Monday, January 21, 2008

Classic Indonesian Cheese Cake (Again)

Another cheese cake it is. It turns out that my friends who enjoyed the previous cheese cake that I made, liked it so much that they want another one. I'm really really happy that they liked it :D.
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Classic Indonesian Cheesecake


I got this cake request last minute for a friend's birthday, just two days before the birthday. Although I was super busy at work and taking care of school stuff, I just couldn't say no (this is one of my weaknesses). Luckily, the cake she wanta was not the kind of cake that requires multiple layers of fillings, but instead, just a standard indonesian sponge cake with vanilla buttercream and cheese filling. This must be at least the fourth or fifth indonesian cheesecake I post in this blog. Although I only made it one for myself, it seems like this is the most popular cake among my friends.

It turned out that although I'm always busy at work, that week or especially those two days were unusually busy. I got to come home at least 10 o'clock at night and went to work as early as I can. I set my alarm at 6 o'clock in the morning so that I would have time to make the cake before I go to work.

I had to make two batches of buttercream because the amount that I made the first time wasn't enough to cover the whole cake. Also, I have to mention that working with buttercream in a cold weather is not easy. The buttercream is not spreadable at all. It was as if the were just out from the fridge. I warmed the bowl for the second batch and it made it better and easier to spread afterwards.

The original plan was that the cake will be covered with shredded cheese, but whenI was about to decorate it, I thought it was kind of plain, especially for a birthday. If it was just for personal consumption, then it would be okay. So I tried to make some decorations for the side using white and dark chocolate. I have never liked working with chocolate for a lot of reason, but I always admire something that's well-decorated with chocolate decorations. It just looks professional. I didn't say that mine look professional. In fact, it's a far cry from professional, but at least I tried despite the fact that I don't like to go through the hassle of chopping, melting, molding, crafting the chocolate. Not to mention that the tools, the bowls and all the equipments are pain to wash. Someday, I'm planning to take chocolate decorating class in a college here in Santa Clara when I have a spare time.

Back to the cake, I was also planning to decorate the top with buttercream swirls and red cherry on top, but I forgot and have used up all of the buttercream. So I just used some royal icing butterflies that I have left from previous cake. Although, the colors of the butterflies don't really go together with the cake as a whole, but at least they give some touch.

I'm not sure if you know this (or don't want to know), but it's always an honor for me if someone wanted me to make a cake for them, even if it's just for snack, special occasion, or anything at all. So far, as busy as I can get, I have never said no to them, I just can't. Oh well, maybe once, but it was because it's impossible to do. The only time I said no was when I was asked to make a birthday cake for the same day as she called. It was still work hours and I won't get home until 8 o'clock at night and the cake was for 10 o'clock. So, I have good reason.

Anyways, from what I heard, the cake was a hit, everybody loved it, especially the birthday girl. Pheeewww, it's like everything that I did, every sacrifice that I made (if any) to make this cake was paid off.
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Monday, January 7, 2008

Mocha Chiffon Cake


Last weekend, I was looking for something that's easy and fast to make. I have a long list of "to-make" list for my own experimentation, but they're all the type of cakes that have multiple layers of fillings and take a long time to make. So, I decided to make a mocha chiffon cake instead. I usually made the pandan version, but got tired of the green stuff lately.

I made mocha chiffon cake a couple times before (for cake orders), but never got the chance to photograph it. Usually, I would just sprinkle it with cocoa powder, but this time, I wanted to take a simple cake to another level by decorating it. Besides, there were potluck party for friends gathering on Sunday, so this is the perfect occasion.

This mocha chiffon cake was decorated with mocha whipped cream, chocolate wafer sticks, and some chocolate sticks decoration that I made using just melted dark chocolate and piped it into a tiny sticks.

