Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another JCC Effort

I have bought a huge block of Cream Cheese from Costco (I love Costco!) and I still have a lot leftover since the last JCC. I decided to make a BIG 9-3/4" JCC for a friend's birthday cake. :)

I made this cake using a springform pan and I baked it in a water bath. The last time I made this, I simply put the springform in the waterbath and bake. However, this time I encountered some problems. When I took the cake out of the water bath (still in the springform pan), I notice that some water has seeped into the springform pan causing the bottom part of the JCC to be a little soggy. I was worried that this may affect the cake. I really don't know how it affected the taste since I didn't get to try any of the cake and I didn't really hear back from the people who ate them. :p Maybe it's because the cake wasn't too good. -_-

Anyways, I consulted with a baker friend about this and she suggested that I wrapped my springform pan with foil before I put it in the waterbath to make sure that no water seeped in. So I went ahead and followed her advice in my next JCC, which is a Green Tea JCC.

The Long Story Chiffon

For our girl's bible study group, someone requested that I made the Cheese Chiffon Cake. I was very excited to make the cake because I just went hunting for the Indonesian Kraft Cheese and found them!

At first everything went smoothly. I pre-heated the oven, I worked the batter, poured it to the pan, and then put it in the oven. I turned the timer on for 30 minutes and then waited. After about 20 minutes, I took a peek at the oven to see how my cake is doing and strangely, the batter didn't rise at all, which is very unusual. I started to trace back my steps to see if I had done anything wrong to cause this, but I couldn't think of anything. So after 30 minutes, I checked on it again and the batter still looks the same from 10 minutes ago. It didn't rise and nor was it brown at the top. This is VERY strange because even if the batter didn't inflate, the cake would've been baked. Then I noticed... the oven was turned OFF! *GASP!!*

I panicked and I felt really upset. I thought my cake would be ruined! All those eggs gone to waste! But in the spirit of not giving up, I turned the oven back on and put another 30 minutes on the oven. I checked on my cake every now and then. The batter started to inflate and the top started to brown. I used a skewer to check if the cake has been thoroughly baked after 30 minutes, and then I took it out.

It turns out that the cake was just fine. The taste and the texture of the cake was like normal. I was very surprised myself. :) Here is a picture of it after we ate some at the small group meeting.

Strawberry Mousse Cake

This is truly a lesson learnt on strawberries. It started with my intent on making a Strawberry Shortcake. I went to Costco and saw gorgeous fresh strawberries at a VERY reasonable price. My eyes opened wide and my heart beat a little faster... I went ahead and picked the best box I could find and bought it. I wanted to keep it for a long time and so I put it in the freezer. *gasp*

Yes... I know... it was a TOTAL mistake. It turns out that whenever you freeze strawberries, the texture of the fruit changes and it became mushy when thawed. My heart broke a little that night when I realized what I had just done to my strawberries. In an effort to salvage whatever is left of my strawberries, I made a Strawberry Mousse Cake.
Just so you know, at the same time I bought XL package of strawberries, I bought XL packages of blueberries and raspberries too at Costco. And yes, I messed up BIG time on those too. I have put some of those berries at the bottom of this cake as a "surprise" element to the cake. It turns out that the raspberries were sour. *_*
I brought this along with Donna's birthday and overall, they liked the mousse but not the sour raspberries. I learned my lesson alright. :0
Anyways, this cake was made of a layer of sponge cake brushed with raspberry flavored simple syrup, strawberries mousse, and a layer of strawberry juice. I think on this one I didn't put quite enough gelatin and so the mousse was more on the softer side. I had used 1 packet for 2 cups of strawberry puree. I think it's better to use 2 packets next time. The white chocolate wrap really compliments the strawberry mousse (at least that's what I thought). :p

Friday, August 29, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake

I thought a lot about what to bake for Donna's birthday. She told be before that she likes strawberry shortcake and so I thought of making her one. I did a lot of research on a lot of recipes. The original strawberry shortcake uses an actual shortcake, which has a scone-like texture. I found a recipe for it, but it would be hard to make a pretty decorations with it. Most of the current strawberry shortcake is made of sponge cakes. Since I really like my mom's sponge cake recipe, I decided to make the cake using that!

This cake is made of 2 layers of vanilla sponge cake brushed with simple syrup, lots of fresh strawberries, and apple chantilly cream on the inside and outside. I really like the apple chantilly cream. It has a very fresh smell and makes eating the cake more fun!

From the reactions that night, I think the cake was quite a success. :) And most of all, the birthday girl loved it too!

