Category Archives: Cakes n’ Bakes

Durian Cake

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, especially since the arrival of my new baby, Madelyn Suria Si-Xuan Chiew on November 28, 2009. I’ve also been busy with my baby blog over at MommiRazzi.

When my parents were over in December, they bought some frozen Thai durians (Monthong) for my sisters and I. These are the de-seeded kind that are sold packaged in a plastic container. We did not get to eating them because we also bought the whole fruit kind that tasted much better. Since I had mushy de-seeded durians lying around in the freezer, I decided that it’s time to make my first ever durian cake.

I found a good but rather tedious recipe here, and I’ll copy the recipe on my blog for your reference with a few notes. I did not use a bundt pan, but I was able to fit the batter into two 8″ round pans. I baked them @ 300F deg for about 1 hour. The cake came out very good, and it had the consistency of pound cake. The taste of durian isn’t overwhelming but do warn the other people in the house of the heavenly “aroma” that will whiff through the house as you bake this cake!

Ingredients

(A)
250 gm unsalted butter,room temperature
300 gm sugar (if your durian is sweet use lesser sugar,maybe 200 gm)
4 eggs,room temperature

(B)
200 gm durian flesh,removed seeds (or get the frozen de-seeded kind)
1/2 cup 2 % milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp durian essence (I used vanilla extract instead)

(C)
200 gm self -raising flour,sifted (I used 200gm of all-purpose flour and added 2 tsp of baking powder instead)
100 gm cake flour,sifted
1 tbsp custard powder,sifted

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F  (You might find that you will need to bake at 300F for a longer duration instead if you are not using bundt pan) .Prepare a large or 12 cups non-stick bundt pan. (I used two 8″ round Wilton pans instead. I also used Wilton’s Cake Release on the pans).
  2. Combine ingredients(C) in a large bowl, sift and set aside.
  3. Combine ingredients (B) in blender or food processor, blend till well combine, set aside.
  4. Combine ingredients (A) in mixer except eggs at high speed till light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium when add eggs one at a time and cream well after each addition.
  5. Pour ingredients(B) into the mixer with (A) and whisk for 1 minute or until well combine, then add in (C), together into the mixture well for 30 seconds.
  6. Pour the cake batter into a greased pan,bake for 45-50 minutes (or longer if not using bundt pan) or adjust to your oven temperature,till golden brown. Test with a toothpick. When comes out clean, it’s ready.
  7. Remove cake from oven and then pan,leave it cool. Sprinkle with some icing sugar before cut into pieces and serve with tea or coffee as snack.
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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Aside from a few Chinese New Year baked goods, I’ve not made a lot of cookies in my life. Since Andy and I had been living on a shoestring budget, I have deprived him from buying things like cookies. I thought that I should make this phase of our lives a bit more enjoyable, so I had decided to whip up a batch of oatmeal cookies.

I found an easy recipe online from Joy of Baking, and after making sure that I have all the ingredients stocked up in the kitchen, I jumped right into making these yummy chewy cookies. These cookies can easily pass as breakfast if you ask me, LOL!

A few notes about the ingredients that I’ve used:

  • I always and only buy pure cane sugar. Dominos brand is cheap and easily available in the US. They make both white and brown sugar.
  • I always and only use unbleached flour. King Arthur is sold at Meijer in Michigan and they are not expensive.
  • I am an advocate of using organic products whenever feasible. Even though we are tightening our belts, we still buy organic milk and butter.
  • Get to know your oven. Every oven is different and it might take more or less time to bake your creations. If you can afford an oven thermometer, check to see if your oven temperature is accurate. It took me more like 25 mins to bake these cookies but I think that is also because I did not flatten them enough prior to putting them in the oven.
  • I used Quaker brand oats.
  • I used my hands to shape the dough into balls and then flatten them prior to baking. Wet hands first. Besides, when you are done shaping them, the mixture of oats, sugar and butter makes for great hand exfoliant!

And now it’s time for me to make vegetarian reubens (will post that later) and bring them to the riverside for a picnic on an exceptional beautiful day. Seriously, it is like 10C degrees above average and the sun seems to refuse to set.

Cooking Club – Gourmet Junk Food

This post is terribly late, but I’ve finally editted the pictures and here they are. My entry was Blackforest Twinkie Tiramisu, which was extremely easy to make. I’ll post the recipe when I get home. Jordana and Lisa wasn’t able to join us that night, and they have decided to put a hold on Cooking Club to concentrate on career/life. We will miss them! We now welcome Amarjot Gill, who is from Brampton and works at National Bank of Canada in Tecumseh with my hubby.

Here’s who made what…

  • Danielle – Caramel Candy Apple
  • Jillian – Maple Caramelized Poutine with Blue Cheese
  • Suzanne – Cherry Coke Chicken
  • Christine (me) – Blackforest Twinkie Tiramisu

Vegan Zucchini Brownies (I can bake again!!)

It has been a long time since I baked anything sweet in the oven. I am feeling 10 times better than 2 weeks ago prior to acupuncture and physiotherapy/rehab. I have gained a lot of my arm and physical strength back so it’s time for me to get back into action. We were given quite a bit of vegetables (potatos, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin) when we visited my sister at her marriage registration ceremony at her husband’s (Brad) parents place in Avon, Minnesotta. They own a large piece of land (about 50 acres I think) and his sister also owns a farm with cows, pigs and horses.

