cake bottom of pan. Brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup to just moisten(not drench) the cake; set aside.
8.Prepare Mango Bavarian Cream. Immediately pour about half of the Bavarian Cream over the first layer of cake in the pan. Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream. Pour remaining Bavarian Cream over cake and smooth top of the cream with spatula. Refrigerate until the cream sets(1 to 2 hours).
9.Prepare the Mango Mirror.
10.To serve: Wrap a hot towel around the outside of springform pan for a few minutes. Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the Mango Mirror to separate it form the sides of pan. Mirror will tear when sides are unlatched if it is stuck at ANY point. Slowly unlatch the pan and slide it off the cake. Slice cake in wedges and serve in upright slices.

Prep Work

Mango Bavarian Cream
1.Sprinkle the gelatin over the mango puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.
2.Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl’ beat until light. Bring milk to a boil in sauce pan. Pour hot milk into yolk mixture ans stir with a wooden spoon(it doesn’t say so but I would temper the egg mixture first to be safe). Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your finger leaves a clear trail in sauce when drawn across the back of the spoon.(Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Immediately remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin mixture. Pour into a stainless steel bowl places over a bowl of ice water. Stir in lemon juice and a few drops of red food coloring. Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.
3.White gelatin mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. When the gelatin mixture resembles softly whipped cream, fold the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture.

Mango Mirror
1.Prepare mango juice.
2.Place lemon juice, kirsch, and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.
3.Measure 1 ½ cups mango juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; pour over gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve gelatin. Place bowl over bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just beings to thicken(do not let jell); remove from ice water.
4.When mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of cake. Refrigerate until set.

Mango Juice

Peel and cut mango into 3cm cubes, coarsely chop. Place mangoes in saucepan; crush to start juices flowing. Place over low heat; add sugar and water; simmer slowly 10 minutes. Pour juice and pulp through damp jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander and drain into a bowl for 15 minutes(Do not press down on fruit).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where can it be?

I'm close to tears. I can't find my camera's battery charger. I've looked everywhere. High and low, left to right, but it just won't reveal itself. I first realized it just before I went on my trip, but during that chaos, I decided just leave it for now and look for it when I'm back. I was soooo sure I left it either in M's house or at my friend's house, coz that's when I last remembered charging my camera.

Now my camera is totally flat. I have already lost the opportunity to take a shot of the cake I made for my friend yesterday. I borrowed M's digital pocket camera, but the result just doesn't compare at all!!

I will definitely need my camera for tomorrow, since it's almost submission time for the Daring Baker's February challenge. Argghhh... only if I wasn't completely broke at the moment, I'd buy a new charger.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A makeover

Okay.. I cheated a little bit.. the last two posts was published not on their respective dates. I had to postpone their publish date coz I'm in the middle of re-vamping this blog.

I finished the background, although it still needs some minor tweaking here and there, and in the progress of making the banner. I usually can whip something very quickly, but it's been crazy at work and the newest distraction from playing cooking mama on my recently purchased Nintendo DS doesn't really helped.

Hope you like my new look, and stay tuned for more.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The day after

I'm feeling very lazy today.. I was suppose to meet the girls for a Sunday brunch at the newly opened gourmet food store Jones the Grocer in Chadstone. But my eyes just refused to be open in this warm Sunday morning. When I texted the girls and only got one reply (which means the others are not up yet), I went back to La la land and continue snoozing. After running around all over Victoria from farmer's market at Caulfield in the morning, sugar modelling course at Greensborough, a movie at South Yarra, and cookie baking all in one Saturday, I just want to recharge my energy this Sunday. Don't ask about M, he sleeps like nobody's business. He can sleep all day if he doesn't have to be somewhere. So I finally got my lazy ass off the bed at around 11am and decided to make some comfort for my rumbling tummy.

I found some of Miss Polip's stale bread in the fridge, and decided to make use of it before something starts to grow on it. I need a sugar hit! So I made Nigella's super brilliant Doughnut French Toast with Quick Strawberry Sauce. The smell of Vanilla surely made my morning =)

I jazzed it up and set up a breakfast in bed thing for M. A nice way to shove M out of bed.

Doughnut French Toast with Quick Strawberry Sauce
Original recipe by Nigella Lawson

Strawberry sauce
1 punnet of strawberries
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

Blend all ingredients together and set aside.

French Toast
1 large egg
1tsp vanilla paste or substitute it with 2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
4 slices of slightly stale bread
a dollop of butter and a bit of olive oil for frying

50g of caster sugar for dredging

mix vanilla, milk and egg until combined. Cut the breads into triangles. Soak the bread in the egg mixture, make sure it is drenched completely. Meanwhile, put the butter and olive oil in a frying pan. The olive oil will prevent the butter from burning. In a medium heat, fry the eggy bread until golden brown on both sides. dredge the bread with the caster sugar and serve with strawberry sauce.

mmmm... Heavenn.. Nigela is truly the queen of comfort food =)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Would you be my Valentine?

A day of love..