Mocha Chiffon Cake

As part of my chiffon madness, I made this Mocha Chiffon Cake. I've been wanting to make this for a while but I haven't settlted on how to make a good mocha flavor. I finally found a good chocolate and coffee extract! Yay! So here it is...

I made this cake for Ci Lia's birthday. :) Alvin helped me with sprinkling the cake with chocolate.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Black Forest Cake 2

My second cake order! Yayyy!! Thanks, Donna!

This is a Black Forest Cake. I made this one a little different than the one I made before. The cake consist of 3 layers of chocolate sponge cake brushed with rum simple syrup. The first filling layer consist of dark bing cherries in chocolate-rum chantilly cream. The second filling consist of dark bing cherries in rum chantilly cream. I also played around with the decorations. If you notice, the chocolate shavings on the cake has 2 different shades. The lighter one (inner circle) is made of milk chocolate while the darker one (outer loop) is made of dark chocolate.

I wrapped the cake in chocolate sheet. I think I did better here than previously although it is still not perfect. I also decorated it with my favorite ribbon. :)
Donna brought this cake to the office and she told me that by 9AM the cake is already running out. I was amazed and at the same time SUPER happy that people enjoyed the cake.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Shuo's favorite cake is Tiramisu, so naturally I would make her an extra large tiramisu cake (considering 40+ people are attending her party). My usual cakes are 8" round cakes and this time, I attempted to make a 9"x13" cake. I went back to the days to algebra and calculated the amount of batter I would need to use for the cake. And here it is!

The cake is made of 2 layers of vanilla sponge cake brushed with kahlua-coffee syrup, 2 layers of rum mascarpone cream, and dusted with cocoa powder. This is the first time I made a Tiramisu cake without a container. I usually made these in a pyrex pan and therefore I don't have to worry about the structure of the cake. So this time, I add some gelatine to the cream so that it is more stable. I think (based on the responses I got) it doesn't really affect the taste of the cake. I also lined the cake with ladyfingers to make a fortified wall and then wrap it with my favorite ribbon.

Shuo always scream "Cium! Cium!" in other people's birthday and so I thought I'd give her a scream as well on her birthday. *_^

I'm glad to hear that the bday girl enjoyed the cake even though I had to miss the party due to a music practice. >_<

Mango Mousse Cake

Mango is one of my favorite fruit and since it is in season, I thought of making a cake with mangoes. The first thing that came to mind was a mango mousse cake.

Here is a picture of the cake before it is decorated.

Here is a picture of the cake when decorated.

This cake consist of 3 layers: a sponge cake base, mango mousse, and mango jelly. The sponge cake base can be any kind of sponge cake you like.

For the mango mousse:
2 cups of fresh mango puree
1/4 cups of sugar
1 cup of whipped cream
1 1/2 packets of gelatin
1/4 cups of water

For the mango jelly:
1 cup of fresh mango puree
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cups of orange liquor (or water)
1 packet of gelatin

I have also used some lychees on top of the sponge cake as an element of "surprise" in the cake. I've used milk chocolate in my decorations. Here is a picture of the cake when cut.

Japanese Cheesecake

It looks like I'm in a mission to try different country's version of cheesecake, but I'm not. I so happen to come across a JCC recipe from Bertha's blog and I gave it a try. I made an 8" version and a mini 4" version since I just got a cute 4" springform pan.

I didn't have much fruit at home to make an elaborate decorations so I settled with the Kiwi-Grape combo. I thought that it looks nice even though it's simple. Here is a close up picture of the mini JCC.

I invited some friends to come over to "test drive" the cake and they liked it. In my opinion, the cake has a tad too much lemon. I think in my next JCC quest, I'll cut down on the amount of lemon zest I use.

Indonesian Cheesecake - Chiffon Style

My very first cake order! Yayyy!! I was super duper excited about this cake because this was the first time someone had ordered a cake from me. Jess had tried my cake at Andrew's farewell party and she liked it. :) Thanks, Jess!

This cake is based of my mom's chiffon cake recipe, which I have memorized by heart now. :) I have covered the cake with Indonesian Kraft cheese (very hard to find in Houston) and I have decorated it with some red cherries.

I like the overall look of the cake. It's rather simple, but at the same time it's quite pretty. I didn't get to try the cake as she brought it to CS. I hope she enjoyed it!


