Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge - October 2010: Doughnuts

I have never been comfortable with making breads at all, and this month's DB challenge got me facing my fear. Our challenge this month - doughnuts! Yes, doughnuts are delicious; one of the best comfort foods ever, but I would rather buy from a shop than make it myself because I'm not confident in the arena of any yeast product.

However, there's a reason why I joined DB. It's to push my boundaries in baking, and face making pastries, desserts or bread that I wouldn't normally do. So here I am... baker!

Blog-checking lines: The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Since our host provided four recipes to choose from, I've decided to choose Kate Neumann's bomboloni recipe. Bomboloni is a Tuscan version of filled doughnuts, except that the filling is piped on the top of the doughnuts instead of the sides, which we normally see with filled doughnuts.

I've psyched myself for this challenge; I wasn't anxious at all when I was making the dough for the bomboloni. I was also following the recipe down to a tee. I guess even if I was mentally ready to face the doughnut challenge, I was subconsciously nervous. Hence, it showed on my doughnuts. When I bake, I normally use my instinct to see if things are going smoothly, but in this case, I was so glued in with the recipe. I didnt' trust my judgement when I saw that my yeast might not have foamed up the way it should. I just continued following the recipe.

As a result, my doughnut was a flop. I was only able to make half of what the actual yield for the recipe should produce. My doughnuts came out really dense and heavy, but the taste was still good. So I decided to still continue filling and glazing my bombolonis.

So for my bomboloni, I dusted their top with powdered sugar, then filled them with pastry cream. For the glaze, I piped alternate circles of dark chocolate and white chocolate ganache. The taste of the final bomboloni was really really good! The only down side was how heavy the actual doughnut was. I guess practice makes perfect; I would definitely be making another batch at some point. This time, I'll trust myself when I think something is not right before it becomes too late.

Bisou bisou,

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Fondant Cake - Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Filling

I got a good news from my friend recently; she's going to tie the knot this December! Oh, I could see her eyes glow as she was telling me the news over coffee. I was so made up for her, so I decided to make a cake for her (she does love her sweets) to send my best wishes.

This cake is a 2 layered 5 inch chocolate butter cake with chocolate buttercream filling. For the chocolate cake itself, I made use of a third of my Lemon Cake recipe. Then to change it into chocolate cake, I substituted 28% of the amount of flour with cocoa powder, and scraped off all the lemon components in the recipe. As for the buttercream, I used a third of my Swiss Buttercream recipe, and simply added 30g of melted chocolate. You got to make sure though that the melted chocolate is not too hot that it could melt the buttercream, but at the same time not so cool that when added to the buttercream, it would just solidify into tiny clumps.

For the fondant, I used a third of my Marshmallow Fondant recipe. I actually picked out pink marshmallows for this one to give my fondant an instant light pink hue.

So another fondant project, another 'over the moon' amateur fondant cake decorator! I'm really getting so enthused with this; I'm even thinking of buying myself some playdough to practice molding! 

Components used for this dessert treat:
Bisous bisou,

Friday, 15 October 2010

Skoda Fabia Advert - Humongous Car Cake!

I just want to share this extremely amazing car advert. I think this could be my favourite advertisement of all time. When you're feeling sad... you simply tune in to this wonderful ad, and then you won't feel so bad! Enjoy! :)

Behind the scenes.

I hope that one day I could be part of a project like this!

Bisou bisou,

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Fondant Cake - Purple Yam Cake with Coconut Cream Filling

So I went into the realms of the artistic side of baking again... My 'July fondant cake project' has completely overwhelmed me; the satisfaction of finishing a work of art was addictive. I have been constantly gushing over my fondant cake for the past two months... I know, I know, self-praising! But hey, people who know me knows I'm very critical of myself, so self-complimenting is a rarity. So I think I have a free pass on being self-absorbed occasionally! Anyway, I've moved on. I've created my new obsession, my teacup cake project!

I have always been fascinated with teacups, or tea sets for that matter. So I took that as an inspiration for my cake. At first, I was being ambitious, and I was thinking of making a floral porcelain like teacup cake. But after some reality check, I settled on a simple casual teacup design.

