Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Desire



This cake consists of a layer of moist chocolate cake, a thin layer of dark chocolate mousse, a disk of jasmine flavored creme brulee, another layer of chocolate mousse, and chocolate glaze. I gave this name "Desire" after visiting Jinpatisserie website and there's a cake similar to this but with vanilla instead of jasmine creme brulee (other than the fact that it looks ten times better than mine). He called it Desire and I thought it's really appropriate for the cake. It's unique and interesting in a good way.

There's no special occasion for making this cake. It just happens that I have a box full of unused heavy cream that's almost expired. It's a pain to waste such a precious ingredient, so I used it to make one of the "to-experiment" cakes, that's been on my list for quite a while.

I've always wanted to use jasmine in cake, but somehow I was too afraid or too confused with the flavor combination that will pair up well with jasmine. This time, I decided to pair it up with chocolate mousse.

Overall, I'm not quite satisfied with the look (obviously, judging from the picture). The chocolate glaze wasn't thick enough to pour and hence, the cake is not as smooth as I wanted to be. This cake wasn't planned to be well-decorated. I just don't want to spend hours of my time dealing with chocolate, but I managed to get some leftover choc. decoration from previous cakes, and put them on the cake, so that it won't be too plain.

Tastewise, I was a little skeptical at first that the jasmine flavor would be over-powered by chocolate, but it wasn't. The taste of jasmine was pretty pronounced and I think jasmine and chocolate are great together. Next time, I might experiment with other combination that goes together with jasmine.
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mini JCC (Part II)


The same thing I made two days ago. This time, I made a couple of 4-in and one 6-in. The 6-in is for my neighbor who was kindly letting me taking her red roses from her garden, when I was desperate to find one to decorate this cake.

I was actually going to decorate some of them differently, using fresh cream and chocolate shavings, also some whipped chocolate ganache, but I was too busy thinking how to put the berries on the top of the cake. As soon as I remember about that, I had no more cake to decorate.

Again, nothing fancy, just a simple cake topped with slightly tart apricot glaze and the crisp, clean and fresh taste of fruits and berries.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ispahan Cake (recreated)


I made this Ispahan cake for one of my close friends' birthday yesterday. He requested anything but chocolate cake. Fine with me. As I mentioned befre on my previous post, Ispahan is a type of rose. The cake however, was first created by a renowned French pastry chef, Pierre Herme. He's like the master of the masters in pastry. He was first created the combination of rose, raspberry, and lychee (which he named Ispahan) in a macaroon form, and after that, this combination is seen in almost every patisserie in Paris. Pierre never seems to get bored or tired to create more desserts with this combo. In fact, he seems to be excited about it. His Ispahan line includes ispahan cheesecake, ispahan saint honore, ispahan macaron, etc.

It took me quite a while to decide what cake I wanted to make. There are a couple of flavor combinations that came up in my mind. One was a cake with pistachio buttercream and some kind of vanilla bavarian cream maybe, and chopped pistachio for texture. Another one was charlotte aux poire that I've been dying to make for a long time but never come to realization due to the expensive cost of pear eau de vie ($40 for 375ml. Any donation would be greatly appreciated :) ). The last cake that I was thinking to make is jasmine flavored creme brulee, jasmine flavored cream, and chocolate mousse. I can't think of any other flavor that can pair up with jasmine other than chocolate. So, that option was eliminated since chocolate is present.

Until the last minute, I decided not to make all those three (what a waste of time for all that brainstorming time). I really didn't have time for experimentation. So, I went ahead and played it safe with something that I've made before that he'd never tasted.

I made Ispahan cake twice in here and here. Both had good reviews. The cake consists of sponge cake, rose flavored mascarpone mousse, fresh raspberries and lychees, and raspberry glaze. For this cake, I used a softer sponge type cake instead of genoise that I used the first time. I modified the filling a little, as well as the decorations. I also tried to make wood grain pattern on the chocolate sheet. I bought the tool a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't wait to use it. I think it looks anything but wood grain pattern. I read all the instruction, but I still couldn't figure out how it works. I'll practice more next time until I get the hang of it.