I'm never big on Valentine.. I usually tends to avoid having a traditional Valentine's day candlelight dinner. It has been over-commercialized, highly overrated for my taste. Everywhere will be fully booked, restaurants will dictate us with their set menus (what happenned to freedom of choice?) A nice bouquet and hand written card is usually seals the deal for me. One thing about Valentine is the one and only day where I can justify my "demand" of a bouquet of flower from M. I don't know whether it's an Indonesian guys thing or is it just the guys I've been going out with that seemed to have an allergy of buying flowers for their girlfriend. I don't mean to be cliche, but I always loved flowers. I like filling my house with flowers. I always picked up a bouquet or two almost every weekend. After relentless hint dropping, M finally gave up and bought me a lovely bouquet or orange roses.

Only after I became a serious baker that I started giving out Valentine gifts. Heck, it's the best reason to use your heart shaped cookie cutter right? I only made one batch of Dorie Greenspan's butter cookies I love so much. I've always wanted to try making stained glass cookies ever since I fell in love with the cute tea cakes and biscuits made Joycelyn at Kuidaore . Visit her blog for amazing macaroons and detailed icing decorated cookies. Her intricate details will leave you speechless and craving for more.

Stained glass butter cookies
Adated from "Paris Sweets" by Dorie Greenspan

140g unsalted butter, softened
120g sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour

2-3 strawbery or berry flavoured hard candy (I used strawberry flavoured chupa chups), crushed

In a food processor or a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add sugar and blend thoroughly until mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out to the work surface and collect it into a ball. Cut it in half and shape them into discs and refrigerate, covered tightly with cling wrap to firm up. It can be refrigerated from 2 hours to overnight. Just put it out at least 10mins before start working.

Preheat oven to 180C. Roll the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper into 4-7mm in thickness. Cut out the cookies using a hear shaped cookie cutter and place it in the baking tray. Using a smaller heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out a small portion of the cookie and fill with crushed candy. Bake for 5-7 minutes until golden. You can bake it the American way, egg wash it and sprinkle with granulated sugar. But I think the candy centers add enough sweetness to the cookies.

Happy Valentine everyone =)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Green Tea-ramisu

A little snipet of my e-mail conversation with my housemate (why email and not face to face you say? it's because eventhough we share the same address, we rarely share our nights under the same roof. I see her more outside the house rather than inside)

Me: What cake do you want?
Miss Polip: awww.... so twit... you know what I want.. TIRAMISU.. any version you like as long as it has heaps of sponge
fingers.. xp

Of coursee... After days of contemplating what cake to make for my special housemate, I completely overlooked the one thing she always asked me to make. It's not that I don't like Tiramisu, it's actually one of my favourite dessert of all time. It's one of the very first dessert I ever made from scratch after I move passed the premix cakes. But it's just that I made it in one too many occasion. But, since this is the first time we spent her birthday together after 3 or so years of our friendship, her wish is my command!

From our emails, I got the sense that she's asking me to be more creative with the tiramisu, so I decided to try making an Asian take on this beloved traditional Italian dessert. I researched for some recipes online and found a lot of great ones. However, from reading this recipes, I noticed that what they're doing differently than the original one, is just adding matcha powder to the cheese mixture, and substitute the liquor with sake or a fruity based liquor rather than the usual coffee based liquor. So I went back to my trusted recipe that I've been using for a while. I made Tiramisu so many times I can make them with my eyes closed.

When I'm making a whole cake, especially if it's being served in a party-like environment, I like to use sponge cake rather than sponge fingers so it can hold their shape when it's cut. I used a joconde biscuit recipe for the base. I still have some matcha powder left in my pantry, but opted for a fresh batch since I read online, that it's better to use fresh matcha powder for better tasting result. Old matcha powder tends to loose their taste intensity and their caffeine level is usually increased with age.

In using matcha powder, a little actually goes a long way. Using too much, you can end up with a bitter after taste and might make your guest high strung in caffeine. One recipe can make a generous amount of cream cheese mixture, so I ended up with an 11 inch cake and two 4 inch individual cakes. The cake was fabulous! not too sweet and had a very aromatic and intense green tea flavour.

Green Tea-ramisu (I forgot where I first got this recipe, I think it was from one of the little recipe collection book from Periplus)

Joconde (from "Paris Sweets" by Dorie Greenspan) - half recipe
30g unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
10g granulated sugar
112g almond flour
112g icing sugar, sifted
3 large eggs
35g all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 220C. Line two jelly-roll pans (pans with raised edges) with parchment paper, and coat parchment with 1 tbsp of the melted butter.

In a clean, dry mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip on low speed until the whites become foamy, then whip on medium-high speed until the whites reach soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, and whip on high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy.

In a separate mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat almond flour, icing sugar, and eggs on medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and voluminous. Add flour and beat at low speed until it disappears. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold meringue into the almond mixture, then fold in the remaining melted butter until just combined. Divide batter between the two pans and spread evenly.

Bake cake 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from their pans, and let them cool to room temperature.