So like most people in North America at the end of the summer, we ask the question, “What to do with all those zucchini?”. I have used them for my everyday mundane stirfries and roasting them in the oven, but I have yet to make desserts with zucchini. Most people would never think to use vegetables in dessert but I have tried zucchini breads and brownies before and they are super moist. So, with all the strength, determination and excitement that I have mustered up, and checking that I have all the ingredients that the recipe called for, I whipped up these brownies in no time. I also get to use my Mexican vanilla that I bought in May for the first time. I’ve heard rave reviews about them!

It feels great to be baking and cooking again. I love feeling the creative juices and sense of order flowing through my body! Thanks again to those who stayed with me patiently through my whole ordeal. I am confident that with all the support that I am getting (despite my family being oceans away) that I will be doing just fine.

Oh yea I also get to go back to work next week! My left wrist is still not rotating fully so I’ll just have to make do at the computer with one hand for now 😛

This recipe is so easy, so do try to make some!

Dry Ingredients (A)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Wet Ingredients (B)

  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 cups peeled and grated zucchini

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F degree.
  2. Combine and sift dry ingredients (A) in a bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients (B) into (A) and mix well.
  4. Bake in an ungreased 9 x 13 inches pan at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 30 minutes. I used an 8X8 pan but it took longer because it was thicker.

Source: http://www.recipezaar.com/172138

Hummingbird Cake

Last week, I made this cake for my final Wilton Fondant and Gum Paste class. Here is the recipe as promised, with a few minor modifications. This cake smells heavenly while cooking in the oven (from the bananas), and texture-wise, I’ve been told that it’s similar to carrot cake. Manipulating the cream cheese frosting isn’t as easy as using buttercream. It was actually quite messy because it was drooping everywhere. But this worked out well for my unpretentious “baby shower-like” cake. I am planning to make this cake for my mom on Mother’s Day 🙂

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups chopped firm ripe banana

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together into mixing bowl several times.
  2. Add eggs and oil to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are moistened.
  3. Stir in vanilla, pineapple and 1 cup pecans. Stir in the bananas.
  4. Spoon the batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  5. *Bake for 25 to 30 minutes,or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. (see note)
  6. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. Cream Cheese Frosting:
    Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.
  8. *Frost the tops of all 3 layers, stack and then frost sides. Sprinkle top evenly with the 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans. (see note)

Source

Notes:

  • I baked the cake in a 8″X8″X2″ square pan in 2 separate batches. Each batch was about half the batter and it took close to 45 minutes to be done. The batter was still able to rise after it sat on the counter for 45 minutes (phew!!).
  • I then used a cake level to cut each of the layers to two, making it a 4 layer cake. BIG MISTAKE! there was so much stuff in the cake that it made a huge mess when I tried to cut the cake. Next time, I’ll just get another pan.
  • Use Wilton’s cake lifter to stack the cakes on top of each other so that the layers do not crumble in half in front of your eyes. THIS IS A HEAVY CAKE.
  • Because this was a decorated cake, I did not sprinkle the pecans on top per the instructions.  
  • Again, THIS IS A HEAVY CAKE! One layer of cake cardboard cake board was not able to hold the weight of this cake without caving in down the center. Use something sturdier than a piece of cardboard, or simply get 2 layers of cardboard.
  • The cream cheese frosting gets messy and droopy as you work with them. Putting them back into the fridge seems to help solidify the frosting.

Wilton Fondant and Gum Paste Final Cake

I cannot contain my excitement any longer, must post this before I go to bed 😛
This is my final cake for my Wilton cake deco class series. The baby booties were made using fondant & gum paste mix and I found a template online. This was not taught in class. I will share the instructions here  tomorrow. The green flowers were “modified” daisies, and they were meant to be mums. The cake is made from scratch this time, and it’s called Hummingbird cake.

This cake will be so darn cute for a baby shower or “full moon”!

Will also post full review of the Wilton classes on my blog in near future (this Saturday) 😀

Wilton Course 3: Tiered Cake – Brush Embroidery

 

This is the cake that I made tonight. I was supposed to make the flowers out of royal icing or buttercream but I was gone last weekend so the flowers will not be dry enough for cake assembly. The objective of the class was to learn how to tier the cake, so I did some research online for some designs.

Basically, I covered the cakes with fondant and the transferred the rose pattern onto the cake using piping gel. Then I piped buttercream on the gel and used a wet brush to paint the edges in. This is called brush embroidery technique. We learned this in our first class for Course 3. I’ve read that you should use royal icing instead, but my teacher taught us using buttercream. The only difference is that royal icing dries hard.

I used silk flowers between the tiers and used a ribbon to cover the imperfection of the fondant edge. I’m still having trouble getting the fondant to lay right at the edges. The ribbons were “glued” onto the cake by piping a line or a few dots of buttercream onto the cake. We’ll get to make beautiful flowers like these next week in the Fondant & Gum Paste class…

I love this cake so much, and the pink roses are the same that I’ve used at my wedding. I wish that this was my wedding cake instead 😛