Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Japanese Cheesecake with Green Tea Swirls



I didn't do much on Memorial Day weekend yesterday. M left to Korea for a business trip, and I went to work on Monday while everyone else was in the pool or BBQ enjoying the sun. I was planning on doing a lot of baking but I didn't do as much as I wanted too. In fact, I only made different components for this and that, but no finished dessert yet. My long-time friend came to visit from Indonesia so we hung out for quite a bit. He was here when I started my early baking life so he got to taste some of my first cakes. I am making some of them while he's here, along with some other desserts like lemon tart.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cake

It was one of my brother's birthday about a month ago.We didn't actually have any plan to celebrate it as his wife took him to a weekend getaway to Napa for his birthday.

The week after, the wife had a last-minute plan to have a gathering with LOTS of cajun-style shrimp among friends (there is this one place that we wanted to try) and a surprise celebration for my brother's birthday, which means that there had to be a cake. It was only two days before the gathering so I didn't have much time to make any fancy cake, not even to think about what cake to make.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Mango Glaze for A Birthday


Ah. whether has gotten so nice lately and I've also been baking up a storm in my kitchen. I am excited! I guess I should make use of this time as much as I can to bake as I don't think I can bake often enough (or at all) after the baby is born

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Making of A Wedding Cake


 I had the privileged to make a wedding cake for my friends' wedding, H and C about a month ago.  They asked me if I could make their wedding cake many months prior to the wedding, before I found out I was pregnant. Their request was pretty specific, they wanted a fondant-decorated dummy cake, and fancier cakes for the actual cake. The wife, C, had a specific cake in mind, that I would make my chocolate-hazelnut cake as one of them. I had made this cake countless time here and here and here (and many more not posted since it is the same cake) and each time, I changed it a bit. She wanted two kinds, so I suggested a fruity one. I came up with mango-passion and raspberry cake, similar to this cake, but with a bit of passion fruit added.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Meyer Lemon Tart with Candied Lemon and Peel

Spring is here! It came a month ago already but it seems like California got a late Winter this year. We had cold, rainy, and windy days last week, which is good since we are in severe drought. I even saw some snow on the top of the mountain on my way to work last week. I also saw rainbows, a few times! Despite being thankful for the rain, I have to say that I still LOVE the California sunny warm days, which what we have been getting the past few days after all that cold. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this time of the year, I open the windows all day, I try to have lunch outdoor, getting ice creams, it also makes me in the mood of baking!
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mango and Raspberry Entremet



Things have been busy lately, very busy. I am on my 2nd trimester and the nausea and vomiting are definitely much better, though it is coming back now and then. My belly is growing fast too! Having some of the energy back, puts me in the mood of baking. Nevertheless, I baked a lot since the last time I posted. I had wedding cake to make, bridal shower, multiple birthday cakes, wedding anniversary cake, and other simple cakes for snacks.

I went through my cake folder today and I didn't realize how many cakes I made that I had forgotten! Which means, they didn't appear on the blog either. I spent some time to sort them through for blog posts, so you will see some of my old cake pictures (by old, I mean about 1 year ago).

This one cake was one of them, maybe about 6 months back or so. I made this cake for my friend, D (her real name starts with A but we call her D). Her boyfriend had booked my time to make a cake for her way in advance just to make sure that my schedule was still empty at that time. He requested a very simple cake, a nostalgic Indonesian Cheese Cake, which was not a problem at all for me because I could make it in no time. No need a few nights of making different components and many refrigerating times between each layer.
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Exotic Orange Cake

 First off, Happy Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, I didn't bake or cook anything as much as I wanted to. We just had dinner at Sweet Tomatoes with my brothers' and their family. DH surprised me with flowers though (and a dozen donut later on though this is not a surprise). It might be normal for others, but not for him. He is not the romantic kind usually, so I was surprised.

I had a lot of plans, a lot. But very few goes to reality lately.

Take this for example. We were planing to go back to M's family place in Louisiana. We made plans, booked our flights, bought this and that, planned to visit my sister and her husband as well. Eeverything seems to fall into place, until the two days before the departure date. I felt so sick to the point the I couldn't move from bed. Then I found out that it was because I am pregnant! I felt worse and worse and had to cancel the flight hours before the departure time. Thank God for understanding hubby. Poor him, trying to take care of me and everything else. He made his own quesadillas, made me instant noodle for the first time (not that I could eat), trying to encourage me when I cried, and all that. This happened for 6 weeks. I was finally able to start going to work two weeks ago and hopefully, things will get better from here.

So there you go, we spent Christmas at home, we celebrated my birthday (in January), very low key. No cakes or foods have come out from my kitchen (except one last week), but I will post the cakes I made before all this happened.