Actually, I didn't eat the cake the first two times that I made it. Yesterday was my first time eating the whole cake all together. Usually, I just taste each component. The cake yesterday was a bit on the sweet side for my taste. I should reduce the amount of syrup next time.



I liked the appearance of the cake a lot, especially with the deep red color. With the flavor combination, I think it only make sense to use rose petals and raspberry for the decoration. So, in the morning, I had to hunt some red roses around my neighborhood and finally fine one house that has it. I didn't steal it by the way in case you're curious, I asked nicely to the owner.
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Mini Japanese Cheesecake (JCC - Part 1)

I've been wanting to make something for my co-workers at work. I used to bring something at work quite often, but not for the past couple of months. Besides, most people in my team that I'm working closely with are new, so I would like to give them something as a nice gesture.

I immediately thought of JCC. It's simple, yet still looks fancy, especially if you decorate it with fresh fruits. Besides, I just bought a couple of mini 4-in springform pan and I couldn't wait to use it. So, yesterday was my first time using it. I loved everything about small desserts. Somehow they just look better and more inviting. The only thing I hate about them is the washing part. Instead of washing one bottom and the side part, I had to repeat it seven times and it wasn't very fun. But, after seeing the cute little cheesecake, although I still hate the washing part, I think they're worth it.

I gave two of them to my friends, two for each my nephew and my niece (can you believe that they can finish it by themselves??!!! and they're only 2.5 and 5 years old), and the rest for my co-workers.
I had to buy a couple of different fruits just for these and I still have lots of leftover at home. I was thinking of making another set of theseto give to some other people too.

Here are the close looks for some of them



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Choco-Banana Muffins

It's been a long time I haven't made these muffins. These muffins were (and still are) one of the favorites among many of my friends and family. One of my friends even requested it for her birthday present last year :). It's so easy to put together, doesn't require a mixer, it's very moist and fragrant.

I don't normally eat plain bananas, but I really like them on a cake or any kinds of desserts. Besides, I don't eat muffins that much, except for these.

Although the title is choco-banana muffins, I also mix some of them with shredded cheese and some of them with the three combinations.
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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pandan Chiffon Cake

This is the first time I post this chiffon cake here although I've been making it at least a million times before. Lately, I got tired of all the mousse type cakes, or any of those cakes that has multiple layers of fillings and take up the whole day or even more to finish. I just wanted a simple cake that I can enjoy for snack or breakfast (although I don't normally eat breakfast).

Don't be fooled by the size of the cake. Sure it's huge. It's a 10-in chiffon cake with approximately 4 inches in height, but it's as light as air. It almost feels like you don't eat anything (makes you feel less guilty this way). And I absolutely love the green color.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mille-Feuille aux Fraise

Still in strawberry madness, I also made this mille-feuille aux Fraise, or what we're familiar with strawberry napoleon.


I've always wanted to make mille-feuille. It's a dessert that you really can't eat it cleanly. It's gonna be messy however you try to eat it. The combination between the crunchy pastry, creamy and the fragrant flavor from the vanilla bean seeds, and fresh strawberries is just satisfying.

I used store-bought puff pastry for this dessert. I have to admit that I've never attempted to make my own puff pastry. It's just sounds too complicated and impossible to do at home. Well, maybe not impossible but it takes a very long time and a lot of patience to make it. So, since I don't deal with this pastry too often, I'd rather buy it for now. Some people say that after you made it, you would never go back to the store-bought puff pastry. I would definitely try it someday when I have large counterspace in my own kitchen :).

I don't have a recipe for this since I'm using store bought puff pastry, just thaw, cut, bake, and slice. The filling is from the tart leftover, and lots of slices of strawberries in the middle. This dessert has to be eaten immediately though, within a couple of hours, the sooner, the better. The pastry would collect all the moisture from the cream and won't be crisp anymore.

