Monday, August 31, 2009

Roti Boy

Before coming to San Jose, in addition to my sister's request for cakes, I also wanted to make something for my bff, Nana. She first said that she wanted to cocopandan chiffon cake, but after seeing pictures of the cream cheese buns, she changed her mind. :p

So I decided to make her 2 types of bread (just to be fair, since I brought my sis 2 cakes): the cream cheese buns and coffee buns, also known as roti boy among the Indonesian people. I have to admit that ever since I made those cream cheese buns, I've been in the mood for bread baking lately. This is still true despite the fact that my very first cream cheese buns tasted much better than the second and third ones that I made. I have yet to figure out why my dough have a tendency to crust during the proofing stage even though I've coated it lightly with butter. If anyone knows the answer, please... please... save me from my misery.

Anyways, on to the buns. I really liked how these turned out. The round shape and crust was just what I was looking for. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived in San Jose the appearance of the bread was destroyed. I had put them in Ziploc bags and apparently the bread sweat. The buns looked awfully wet and rather unappealing. I couldn't bring myself to even take a picture of the sweaty buns to show you all because it's really unsightly. Nonetheless, I think the taste is not that bad. :p

Once again, I used the same Japanese sweet bun dough recipe as the cream cheese buns but I didn't put any fillings on the bread and piped swirls of the coffee crust on top of the buns.

Here's the recipe for the coffee topping, adapted from Resep Dekap:

100 gr unsalted butter, at room temperature
70 gr powdered sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
15 gr powdered milk
100 gr bread flour
½ tsp vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and airy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Mix in the milk and flour to the butter mixture using a whisk just until well combined and then add in the vanilla extract. Pipe this topping batter on top of the buns after the second proofing before baking.

One thing I also found out from my dear friend Ella is that the original Roti Boy has butter as a filling. And it is best when eaten warm, because the butter just melts in your mouth. :)

I'll be sure to keep that in mind the next time I made another round of Roti boy.

Peach Mousse Cake with Strawberry Gelee

This one is the fruity cake that I made for my sister per her request (see her other cake request here). I saw Tartelette's post of strawberry and peach combo and I just fell in love with the idea. I took her recipes for the peach mousse and strawberry topping and made it into this layered cake. :)

The process began with making my mom's vanilla sponge cake, which has a soft texture with moist crumbs. This sponge cake is also not as sweet compared to the typical American sponge cake but I think it's perfect for this cake, because the subtle peach flavor will not overthrown by the cake. I then make the peach mousse followed by the strawberry gelee. For the mousse, I doubled the portion to make enough for an 8" cake. For the gelee, I took Tartelette's strawberry topping recipe and added an extra teaspoon of gelatin and then doubled the recipe.

Again, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a cross section view of the cake. :) I believe that this cake won my sister's vote for as the better cake among the two that I had brought her. :p

Overall, I had a wonderful time in San Jose. Even though the trip was very short, it was very sweet indeed. I get to spend time with my dearest sis, my awesome bff, my heartwarming sisters in Christ, and I was able to be a part of my dear friend's wedding.


"Reddish-Brown" Velvet Cake

Nahing reminded me that I haven't been making cakes lately and I realized that she's absolutely right! It's just been simple and easy baking this past couple of months - muffins, cookies, and pound cakes. I don't think that I've lost the appetite to make layer cakes but it's more that I haven't had a chance or a reason to make one. Although I have to admit, during my days of eager beaver baking I would bake layered cakes whether or not there's an occasion for it. Thankfully my sister asked me to make cakes for her as a souvenir from Texas when I went for a short visit to San Jose this past weekend. :)

Maria, my sister, had asked for two cakes: a chocolaty one and a fruity one. I kind of have a few ideas on the fruity cake (shown in later post) but I'm quite clueless on the chocolaty one. I don't know if I should make a true chocolate cake that's super rich and dense and moist or a cake with a twist of chocolate. After several days of brainstorming with myself, I finally decided to make Joy of Baking's Red Velvet Cake again with a slight twist. I had tried this recipe before and I loved the results. So this time, I recycled the recipe and added a few changes to it:

1. Instead of making cupcakes, I made one big cake
2. Instead of using buttermilk, I used sour cream

I actually liked how the cake turned out. Surprisingly, even though I omitted the red food coloring, the cake has a reddish hue to it. :) So I'm naming the cake the "reddish-brown" velvet cake. :p

I'm also very happy that I managed to get a good cross-section picture of the cake. I don't usually have the privilege of peeking inside the layers but this time, I made sure I had a thin sharp knife to cut the cake. I'm pretty pleased with how the layers are quite even. :)

I have to say that the hardest part of this cake is in transporting it from Houston to San Jose. The sides of the cake was quite damaged during the trip but luckily, the cake survived!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cream Cheese Buns

Alvin and I went on a date last week at Pappa's Steakhouse and I have to say, they have the best steak in Houston! In addition, they also have this awesome sourdough bread that they serve. Oh my! The bread was awesome! The crust was crunchy and the inside was super soft, moist, and feels so good in my mouth. I asked the waiter for the recipe but no luck there. :p

Anyways, after that bread encounter I became interested in bread making. I've made breads before but I haven't really developed this curiosity in breads before. So I came across a recipe for a cream cheese buns from Corner Cafe, which fits my needs (getting rid of 3lbs of cream cheese and making bread) perfectly!

I highly recommend this recipe to all! The bread was very soft and moist. The cream cheese filling and topping was awesome. And the bread taste best when it's just out of the oven. :) This bread got the thumbs up from Nicky and Hanshuo, Ci Lia and Ethan, and Alvin. It's so good that I had to make it again the following day. :p

I had some trouble trying to wrap the dough back after filling in the cream cheese so I had several unsuccessful looking bread (that taste yummy). Even during my second round of cream cheese buns, I didn't manage to get all the filling wrapped up nice and tight. Oh well... it just means that I have to keep on making these until I get the skills down. :p

Streusel Sour Cream Cupcakes

I had bought a huge 3lbs tub of sour cream at Costco thinking that I'll need it to make all the cheesecakes for the wedding but I didn't use any of it at all. So now I'm stuck with the sour cream (thank God that it has a few months of shelf life) and I need to use it up somehow. In my research for sour cream cakes, I found this recipe from Epicurious of sour cream coffee cakes in cupcake forms! :) And since I just bought some adorable polka dots cupcake liners, I'm sold on the recipes.
This is also my first time in making streusel. I guess I'm entering some uncharted territory for me. :p The recipe didn't specify the amount of streusel to put on the cupcakes and so I played around with it. Some of my cupcakes have a tiny bit of streusel and some are totally covered in it. I decided that I like them with lots of streusel. :)

The texture of this cake is soft and slightly crumbly. The crumbs are surprisingly very moist. I couldn't taste the sour cream while eating this cake but I did feel a little bit of tangy feeling when I bite into it. The streusel was also a delight! It's nice and crumbly and crunchy. The taste is more on the sweet side but the pecans gave it another side of taste. :p

Once more, the pictures are courtesy of Alvin. :) To take these pictures, he had to search for a place in my apartment with white lighting and the only place was the kitchen. So he lifted the coffee table to the kitchen, set the cupcakes up of the pictures, dragged one of my dining chairs, positioned himself well on the chair, and then took the pictures. :p The whole process was really fun to watch.

To end this post, I want to share this verse I received from a friend:

Jeremiah 17:7 - Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chewy Chunky Blondies

This week I have been driving back and forth to Galveston instead of staying at the hotel there. I really think I like this better because I can be at home baking and spending time with Alvin. :) This one is my Tuesday baking project: blondies.

When I told Alvin that I'm making blondies, he asked "What's blondies?"

So I told him that blondies are blond brownies. :p I think that's the idea, right?