I've been wanting to make eclairs for a while. So when I saw the recipe on my CIA cookbook, I was excited! I ended up not using the recipe from the book but I followed the tips and advices. One of my favorite tip is to pipe the filling inside by creating an entrance hole in the choux using a chopstick. This way, I don't need to cut the choux in half and the presentation looks a lot neater as well. :)

For the filling, I have used diplomat cream, which is pastry cream mixed with whipped cream. The chocolate glaze I used in this recipe is from the CIA cookbook and it's really chocolate ganache. It's simply a mixture of heavy cream, corn syrup, and chocolates. The awesome thing about this glaze is that it stays shiny even though I refrigerate it.
This is also added to the favorite list by Alvin and some of my friends! ^_^

Andrew's Farewell

I know I wanted to make a chocolate cake because Andrew told me he likes chocolate. But I just don't know what kind of chocolate cake to make. Chocolate fudge cake? Devil's cake? Chocolate chiffon? I finally decided to make a chocolate rum cake with diplomat cream. I fell in love with the diplomat cream that I made for my eclairs. The texture is very light and fluffy!

This cake is made of 3 layers of moist chocolate sponge cake brushed with rum simple syrup, 2 layers of diplomat cream, and covered in chocolate ganache. I'm still learning on how to glaze with ganache. As you can see, the glaze is not very smooth. I will definitely try better next time.

I brought this cake along with a Indonesian cheesecake. I've received positive reactions for both cakes although there are divided opinion as to which cake my friends like most.

ps. Diplomat cream is pastry cream mixed with some whipped cream. The ratio I used is 2 cups of pastry cream to 1 cup of whipped cream.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Black Forest Cake

This cake is also courtesy of my mom. She has been baking Black Forest Cake to sell since she was in her teens. She even opened baking classes for the neighboring housewives. When I asked her for this recipe, she gave it to me saying "Enjoy, and let me know how it went!"

Of course, I did enjoy baking the cake! This one is made with 2 layers of chocolate sponge cake brushed with rum, filled with rum Chantilly cream and dark Bing cherries. I cover the whole cake with rum Chantilly cream. I like this cake because I don't have to be perfect in frosting my cake since it will be covered in chocolates.

I have wrapped the cake in chocolate and topped it with dark chocolate shavings. This is my first time playing with chocolate wrap and chocolate shavings. As you can see, it's rather messy. I'll do better next time. ^_^

Raspberry Sponge Cake

Natalia told me to post the recipes of my raspberry sponge cake in this blog. I thought about this and I think that this is a great idea.

This recipe is from Joy of Baking. Click here for original recipe.

Sponge Cake:
1/3 cup sifted cake flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Raspberry Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/2 cup lightly sweetened raspberry purée

Raspberry Puree:
1 - 12 ounce bags of frozen raspberries (unsweetened)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

For Sponge Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Butter, or spray with Pam, a 17 x 12 inch baking pan, line it with parchment paper, and then butter and flour the parchment paper.
  2. While eggs are still cold separate two of the eggs, placing the yolks in one large mixing bowl and the whites in another bowl. To the two yolks, add the additional yolk, and the two remaining eggs. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the sifted cake flour and cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. Once the eggs are at room temperature, place the egg yolks, along with 1/2 cup of granulated white sugar, in your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for five minutes, or until thick, pale yellow, and fluffy.
  5. At this point beat in the vanilla extract.
  6. Sift half the flour mixture over the egg yolk mixture and fold in gently with a rubber spatula, just until the flour is incorporated. Sift the remaining flour mixture into the batter and fold in.
  7. In a clean mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the remaining one tablespoon granulated white sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  8. Gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then add the rest of the whites folding just until incorporated.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evenly spreading the cake batter with an offset spatula or knife.
  10. Bake for about 7 minutes or until golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean and the cake, when lightly pressed, will spring back.
  11. Immediately upon removing the cake from the oven invert the sponge cake onto a clean dish towel that has been sprinkled with confectioners sugar. Carefully remove the parchment paper, sprinkle lightly with confectioners sugar, and roll up the sponge, with the towel, while it is still hot and pliable. Place on a wire rack to cool.

For Raspberry Puree:

  1. Thaw the unsweetened frozen raspberries in a large fine meshed strainer suspended over a large bowl.
  2. Once the berries have completely thawed, force the juice from the berries by gently pressing the berries with the back of a large spoon. All that should remain in the strainer is the raspberry seeds.
  3. Throw away the raspberry seeds and, to the strained juice, stir in the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of white sugar (add more if needed).
  4. The puree can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for up to a year.
For Raspberry Whipped Cream:
  1. In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. When chilled, beat the mixture until soft peaks form.
  3. Add the sweetened raspberry purée, a little at a time, and beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.
  4. Taste and fold in more sugar or puree, if needed.