This is my last entry for the Strawberry Seduction

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Strawberry Tart (Tarte aux Fraise)

Strawberries were on sale the other day when I went to grocery store and it was the last day of the sale. I just couldn't help picking two boxes full of ripe strawberries. Although I'm never a fan of strawberries from grocery store, I couldn't resist at that time.


I didn't have any plan to make anything really, but since these strawberries were too pretty to go to waste, I had to make use of them somehow. So here's what I made today, strawberry tart. I used pate brisee for the crust, or what we often heard of sweet short pastry, but you can also use pate sucre (or sweet cookie crust dough). I brushed the inside of the tart with melted chocolate to prevent the moisture from the cream to soak in the pastry crust and make it soggy. While you can use any fillings you can imagine (think of creme chantily, lemon/orange curd, pastry cream, etc.), I'm using cream diplomat for this tart. It is basically pastry cream that's lightened with whipped cream. This is the cream of my choice when it comest to any kinds of fruit tarts. It's not as stiff as pastry cream and not as light as whipped cream.

Strawberry Tart

For the pastry
Modified from this recipe
Enough to make two 8-in round tart shell

250g flour
pinch of kosher salt
125g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
25g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
50ml ice-cold water
  • Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
  • Using your fingertips or pastry cutter or better yet, food processor, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse oatmeal.
  • Mix the egg yolk and water together and pour over the flour mixture.Gently knead until it all comes together.
  • Divide the dough in half and flattened into a ball.
  • Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 mins-1 hr.
  • Remove from the fridge and roll out one dough to fit the desired tart pan.
  • Put it back in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prick the dough with fork.
  • Blind bake the tart shell for about 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the pan) until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.
Filling
Cream of your choice:
  • 1 cup heavy cream sweetened with some sugar with or without any flavorings
  • pastry cream
  • creme diplomat
  • lemon curd
I can't really give a recipe for my tart filling because I don't know the correct amount for the size of the tart. The cream I made yield a lot more than enough for this tart. Use any of your favorite recipe. You can even omit the filling and just stacked the strawberries drizzled with some melted chocolate. The highlight of this dessert is the bright and fresh flavor of the strawberries. The most important thing is to make sure you use ripe strawberries.

This is also my other post for the Strawberry Seduction hosted by Mike.

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I also made the mini version of the tart

I was out of strawberries, so each tart only has one slice :P. I know it would be better if there are more fruits or color, but this should be just fine. This would be great for a dessert in a large party or as petit four or as a party snack.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rouleau Chocolat au Banane


I've been wanting to make this rouleau after reading this post. Chocolate and banana are classic combination. I forgot that I used to love eating anything with this combination when I was a kid. Whether it's a choco-banana bun, on a toast, or better yet, in a crepe, I love it all.

I had some leftover chocolate cream filling after making the choc. tiramisu cake. So I thought. hey why not make this chocobanana roll cake. Besides, I had some almost-over-rippen bananas that I bought specially just to make this roll cake, but never got to do it. So, no more excuses.

I played around with a cotton cake recipe that I had. Replacing some of the flour with both regular and Dutch-processed cocoa powder (for the color), adjust the amount of sugar and the egg, and also the other amount so that it would fit the roll cake pan. It was a little too thin, but nothing important.

I piped some of the filling on the top but I think it melted a little because I left it at room temperature for quite a while (I was busy doing something else and forgot). I sprinkled some cocoa powder on top and sliced some bananas and brushed it with neutral glaze.

Of course it's nothing compared to the one in the picture that I was inspired with. I should have cut it an smaller size to make it prettier, but I was too tired doing all the clean up that I didn't even bother with the appearance too much.

My friends said it was really good. I only got to taste the scraps that was left at home :(. I will definitely make this again some time with prettier look, and better cotton cake. I'm dying to make some other rouleau (inspired from the same blog too) and hopefully, I'll have enough time to really do it all.
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Chocolate Tiramisu Cake (Part II)

Remember this cake I made as an experiment for a request from a friend? It turned out that she and her husband liked it so much that they decided to go with this cake for her husband's birthday today. I thought the chocolate and the rum were too strong, but they loved it. They even like the 75% dark chocolate I used for the decoration!!! They're indeed a true chocolate lovers.

