Posts tagged “Cake

Passionfruit Angel Food Cake (and first ever giveaway!)

So I still have a lot of catching up to do from all of my summer travels, but in the meantime, I figured I’d do a little post about cake because it’s pretty fantastic. But anyways, have you ever spent hours doing virtually nothing? I have! Whilst waiting in the mornings or afternoons or evenings at my grandparents’ home in Taiwan, my young(er) cousin passed time by playing fruit ninja on her super fancy iPad 2 (and no, sorry. that’s not the giveaway hahaha). Before I left, she asked me, “Do you think about fruit ninja randomly sometimes?” And I said that yes, I did occasionally. To which she responded, “Okay good. Because I do. I think about it a lot. Especially passionfruit. It’s so yummy!”

Now a few days earlier, I had gone with my grandpa to the street market and bought a bag of passionfruit. Upon bringing it home, we scooped out the flesh and my grandpa suggested that we eat it straight up. But what with my grandpa, grandma, aunt, uncle, cousin, and I all in the house, I knew that we’d want to stretch it as far as we could. So my cousin and I ran down to the FamilyMart (think 7/11) and bought a bottle of Taiwanese Sprite. We mixed it up with the passionfruit and everyone loved it.

I wish it was possible to bring back passionfruit, but alas, Customs and Border Security would throw it into their bin of “international waste” (sniffle, sniffle). But! I’ve got the next best thing:

passionfruit/apricot preserves and passionfruit extract (purchased in an international mart in Taiwan)

So. Secret’s out! If I’ve recently made you a passionfruit cake, I did not in fact pluck passionfruit off of my nonexistent lilikoi tree in the back yard. Disappointed? Don’t be! Just leave a comment, any comment below and you will be eligible to win a bottle of passionfruit extract(!), thereby enabling you to also flavor your cakes and cookies with the addicting flavor that is passionfruit.


The passionfruit extract is pretty iridescent as you can see:


…and it smells pretty amazing, if  I do say so myself.

Limit one entry per person and U.S. residents only. We’ll see how many nibbles there are, but for now, I’ma leave this giveaway open until 12:00 AM EST on Friday, August 26 2011.

Want another entry? Like us on Facebook and comment back here saying you did!

Angel Food Cake

(very lightly adapted from here)

1 cup (3 oz) sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbls egg whites (I used the whites from 12 large eggs)
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp passionfruit extract

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Have ready an ungreased large tube pan (9-inch diameter 16-cup capacity), preferably with removable bottom.  If the pan bottom is not removable, line it with parchment or wax paper.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 3/4 cup sugar.  Place remaining 3/4 cup sugar in another small bowl next to the mixer.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer beat egg whites at low speed until just broken up and beginning to froth.  Add cream of tartar and salt and beat at medium speed until whites form very soft, billowy mounds.  With the mixer still at medium speed, beat in 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and whites are shiny and form soft peaks.  Add passionfruit extract and beat until just blended.
4. Place flour-sugar mixture in a sifter set over waxed paper.  Sift flour-sugar mixture over egg whites about 3 tablespoons at a time, and gently fold it in, using a large rubber spatula.
5. Sift any flour-sugar mixture that falls onto the paper back into the bowl with the whites.
6. Gently scrape batter into pan, smooth the top, and give pan a couple of raps on the counter to release any large air bubbles.
7. Bake until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back with pressed firmly, about 1 hour.
8. If cake pan has prongs around the rim for elevating the cake, invert pan onto them.  If not, invert pan over the neck of a bottle or funnel so that air can circulate all around it.  Let the cake cool completely. To unmold, run a knife around edges, being careful not to separate the golden crust from the cake.  Slide cake out of pan and cut the same way around removable bottom to release, or peel off parchment or wax paper, if used.
9.Place the cake, bottom-side up, on a platter.  Cut slices by sawing gently with a serrated knife.

passionfruit angel food cake featured with raspberry whipped cream and passionfruit gelée.