As for the inspiration of the cake itself, it came from my recent trip from the Philippines. One of my favourite cakes is ube cake (purple yam cake), so when I was back home, I purchased a bottle of purple yam flavouring. The filling, I chose coconut cream filling simply because coconut compliments purple yam really well.

Now for the baking side of this post, you'll need:

  • Three inch round purple yam cake; I used a third of the Lemon Cake recipe, and took out all the lemon related ingredients, then replaced it with about 1/2 tsp purple yam flavouring.
  • Coconut cream filling; I made pastry cream, but used coconut milk instead of milk.
  • Swiss buttercream.

For a quick run through on the cake assembly (Detailed version --> 'July fondant cake project'):

  1. Put the filling in between layers of the cake. Make sure to pipe the perimeter of the cake with buttercream as a guide of the thickness of your filling, and as a protection to stop the filling oozing out of the cake.
  2. Spread the filling, and make sure it's level with the buttercream guide.
  3. Now you have your filled cakes. I suggest chilling the cake for at least 30 minutes to make the whole cake less delicate, but if you're saving time you can skip the chilling part.
  4. Carve the cake to your desired shape; in my case teacup.
  5. Coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream; this will help keep the crumbs intact (hence, crumb coating). Chill the cake until the buttercream doesn't smudge on your fingers when touched; maybe around 30 minutes.
  6. Do the second coating of buttercream. This time thicker, and the purpose is to shape the cake as perfect as you can, so as to make a nice smooth silhouette once the fondant is draped over. Make sure to chill the cake until the buttercream is set before covering with fondant.

So cake is now done. Time to decorate! I used Marshmallow Fondant for decorating for two reasons. First, it's hard to find the ingredients to make a proper fondant here in Korea; second, I think marshmallow fondant has a nicer taste compared to a proper fondant. Decorating with fondant is almost like playing with playdough. Now I wasn't exactly good with sculpting playdough when I was a kid, so fondant cake decorating isn't exactly an easy task for me. However, I really like playing with fondant; just too bad I don't have many people to feed so I can't really attempt to make three tiers of cakes.

For now, I'm happy with making mini fondant projects. Plus, I have a long long way to go, and loads of improvement to do. I know my teacup cake is not the most polished art, but for an amateur starter, I'm happy with what I've created!

Now I have to consider if I'm going to do more fondant cakes in the near future, because if I am, I have to start thinking of investing on cake decorating tools. Trust me, I don't have any sorts of cake decorating tools in making this project as well as my first fondant cake project; I just made use of whatever I have in my tiny cozy kitchen.

Components used for this dessert treat:
Bisou bisou,

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Travel Food Blog: Philippines

Like most travelers, visiting famous landmarks is almost mandatory for me when exploring new places. Aside from that, I really associate food with travel. For me, food says a lot about a place's history and culture; there are reasons behind classic dishes as to why they are cured, pickled, shaped in a certain way or served in a certain way. It's not just about the taste; although taste is important to enjoy any feast! When I travel, I do make a little research of what traditional food there is or what food is a must try on the area I'll be in, and I make a little list of must eats! Food is definitely just as important as the beautiful sites, sceneries and activities there is when traveling. Plus, who doesn't like yummy authentic food!

Food, food, food...

I recently visited my homeland, Philippines, and one thing's definite - I've indulged myself with some good old Filipino food! For some reason, Filipino food hasn't been able to make it's name globally unlike Thai, Chinese, Japanese or Indian cuisine. But one thing's for sure, Filipino food is really really delicious; it's prone to get anyone to over eat. Philippine eating culture involves varieties of meat and vegetable dishes that we call ulam, and these could not be well complimented other than RICE... and lots of it! 

Unfortunately, I'm not an avid shutterbug, so most of the time I've forgotten to take pictures of the food especially when I'm so engrossed in devouring the feast set before my eyes. Actually, I was just able to manage to take pictures on one occasion because I saw one of my friends do it first... 