So, here is the cake for the birthday dinner tonight. She requested the sides to be decorated the same way as the one before, with a chocolate plate saying "happy birthday", and two red cherries.
But, I really thought it would be better with strawberries instead of cherries, since I have some beautiful red strawberries available in my fridge. I was actually planning to put some chocolate decoration on it, but I just had no time.

Psstt... to be honest, I changed the recipe a bit. I know they liked the cake the way it was, but I just couldn't help it. I reduced the amount of chocolate in the filling slightly so that I can taste the wonderful taste of the mascarpone and also made some minor changes. I really think the changes I make, made it a lot better, at least for my taste, but let's cross our fingers and wish that they would love it as much as the one before or maybe more (well, I can only wish :))
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Raspberry Mousse Cake

This is what I did with the leftover raspberry mousse from the previous cake. Nothing fancy here for the decoration, just some clear glaze that I recently made for the first time instead of using the ready-made neutral glaze, and a raspberry on top. I turned out that it was pretty easy making the glaze. I just had to re-heat, and re-cool the glaze to get the right consistency.
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Mango and Raspberry Mousse Cake

It was one of my brother's birthday last sunday and we decided to have a small dinner with some family members. It didn't take me too long to decide what cake I wanted to make. I quickly decided to make mango and raspberry mousse cake. I bought some Alphonso mango pulp a couple of weeks ago at an Indian store and the guy told me that Alphonso mango is very expensive in India. It costs about $4 each. Although the pulp was a little on the pricey side compared to the other type of mango (I forgot the name), I bought it anyway.

I've never tried mango and raspberry combination but I think it would be great. Besides, I really think that the color combination between pink raspberry and bright yellow mango would be very pretty, don't you think?


The morning I was planning to make the cake (I baked the cake base the day before), I was stucked with what recipe I will use. I read a lot of recipes for raspberry mousse from my cookbooks, internet, blogs, and yet I couldn't decide which one that I want. Same thing happen with the mango mousse. I made mango mousse cake once before, a long time ago (in fact, it was the first birthday cake I've ever made) and it was pretty good, but I forgot the quantity I used for that.

Long story short, I had to repeat the raspberry mousse three times and two times for the mango mousse, to get what I wanted. By the way, I didn't use any recipe that I read earlier. I ended up approximating the amount of raspberries/mango, gelatin, sugar, cream, etc. myself. That is why I had to repeat it so many times. I threw away the first raspberry mousse. The second attempt was already completely assembled, but somehow, I wasn't satisfied enough. I thought the raspberry layer was too thick. So, as crazy as I would get sometimes, I decided to make the whole thing all over again. I baked the cake base and start from the beginning for the rasp. and mango mousse. The third one was better. So, what did I do with the first completely assembled cake? I called my friend and asked him to pick it up :).

I decorated it with some fresh berries and mango. The glaze on top of the cake was also flavored with mango pulp. For the sides, I brushed some melted chocolate on an acetate strip using a paint brush and wrap it around the cake. When the chocolate is set, peel off the acetate sheet, then wrap a chcooalte ribbon around the base to cover some imperfection.

Everybody liked the cake (I think). I was pretty happy with the result, tastewise and appearance-wise. I love the bright yellow color of the mango. This is the kind of cake I would choose if I were to buy a cake from a pastry shop. The amount of gelatin I put was just right. The mousse was still soft, and yet still strong enough to hold it's shape. The only thing I would change next time would probably adding a tad more raspberry pulp. Everything about this cake really shouts summer. I just wish that I had better lighting when I took the picture to show you how pretty the color is. It's a little dark on the pictures above. Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to capture the cross section view of the cake, so you can't really see the raspberry mousse that's hidden inside the cake. I can tell you that the color was very pretty though.
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