This one is again courtesy of Dorie Greenspan, from my favorite baking book "Baking from my home to yours." I love how the blondies turned out. It was crunchy on the crust but moist and chewy when you bite on it. Just like the name Dorie gave to these. :p

Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (8oz or 2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 325F and spray with PAM a 9x13 baking pan and line it with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a larger mixing bowl using a mixer at medium speed, cream the butter and both the sugars together until light and airy (for about 3-5 minutes). Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition (for about 1-2 minutes). Mix in the vanilla extract. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the flour mixture, being careful not to over fold the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, almonds, and coconut and stir till incorporated in the batter. Pour the batter into the pan and try to smooth the top with the spatula.

Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the top crust is honey brown color and a thin knife inserted in comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before unmolding and cutting them into squares.

I'm bringing some of these to the office for a taste test. Hope it goes well :p

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vanilla Pound Cake

For many people, pound cake is one of the basics in baking. It's something you make when you just started baking. It's quite different for me though. After about a year of baking, this is my first ever pound cake. :)

I have learnt to trust the recipes from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours. Every single recipes that I tried has been a success and her instructions are very clear and easy to follow. So for my first ever pound cake, I followed Dorie's recipe on the Perfect Pound Cake.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature (very important)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature (very important)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter a 9" loaf pan and place it on top of an insulated baking sheet (or 2 regulat baking sheets stacked together). In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes using medium speed). Add the eggs one at a time, beating them well after each additions (1-2 minutes using medium speed). During the process, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure that all the ingredients are being mixed well. Add in the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Fold in the flour mixture into the batter using a spatula, being careful not to over mix the batter.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake in the oven for 70-75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted right through comes out clean. Check the cake after 45 minutes in the oven to see if the top is browning too fast. If so, cover the cake with a foil tent and continue baking. When baked through, cool the cake on a wire rack for 30 minutes before unmolding it. Slice the cake anyway you want and enjoy!

This pound cake has a very soft and small crumbs. According to Dorie, the taste of the cake depends heavily on the quality of butter used. Therefore always use the best butter you have available. I made sure that I used a grade A butter for this one. :) Dorie also mentions that it is important to have all the ingredients at room temperature to achieve the best results.

I would make this cake again in the future. Perhaps for the base of an ice cream cake? :p

Again, the pictures are taken by Alvin. <3

By the way, I want to share a verse I receive from a friend today:

Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Alvin got me an ice cream maker (an extension to the KA mixer) for my birthday and I am extremely excited about it. It's been about 2-3 weeks in my possession and I finally had the chance to use it last night. The main reason for the delay is the amount of waiting time involved in the process. The ice cream maker has to be stored in the freezer for at least 15 hours prior to use, the batter has to be chilled for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator prior to churning, and the soft serve ice cream has to be kept in the freezer for another 4 hours to harden. Phew! That's a lot of hours!

I finally made it a point to store the ice cream maker in the freezer for a week (while I stayed in Galveston for work) and start the batter process Sunday morning. I had intended to make french vanilla ice cream to start the experience but seeing the leftover strawberries from the mini cheesecake deal, I just can't let them go to waste. So I decided to use them for my ice cream. :)

This recipe is courtesy of KA:

2 1/2 cups half-and-half
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups strawberries, chopped
3 tsp sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar in mixer bowl and mix until well blended and slightly thickened. Very gradually, add the half-and-half and mix until blended. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture is steamy and small bubbles form around the edge, stirring constantly. Transfer the half-and-half mixture to a large bowl and stir in the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly for at least 8 hours.

Add the chilled batter to the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions. While ice cream is processing, combine the strawberries and 3 tsp sugar. Let stand while ice cream is processing. Add the strawberries to the ice cream maker in the last 2-3 minutes of the freezing time.

These pictures are all taken by Alvin. :) I really think he's getting so much better at this photography thing. He had learnt so much in the 1 month that we own the Canon. I'm very proud of him and very encouraged by his eagerness to learn.