I had some leftover whipping cream that's almost expired. So, I put it in the freezer just so that it won't go to waste. I read somewhere that you can freeze whipping cream and just thaw it in the fridge and use it as usual. this is the time to see if it's true. It turned out that whipping cream that has been frozen before, won't have as much volume as the fresh one. Also, it takes a really long time for the cream to start thicken up. I thought it would never stiffen, but then after about 10 minutes whipping on high speed, it started to thicken a little. The texture also wasn't as smooth as the fresh one. So, my conclusion is that I would never freeze whipping cream anymore, at least not for whipping. I think it will still be good to be used for ganache, or for addition to pastry cream, or anything that doesn't require whipping or air.
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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Black Forest Pudding


I had some leftover chocolate pudding that I put in a mini mold and also some leftover whipped cream that's too good to be wasted. So, I combined the two together and put a red cherry on top. It turns out REALLY REALLY GOOD!! Seriously, I might make this dessert again next time, not as a leftover. Chocolate is another flavor that's perfect with rum. My nephew even had third!! and he's a picky eater. The whipped cream here is the leftover whipped cream from Black Forest cake. It was flavored with "rum bakar" that I fell in love with the first time I used it.

It's not really a "Black Forest Pudding". I think BF Pudding should have two layers of chocolate pudding and black cherry inside, but hey, it's close enough, right?
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Chocolate and Vanilla Pudding with Rum-Coffee Creme Anglaise

I was invited to a friend's house on the Christmas Eve and decided to bring a desserts. Since I had a very limited time to make dessert, I decided to make a pudding instead. I also thought that cake would be waaay too heavyfor a dessert. I also made Rum-Coffee creme anglaise (not shown) to go along with this pudding. This is a very simple and humble dessert that always reminds me of home.

If you know me well enough from the desserts I made, you would find out by now that I love coffee and rum. I think that those two flavors are made for each other.

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Foret Noir (Black Forest) 2

I had 10-day christmas break last december and I was so excited to use those days to do some experiment on cakes that I've always wanted. I rarely have spare time to do some cake experimenting and I couldn't wait to get on it.

I've been wanting to create the ultimate black forest cake. I made two black forest cakes before and both were for a friend's birthday and they could have been better. I did some research on black forest cake before and there are different versions of this cake but they're all consists of 3 layers of chocolate sponge cake, 2 layers of fillings and topping (which is usually whipped cream) and decorated with chocolate shavings and red maraschino cherries. American BF usually has 2 layers of whipped cream with plain cherries. A lot of American bakeries would even use ready-made cherry pie filling. The French version seems to be a bit more complicated and sophisticated. It consists of 3 layers of chocolate sponge cakes, simple syrup that has been flavored with kirsch (cherry liqueur), brandy/kirsch soaked cherries and whipped cream/kirsch cream for the bottom layer, and chocolate mousse or chocolate whipped cream for the top layer. There are some people that would boiled the cherries and make compote out of it. The Indonesian version however, seems to be a little bit like both versions. It consists of chocolate sponge cake, rum simple syrup (instead of Kirsch), two layers of whipped cream and black cherries. A lot of people/bakeries would use buttercream instead of whipped cream since whipped cream can't stand in Indonesia hot and humid weather.

So, I tried to create my own recipe and think about what fillings would be best for BF cake. I also made the sponge cake using a recipe that I develop myself. It was Indonesian type sponge cake that uses a lot of egg yolks. I always avoid making American sponge cake or the French one (genoise) because the cake is way too dry even after being sokaed with syrup and it has rough texture. I have been trying out hundreds of different sponge cake recipes up to the point that I can now creating one (not modifying one). The cake consists of 3 layers of moist chocolate sponge cakes, rum simple syrup, brandied cherry compote, whipped cream, and also chocolate whipped cream for the top layer. I added "rum bakar" to the cake and to the cream that made the cake and the cream wonderfully flavored like rum without the taste of alcohol. It really made them taste like candy.

Enough said, so here it is. Need to work on how to make better chocolate shavings and the decorations though. Anyways, this goes to my permanent list of recipes and my long search for the ultimate Black Forest cake has ended :)



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