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Strawberry Explosion

Happy Strawberry Month/Season/whatever this is! In honor of the seasonal strawberry boom, I chose to make this Japanese cheesecake. Having not actually baked much of anything (especially involving whipping egg whites), I am happy to say that this was a success! Lately, I’ve seen Japanese cheesecakes all around the blogosphere. There are yummy loaves (look at the crumb! so perfect), cute green tea versions, and swirly patriotic/psychedelic ones. In the end though, I decided to go with the one I first found here a couple years ago. Since I first saw that post, I’ve been meaning to make one, but I’ve just never gotten around to it.

In case you aren’t familiar with this style of cheesecake, it’s lighter than your traditional NY cheesecake and fluffier too, thanks to the whipped egg whites. The way I see it, you get all the fat without the feeling of guilt!  😉


Ingredients!



As you can tell from the top left square, I was having some issues with my melted cream cheese. It was kinda clumpy and frustrating to deal with. Same with the addition of the flour mixture (even though it was sifted). It all worked out though with the addition of the egg yolks.


Yay fluffy egg whites!

Here’s the decorating process. Lightly sweetened whipped cream and sliced strawberries only!

Boom, strawberry explosion.


Japanese Cheesecake
Makes a 9×13″
280g sugar
12 egg whites
12 egg yolks
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
100g butter (approx. 1 stick)
500g cream cheese (approx 2 1/8 bars)
200 ml milk (I used 2%)
120g cake flour
40g cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

1. Cube the butter and cream cheese. Add to a saucepan with the milk and place over medium heat, stirring constantly until the butter and cream cheese are melted. Allow this to cool before adding in the egg yolks, one at a time. At this point, preheat the oven to 375F or 160C.
2. Sift the cake flour and cornstarch together over the cream cheese mixture in 3 additions, stirring well after each.
3. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whip on medium speed, gradually pouring in the sugar. When the sugar has been added, turn the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form.
4. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cream cheese mixture until incorporated. (Check for streaks!)
5. Line a 9×13″ springform (or regular) pan with parchment paper and pour the mixture in.
6. Place your water bath* on the bottom rack of the oven and slide your cheesecake on the top rack.
7. Bake for about 1 hour (you may need more or less time depending on your oven) or until golden and set.

Note: Do not immediately remove the cheesecake. Let the cheesecake stand in the oven with the door ajar for about an hour. This will help prevent cracks and such. Also, I made this the night before, and after letting it sit covered and refrigerated overnight, it was easier to handle.

*I boil water for the water bath as the batter is being made so that there is a sufficient amount of steam circulating throughout the oven.

*disclaimer to those who know me in real life: no, I did not eat this cheesecake as it is comprised pretty much solely of dairy products. But everyone who did eat this enjoyed it immensely, and there were no leftovers.


Jars of Happiness

…or CakeJars. Also known as my new favorite gift to give! To get everyone’s favorite flavors, I had them initial this sheet:

Needless to say, this sheet became my life. I thought I’d lost it on several different occasions, and panic attacks were my constant companion.

In the end, all went well, and the jars were made without a single problem (which was also a relief considering the fact that things are never as simple as they seem). To begin, I washed the (48) jars in the dishwasher.

Then, I baked various flavors of cake (vanilla, chocolate, vanilla-lemon, cinnamon, butter) in a 14″ cake pan, let it cool and then cut out circles:


I had made all of the fillings prior to the assembly process in order to speed up the actual assembly time.

There were lemons for lemon curd and raspberries for the Lemon Raspberry variety:



Cinnamon apples and vanilla bean cream cheese frosting for the Apple Spice variety:


Coffee cream for the Tiramisu and Toffee Mocha variety:

Coffee for Tiramisu:


Toffee for Toffee Mocha:


…and various other fillings/frostings that I forgot to take pictures of.

Assembly looked something like this:


I did birthday cakejars first, so  I didn’t mind taking pictures of every step, but after that I kinda gave up and just concentrated on finishing all of them.

From left to right:
Tiramisu: coffee-soaked vanilla cake, coffee cream, whipped cream, cocoa
Toffee Mocha: chocolate cake, coffee cream, toffee pieces
Lemon Raspberry: lemon-vanilla cake, fresh raspberries, lemon curd, raspberry preserves
Apple Spice: cinnamon cake, cinnamon spiced apples, vanilla bean cream cheese frosting
Birthday: butter cake, buttercream, chocolate frosting, sprinkles

This ended up being a really successful idea, I think. While traditionalists are still giving cookie mixes in jars, you could be giving portable cakes- which is totally amazing because, let’s face it: at the end of the day during the holiday season, the last thing you want to do is dirty up another bowl for baking cookies. So many of the recipients mentioned curling up on the couch by the fire. How nice is that? (The other half of the recipients consumed them moments within receiving the cakejars.) Give them to teachers, give them to friends- give them to all as the year slowly ends.