On a random note, we are 221 days away from our wedding! :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Celebration of Mini Cheesecakes

It's truly a celebration and a milestone for me. These mini cheesecakes are my wedding gift for Carrie and Jim last night. I really have to thank them for trusting me with such an important mission and for displaying my results in such a beautiful manner. :)

Okay, so last night was Carrie and Jim's wedding and Carrie had asked me months ago if I would make cheesecakes for them as after dinner desserts. I was not very sure about it at first because I hadn't made a lot of cheesecakes in the past and I don't have much experience in mass producing my desserts. But I know in my mind that I can't forsake this opportunity. It's really an honor that she trusted me to make these desserts and I really shouldn't waste it.

So the planning for these started right after the request. I researched many cheesecake recipes and put them to practice runs. I brought some of them to work to see if they would suit the American taste buds (I found that Americans like sweeter desserts than Indonesians). I also had a taste test with Carrie & Jim themselves. :) It was a long process, but it was definitely worth it.

I had so much fun baking these mini delights and I really hope that everyone at the wedding enjoyed it too.
Here are some close-ups of the cheesecakes:

Mascarpone Cheesecakes w/ Graham Cracker Crust

Mango No-Bake Cheesecake w/ Graham Pecan Crust

Dark Chocolate Cheesecakes w/ Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

There was a lot to learn with these cheesecakes. Making 150+ of them forces me to plan ahead for the schedule. Being in Galveston also made it harder to make these little goodies but thanks to all the support and help from Alvin, we made it! :)

I'll definitely start picking up on my baking in the future. Thanks for being so patient and encouraging through all my baking journey.

Cheers! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cocopandan Chiffon

I think making chiffon is part of my comfort zone. It relaxes and calms me down. :) I have to say that this is the one recipe that you almost couldn't fail - it's foolproof. I give ALL the credit to my dear mom. I used the basic recipe that I used here and added 1/2 tsp of cocopandan extract for this one.

I had brought this to church on Sunday and it received a very warm welcome by my friends there. This is what makes me really happy... when my baked goodies can put a smile on some one's face. :)

There's been a lot on my mind lately - wedding preparation, engaged life, marriage preparation, moving back to Indonesia, work-life balance, work-hobby balance, and all kinds of other stuff that crowds my brain. I want to be a good daughter, sister, friend, fiance, christian, and coworker. And I'm trying real hard - but I was reminded that I can't do all that on my own. I was reminded that I need to constantly be recharged in God's grace.

Especially with the big day (wedding day) and the bigger day (moving to Indo/Singapore with Alvin) coming up, there's been quite a bit of things that I need to think and pray about. While I was at Sunday service, God reminded me in my heart of this verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)


I'm in good hands. Are you in good hands?

Sunday, August 2, 2009



It's been such a long month of July. I spent 3 weeks in Indonesia taking care of wedding stuff and since I came back to the States, I've been spending my weekdays in Galveston at the client's site. And so I wasn't able to cook or bake anything during the weekdays. I tried to make the best out of my weekends, though. :)

To start me back on my baking momentum, I tried something simple: snickerdoodles. :)

The recipe for these snickerdoodles is courtesy of Joy of Baking. Stephanie Jaworski has some really awesome recipes on cakes, cookies, bars & squares, biscotties, and so many other goodies. The beginning of my baking frenzy started with her Raspberry Sponge Cake. I highly recommend her site to everyone. :)

Anyways, on to the snickerdoodles...

I really like how my cookies turned out. I made half a recipe and I got about 24 snickerdoodles. I kind of overbaked my first batch that went in the oven and it made the cake crispy instead of chewy. I baked my first batch for 8 minutes, according to the recipe, but I didn't really like how it turned out. So for the next batches, I reduced my baking time to 7 minutes and lowered the oven temperature to 375F instead of 400F. With these modifications, my snickerdoodles were just right! A little crunchy on the sides but soft and chewy on the middle. I'm now a firm believer in underbaking cookies. :p

On a side note, my trip to Indonesia was really fun even though I had a mile-long list of to-do's for the wedding preparation. I never thought that it's so much work. Thanks to my awesome mom and encouraging friends, I managed to tackle the list one item at a time. :) I'll tell more stories about the trip in my next posts.

I also still remember that I owe a couple of people recipes: the chewy chocolate chip cookies and the very strawberry cake. I promise I'll get to it. Sorry for the delay.