Green tea cream cheese
250g Mascarpone cheese

250g Cream Cheese
1/2 cup thickened cream

4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 tsp matcha powder

Cream the cheese using the paddle attachment on your mixer. Add cream, matcha powder & egg yolks one at a time and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form using the whisk attachment of your mixer. When soft peaks form, gradually add caster sugar and mix until stiff and glossy. Gently fold egg whites to the cheese mixture.

Soaking mixture
freshly brewed green tea
sake or orange flavoured liquor, use according to taste, depends on how strong you like your alcohol

20 sponge fingers for decoration
100g icing sugar mixed with 1 tsp of matcha powder for decoration

To assemble
Using a spring form pan, position the pan in the middle of your cake board and line the sides of the pan with glad wrap or parchment paper to avoid cream sticking to the pan. Align the sponge fingers to form a picket fence on along the inside of the pan. I cut the bottom of the sponge fingers so it can sit nicely in the pan, and I made them to tilt slightly for an extra touch. Trim the joconde to fill the middle area of the pan. Make sure it covers the bottom of the pan. Brush the cake with the soaking mixture. Pour about 1/3 of the cream cheese, level them with a spatula. put another piece of joconde on top, and brush with the soaking mixture. Pour another 1/3 of the cream cheese until it reaches about 1 cm shorter than the sponge fingers. level them with a spatula. cover it tightly with a glad wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Use the leftovers to make individual cakes. Sprinkle with green tea-icing sugar just before serving

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On coming back and letting go

How do you train yourself to let go?

After 7 years living far away from my parents, I thought saying goodbye has become a normal situation. Don't know why, this time I'm having the hardest time parting with both of my parents. Either the guilt of not being there for them in their old age, or is it this small voice inside of me who is starting to lose some sense of why I still chose to live 3,000 miles away. Sigh! I have a lot of thinking on what to do with my life this year. That's one of my new year's resolution, I have to make a decision before I turn 25 this November.

Apart from that, I'm glad to be back. To the arms of M again.. and the comfort of my tiny little apartment. I'm soooooo glad I managed to escape the crazy weather. It was above 40 degrees for a week here in Melbourne. Luckily, by the time I got back, the temperature has dropped to the mid 20s. It doesn't feel like summer anymore, but you won't hear me complaining. It's sad to hear about the bush fire drama all over Victoria. I wished I can do something to help. All my thoughts goes to all the victims =(.

I'm back to super speed internet now, so I can post the recipes for the tuiles and the sorbet I made for the daring bakers. I don't have a lot to share from my trip, at least not food related, since I was down with a stomach bug most of my time there. I missed out on soooo many favourite foods. A friend at work said that I must have "the white man stomach". I usually laid low for about a week or so, eating safe foods, restaurant foods or homemade foods that I know is clean. Then move on to the street food, or spicier food. But in a 2 week holiday, surely, if I have to be safe for a week, what do I get left? Well, I ended up spoiling the whole 2 weeks of unable to eat properly plus the 2 days I spent lying in bed to weak to got up. Nonetheless, it was great to see my parents, catch up with some old friends, and see how different Jakarta can be in just one year. I hardly recognized it. So many new buildings and new restaurants. The one thing I looovveed about Jakarta, it never sleeps. You can easily find stores that are open till late at night. Especially when it comes to food, every hour of the day you can find it anywhere you go. When the restaurant closes, you can always find some fabulous hawker foods everywhere. Just don't think about hygiene.

Vanilla tuiles
Following is a recipe taken from a book called “The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck.
65 grams butter, at room temperature
60 grams icing sugar, sifted
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)

2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)

65 grams sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

Oven: 180C / 350F Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly. Bake tuiles in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

Fruit Sorbet
Recipe: 4 cups of fruit ( I use strawberry, lemon *for the lemon, add 1 part water to 1 part lemon juice to keep it from being too sour*, and kiwi)
2-4 tbs of sugar (depending on how sweet you want your sorbet to be)
2 tsp of lemon juice (if you're using a sour fruit, substitute this with water)

Cut the fruit and put it inside a ziplock bag and freeze it overnight. The next day, process the fruit in a food processor until smooth. Add sugar and lemon juice to taste. Blend thouroughly until smooth. Freeze the liquid in a covered container until hardens. This may take several hours. Take out from the freezer and put it into the fridge for 15 minutes to soften it a little. Put sorbet in a food processor and blend thoroughly to break the ice crystals. Put back into the freezer until ready to be consumed.

I'm in the middle of a bake-off for Valentine's and also baking a cake for my dearest housemate whose birthday falls one day before Valentine's day. So to finish off today's dinner, I made something very simple, a recipe taught to me by my ex neighbour when I was still living in Malvern. It's nothing impressive nor innovative, but it helped me soothe my homesickness a little bit since it uses one of my childhood favourites, Milo.

Honey Yoghurt with Milo
Plain Greek Yoghurt
*I don't put measurements coz I never used one, just mix them up according to your taste, if you like the sweetness from the Milo, use less honey and more Milo, and so forth*

Put a dollop of yoghurt and sweeten it up with honey. If you use sweetened yoghurt, omit the honey. Sprinkle generous amount of Milo on top and keep refrigerated until dessert time.