This cake was for my nephew's birthday from last September. I had bookmarked this recipe for a long time when I was looking for a cake which has a combination of orange and caramel. This came about a few months before, where I was making either a caramel creme brulee or salted caramel ice cream or something, and someone cut up some oranges next to me. The smell of both of them together were so good and I could not believe that I didn't think of that combination before. Well, I actually know why, it's because I don't generally like orange-flavored cake. So I started to browse if people had made this combination before and this recipe came up. I read the whole forum. And though I didn't find many pictures online, the forum convinced me enough and the fact that it has mango and passion fruit, it's a go.
My nephew's birthday was the perfect time to try this, since the cake will be consumed by my family only (they are usually the toughest critics). Many people said that the orange flavor was very subtle and that it could use a stronger one. So following the suggestion, I rubbed the orange zest with the sugar to release all the oil from the zest, just like how I make lemon tarts. This is where all the flavor comes from. They also said that the recipe doesn't make enough of the orange bavarian cream, but I followed the recipe anyway and it turned out fine, as long as you are using the correct size for your cake. I didn't have any leftover at all, but I prefer it this way. I hate when I had to waste anything.
This cake requires a bit of assembly (the forum explains this) to get the top of the cake hollowed so that you can pour the mango passion jelly on top. I followed the suggestion on how-to and although I had some difficulty removing the "prop", it turned out fine. I only made half of the jelly recipe as I think from the photo, the jelly layer is way too thick. I still think it is a bit too thick. I used more mango puree than specified, just because passionfruit is very sour and strong. It still turned out more on the tart side that I would have liked for my taste. Some of my family who dislike sour, it was too sour for them, but the other half of my family who loves lemon-flavored anything, they loved it.
Overall, it was a success although I want to tweak it next time to suit more to my liking. By itself, the orange bavarian cream is not strong at all. In fact, I was afraid that after combining everything that the orange taste is going to get lost among the other strong flavors, but it wasn't. Since the orange cream is the major components of the cake, it definitely tastes like an orange. A bit too much for me who doesn't normally like orange cake, so I will cut down a bit next time, leaving just a subtle flavor.
The mango passion jelly was still on the sour side, so I will add more of the mango puree and less passion fruit next time. I love the way it looks though and I love that this cake is different than any other cakes I made. Definitely a positive variation.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kids' Birthday and Welcoming Fall

I don't know where the time has gone, but it has been flying by so fast. I think the birthday season for my family just ended. It started in July (right after I got back from honeymoon) and continued to October. You see, I have two brothers and their family living nearby and that includes five nieces and nephews. All of their birthdays, their parents, their grandma, and DH's birthday are one after the other. That is seven birthdays in about two and half months!!! I've been baking up a storm and I will post them one by one, but here's a glimpse of our changing season.

Some people get really excited that Fall/Winter is coming, especially those who live in Texas because they can now get a crisp weather, but not me. I love the warm 75F weather and crisp morning everyday in California and not looking forward to have to wear jacket all the time. But I have to admit that I love seeing the change of feeling that comes with it. Pumpkins are everywhere! All different sizes and shape, colors, it is exciting. The leaves are turning from green to yellow, then red, it is pretty!
Anyways, with mostly kids birthday, I don't have many exciting cake story to tell because some of them are very similar cake, just different shape. It is funny how excited kids are over a custom-shaped birthday cake. So even when some of them might be similar cake underneath, it still never failed to impress them.
Here's a combined birthday for my nieces from early August, V and Z, they are the cutest!! The inside is blueberry sponge cake filled with cream cheese buttercream and blueberry preserve. I got the blueberry paste and preserve from my previous Indonesia trip and they smell (and taste) like candy! The theme was ship, ocean, under the sea creatures and such. I got the inspiration of the colorful waves online (I didn't save the link :( ) and I think it is very suitable for kids as they are very colorful. DH made the figurines, and although they looked a little "chubby", I think he was really creative by using the cocktail umbrella, I thought he was a genius for coming up with such an idea!
We saved the top tier for a second birthday dinner with family only.
The next birthday was Tobias' birthday. I made a cake for him every year (and for my other nieces and nephews too). He is super obsessed with cars (after Thomas the Tank Engine craze last year). His current favorites are lightning McQueen and Chick Hicks car. We decided to make the lightning mcQueen car because it is more popular, easier to decorate, and this was the original plan before he got obsessed with chick hicks a week before. As usual, DH was in charge of the carving and decorating it, he enjoys doing it and I think he is really good at it! Maybe one day we can team up and open up our custom cake bakery, haha. I was in charge of making the base cake, coloring the fondant, and drape the fondant over the cake, then it was all his.
It took us the whole weekend to do this, we were so dead tired by the end, but after seeing the birthday boy excitement over it, it was worth it. He was literally running when he got home to see the cake. The inside of the cake is "lapis surabaya" (Indonesian vanilla and chocolate cake alternating, made only/mostly with egg yolks and butter) with blueberry preserve and shredded Indonesian cheese (a classic favorite). I need to find an alternative cake for carving maybe soon or else we will all be gaining weight during this kids birthday month considering the amount of egg yolks and butter that goes into it.  Oh well, soon enough, they will be big and hopefully get over the children cakes and start appreciating French pastries :).

I have made a lot of cakes lately too and I finally made my first pumpkin pie! I will blog about it soon.
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Back to Blogging and Classic New York Style Cheesecake

Yup! Another very long break for me after almost five months of not updating this blog, but for a good reason.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Long Break and Fermented Cassava Balls

As you have probably noticed, I have not been updating this blog for about four months! I couldn't believe it has been that long. Many things had happened since I wrote my last post and life couldn't be busier. It doesn't seem to slow down anytime soon.
Well, as a start, I got engaged! We got engaged mid January after coming back from vacation. With M being in Korea for business trip most of the time, it is really hard to plan. We are planning to wed this July in Bali, mostly due to practical reason since my family is there and we are having a reunion too for my family at that time, but Bali is also very pretty! Other than my wedding, I am also planning my parents' 50th wedding anniversary just two weeks before my wedding. Crazy!

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