Foolproof way to an easy A

School has been in session for about a month now. (Gosh. Only a month?!) The older I get, the more I believe that each day is like a year and each year is but a day. I remember beginning kindergarten so vividly. I woke up, watched some tv, ate breakfast, and got dressed like usual. My mom hoisted me up into the car seat for my less-than-40-pound body in our 1994 red nissan quest. 90.3 CDR Christian radio was broadcasting the old timey tunes of the ‘theme song’ to Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. The car ride was short; in mere moments, I had to say goodbye to all that was familiar. I cried as my mom walked out the door.

My crying was stopped a moment later as two pleasant looking ladies brought me a tissue and led me to the circle of likewise apprehensive tots. I, along with the rest of my classmates, quickly learned to like my teachers, Miss Susie and Miss Kim. That was the beginning of a lifetime of appreciation.

11 years later, I wake up, complete some homework, eat a quick breafast, and dash out the door. I no longer cry as I leave the house. I drive to school in our 2005 red sienna le by myself. A CD mix of indie/pop plays as I tap my fingers in time with the morning traffic jams. I walk into my classrooms now, observing and appreciating the effort extended by teachers who continually breach the generation gap. Good teachers are hard to come by. Their patience, compassion, and awareness of students’ lives make them one of the rarest breed of humans. When found, they ought to be thanked and celebrated in the most sincere way: food. We aren’t talking run of the mill apples here; give teachers something they can be thankful for on the first day of school when the last bell finally rings. A soft brownie enveloped by a chewy chocolate chip cookie; a pillowy cinnamon mini-bundt cake with a sumptuous caramel glaze; a lovely lemon curd tart in a crisp graham cracker crust-topped off with glazed raspberries.   

Even so, this is worth but a fraction of their efforts. So thank you, teachers, for touching the lives that you do while continually shaping the future.

 

Chocolate Chip Brownie Bombs and Lemon Curd Raspberry Tarts can be found here and here, respectively.

Mini Cinnamon Buttermilk Bundt Cakes with Caramel Glaze

For the Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ t vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken

For the Glaze:
¼ cup butter
½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
¼ t salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a mini Bundt pan.

2. Sift the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon together into a small bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Add the flour and the buttermilk alternately, beating well after each addition, until thoroughly incorporated.  The batter will be thick. Using an ice cream scoop or two spoons, fill each tin about 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.

Glaze:
The cakes must be completely cool, or the glaze will not adhere.  Place a piece of wax paper under the cooling rack to catch any drips.

1.Cut the butter into cubes and place in a saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt.  After everything melts together, bring to a full, rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  When it begins to boil, let it continue for 1 minute, then pull it off the heat.  Leave the pan to cool for about 5 minutes, then vigorously beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.

2. Immediately spoon the glaze over the cakes, but do so slowly and evenly to cover as much surface as possible.  Leave the glaze to set, then enjoy.  Covered tightly, this cake will last a few days.


Strawberry Expectations

Perfection.

Everyone expects it of someone.

And yet, the few who are so seemingly perfect radiate fatal waves of unapproachability, never showing their past or present turmoils.

All anyone ever sees is a façade.

But underneath it…


…lies a human as flawed and imperfect as we are.

Secretly, they fill themselves with all kinds of material things.

But inside, they are empty.

They are broken. 

 

 

 

 

 


Wedding Cake 101

When I sat down in Spanish 2 for the first time 2 years ago, I had no idea that I was signing myself up for a week of utter chaos responsibility. Yes, my Spanish teacher went from a Miss to a Mrs. and asked me to make her wedding cake! Through careful planning and consultation (plus the moral support of my parents <3), I was able to pull it off. Forget the skeptics and the doubters; anyone can do anything they set their mind to. Here’s proof.