Crispy pata - deep fried pork leg usually served with vinegar, soy sauce, chili, and garlic dipping sauce; very similar to German pork knuckle

Chicharon Bulaklak - deep fried pork intestines

Bopis - pork lungs and heart (sometimes liver) sauteed in garlic, onions, chilies, and bell pepper then seasoned with vinegar

Bicol Express - spicy stew dish made with coconut milk, chilies and shrimp paste

Kare-kare - stew made with peanut sauce that may have oxtail, beef, tripe, large intestines and different vegetables; always served with shrimp paste

Sisig - pig's head and liver sauteed in garlic, onion and chili, then seasoned with vinegar

Turon served with ube ice cream - banana jack fruit spring rolls served with purple yam ice cream

Polvoron with pinipig - made with toasted flour, powdered milk, sugar and melted butter then flavoured with pinipig (immature rice that has been pounded to look like flakes); I brought this snack back to Korea intending to eat it sparingly... finished in 2 days!

Of course going back home won't be complete without paying homage to my Chinese roots by devouring a succulent Chinese feast (courtesy of my friend's wedding reception)! Lack of photos... blame my hungry tummy... 

Suckling Pig and Assorted Cold Cuts; I spy century egg, yumm!

 Steamed Garlic Prawns

 Winter melon Stuffed with Scallops

Seafood Noodles

Steamed Garlic Crabs

Almond Jelly with Mango Puree

Lastly, disregarding authentic and traditional food, food is food, and I love delicious food. So for some miscellaneous food from different cuisines...

Sirloin steak grilled at our backyard; after eating this, I understood what it meant when they say the steak melts in your mouth!

Keftedes; was on a beach, and I was just craving for a nice Greek food to accompany the sea breeze

Oddly, there was a deli by the beach. And since I love my cheese and my H loves his cured meats, we gave in to a sandwich lunch. Prosciutto Gruyere cheese sandwich for me, and salami Milano Edam cheese
sandwich for my H.

Cocktails by the beach... what more can I say? Not exactly food, but food and drink does go together, yeah? PiƱa colada and margarita.

Coconut Seafood Pasta

Baked Ribs, sooo tender!

Pizza margherita - my absolute favourite pizza!

Well, enough of food blogging... it's making me so hungry! Good thing it's dinner time; perfect timing!

Bisou bisou,


My H has been persistently asking me to make scones like forever! So I have finally gave in. I made a plain scone though because I'm not so much a fan of scones with dried fruits.

Scone is quick bread of Scottish origin, but is now synonymous with the whole of Britain. It is usually eaten at breakfast or afternoon teas served with clotted cream and jam. The shapes of scones may vary from round, square, triangle or diamond. Originally, scones were made with oats and cooked on a griddle, but nowadays it's made with flour and baked in an oven.

For my scones, I used the recipe from joyofbaking. It came out really really good. I just used half of the recipe and I was able to produce four scones.

Now what is scone without clotted cream? I know finding clotted cream here in Korea is impossible, so I didn't even try looking for one. Instead, I decided to make my own. Although, I'm not sure of the quality of Korean creams, I still gave it a go. There's not much variety or shall I say no variety at all of creams in Korea, or at least in the city I live in. They only have whipping cream, and I pretty much use that cream whenever a recipe calls for any sorts of cream. This is when I do miss England where there are single cream, double cream, half and half and the list goes on. Anyway, my clotted cream didn't turn out the way it should have. The color was immensely pale and anemic, and the taste was so sweet. I ended up discarding the clotted cream, and had to settle for butter. 

 my uber pale and sweet clotted cream :(

Despite the mishap, my H and I really enjoyed our scones with a nice cup of tea. Just remember to eat the scones fresh out of the oven! If not, you can always throw the scones back in the oven for like 3 minutes to warm it up, and it would go back to it's soft yummy state!

 my scone with 'clotted cream' and raspberry jam

scone from The Orangery at Kensington Palace with really silky scrumptious clotted cream and blackberry preserves; had this at my bridal afternoon tea last year

Bisou bisou,


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