To Assemble:

  1. Remove about 1/2 cup of the raspberry whipped cream to use as garnish.
  2. Then unroll the sponge, spread with the remaining whipped cream filling, and reroll.
  3. Transfer to your serving platter. Decorate as desired.
  4. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Just before serving, dust with confectioners sugar.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chiffon Cake Madness

My mom has this super wonderful chiffon cake recipe and she passed it on to me. I have made this cake a lot of times and everytime it is a delight watching the faces of my friends who ate the cakes. The cake has a very light, spongy texture and it's also very moist.

I've tried variations of the cake: orange chiffon, pandan chiffon, and indo-style cheese chiffon.

Durian Cream Puff

When I was still in San Jose, Alvin's sister bought me durian cream puffs from a Vietnamese bakery in South San Jose. I really like Durian and the thought of durian cream puffs just makes me smile. I gave it a try and here it is!

The choux is the same one I used in here. I used durian pastry cream for the filling. In making the filling, I discovered that adding fresh durian in the pastry cream require more cornstarch in order to maintain the same texture as the filling I used to make regular cream puff.

I made these for my birthday along with a raspberry mousse cake and a tiramisu cake. I didn't have pictures of them though since I was too busy being in the spotlight that time. :p Just kidding. The truth is, Alvin was holding the camera and he was busy attending to our guests (being a VERY good host) that he forgot to take pictures of the cakes.

Oh well... at least I took pictures of them with my eyes. :)

Mini Chocolate Mousse in White Chocolate Cups

I just bought a mini cups chocolate mold when I made this dessert. I've been wanting to make chocolate mousse for a while and I thought the color contrast between white chocolate and dark chocolate would be pretty. So I decided to make dark chocolate mousse with white chocolate cups.

When I tried to unmold the cups, some of them broke. I was sad about this but I also don't want to waste a good white chocolate. So, I ate the broken cups. (^_*)

I thought that the final products looked pretty cute. A petite dessert for a petite baker. :)

Kue Sus

When I first made choux pastry, it was for a cream puff recipe that uses sweetened whipped cream. When my friends tried them, they love the choux but they're not very fancy with the cream filling. Being Indonesians, they prefer pastry cream (a.k.a vla) instead. So I modified the recipe to make Kue Sus.

This choux is awesome because it has a crispy texture on the outside but soft in the inside. The best thing is that even though the choux is left outside or in the fridge for a few days, it's still pretty crispy on the outside. ^_^

This has been a favorite with my friends ever since!

Passion Fruit & Raspberry Mousse Cake

This is the first birthday cake that I made. I got a recipe from Food Network for a Passionfruit and Raspberry Mousse cake. I tailored the recipe a little since the original one is so large it's enough to make 4-5 cakes! Anyways, being such an ignorant novice in baking, I didn't put gelatine in the mousse. The result: a smoothie-like mousse! Despite the mess when cutting, the "cake" tasted pretty good. This is also my first time trying decorations with chocolates. I piped the letters in an acetate sheet and transfer it to the cake one letter at a time. :) I also played with the raspberries. I dipped them in dark chocolate and I also filled them with chocolate.

Forgotten Cakes

Since the raspberry sponge cakes I have made many others: chocolate sponge cake, chocolate fudge cake, mango sponge cake, carrot cake, and even chocolate chiffon cake with chocolate ganache. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of them to share here. I really regret it in hindsight, but I promise I won't forget any of them.

For those of you who had the chance to try these cakes, I hope you enjoyed them. All your comments and feedbacks are really appreciated.

It all starts in May 2008

I've always been fond of food and my mom has always been the role model for me. She cooks, bakes, sews, garden, and she can even fix the plumbing in our house. I thank her for this hobby of mine.

My baking frenzy started in May 2008 when I stumbled upon the Joy of Baking site that showed beautiful pictures of cakes, breads, and all kinds of baked goods. I started reading the recipes there and wondered if I can actually make something like that on my own. I started with a simple raspberry sponge cake recipe and it turns out pretty well. Stephanie wrote very clear instructions and explained the reasons behind the processes.

Here is a picture of the raspberry sponge cake I made.

Although this is not as pretty as Stephanie's, my friends liked the cake. This encourages me to explore further. And since I've been blessed through many baking blogs such as this and this, I thought I should also start my own blog.

I'm still very new at this and I still have a LOT to learn. I welcome your feedback and comments. Also, if you've tried some of my baking, let me know your feedback as well so that I can improve in the future. ^_^