Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bake #6: Raspberry Marble Cheesecakes

My, my......bake #6 already?! Time flies when you're having fun! I'm excited about this week's bake because first - I PICKED IT!! Secondly, I'm attracted to anything red or pink these days - just look at the gorgeous raspberry swirls (page 99)! Mesmerizing, aren't they? Lastly, in all honesty, I'm somewhat tired of the "cakey" cupcakes so time to change up the textures a bit!

Happy baking! 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bake #5: Jenny Bakes Strawberry-Jam Tea Cakes

They say variety is the spice of life but for this week, Variety is the filling of my teacakes! I decided to hold a mini contest on these petite goodies by changing up the filling a bit. Besides, that section on the inside of my refrigerator door is completely over-laden with unopened jars of jams, preserves, confitures and chutneys, causing the door the jam each time we shut it.
I love collecting stuffs- all kinds of stuffs. If only I get paid a dime for every collection, I'd be mighty rich by now! And same for each time I digress!!

Now, where was I? Oh yes. The contenders:

  • Mountain Fig jam
  • Peanut Butter
  • Strawberry jam
  • Kaya - a type of Malaysian Coconut jam,
I liked the richness of the coconut jam
but it overpowered the delicate sponge cake in this combination. The peanut butter was just a tad too nutty
From left: peanut-butter and coconut jam

I think it would be great if I had layered in some sweet jelly (à la PBJ teacakes) and the fig jam flavor paled in comparison with the strawberry preserves. So after much deliberation with the judges - all three of them : moi, myself and I (!!!) - the final verdict was delivered....and the winner of the best filling for these cutie teacakes?


Ladies and gentlemen: Strawberry Jam Teacakes.
One thing to note, I found the cake somewhat dry eventhough I baked mine at 330˚F for ~ 22 minutes; Martha's recipe called for 30 minutes of baking time at even higher temp of 350˚F! So do monitor your cakes in the oven very carefully.

Thanks for another fantastic pick Tina! Strawberry Fields Forever! ;-)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bake #5: Tina bakes Strawberry-Jam Tea Cakes

For some endearing reason this cake reminded me of my innocent childhood... of strawberry jam sandwiches for school recess. The uncomplicated taste of cake and strawberry jam - what could be more wholesome than that? Perhaps that was the reason why this particular cake was the first I was attracted to when I initially glanced through MS' Cupcakes.

This is a simple, sweet sweet cake. Pop it in your mouth, close your eyes and think happy thoughts. I did!!

definitely the cake to have on a cold, rainy day... coupled with your fav cuppa

I only wish I had remembered to reduce the amount of sugar in the cake batter, like I always do in all recipes. It was excrutiatingly S-W-E-E-T!! the sweet cake, the jam and the glaze... can be over-powering even for sweet-toothed me :) Other than that, it was lovely..
This recipe yield 6 jumbo cupcakes and .... 64 mini ones!! I purposely baked them in mini sizes so my girls and I could bring them to school/work... after all good things are meant to be shared!! So after our fair share of cakes and tea, all three of us brought about 18 mini ones each for our friends :)

And as I was arranging the jumbo cupcakes and strawberries for my photo shoot, my little one diced some strawberries to garnish the mini ones. I thought they looked very pretty... and popping the cake with fresh, somewhat soury strawberries into your mouth evened out the sweetness of the cake. Brilliant!!

These pretty little cakes will definitely make its appearance at the dessert spread at my next party!!

post-publish update: hate the way how these photos look 'foggy' when published. the quality definitely dropped a few notches...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bake #5: Strawberry-Jam Tea Cakes

Yet another great pick by Tina. This is a very versatile petite cake; Martha says you can use any variety of jam for the filling as well as vary the type of citrus used in the batter and in the glaze. Try it and let us know what you think. We look forward to hearing from more FWB bakers out there!! And if you haven't done so, do check out THE BOOK!

Strawberry-Jam Tea Cakes (page 117)

*makes 16 cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp (plus more for greasing tins) - note: USA measurement 1 stick = 4 oz = 8 tablespoons

3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for tin)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tsp finely grated orange zest

4 large eggs, separated, room temp

1/2 cup milk

1 cup strawberry jam or preserves

*Citrus Glaze (made with orange juice and zest)

1. Preheat over to 350˚F. Butter and lightly dust standard muffin tins with flour, tapping our excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with two additions of milk and beating until just combined.

3. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites to soft peaks, gently fold into batter. Spoon ~ 2 tablespoons batter into each prepared cupc, make an indentation in the middle of each, fill with 1 tablespoon jam then top with additional 2 tablespoons batter, covering the jam completely.

4. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers of top layers comes out clean (~30 minutes). Remove from oven, turn out cakes onto cooling racks and allow to cool

5. To finish, drizzle cakes evenly with glaze and let set, ~ 30 minutes. Glazed cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days in a single layer at room temp. in airtight containers.

*Citrus Glaze (page 315) - makes ~ 1 cup

1 1/2 powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp finely grated citrus zest
3 Tbls fresh citrus juice

Whisk altogether until smooth. If necessary, add more sugar to thicken or more juice to thin the glaze. Use immediately.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bake #4: Tina bakes Lemon Cupcakes

I baked regular lemon cupcakes... no Meyer lemons over here!! :)

The lemons I got were going for RM1.09 per piece and I did not know where they came from, unfortunately. Earlier in the week, I saw some Egpytian lemons at RM4.99 per piece but did not want to get them too early before the bake.

I am happy with the lemons as they were very very juicy!! The recipe called for usage of about 8 lemons. I halved the recipe, so I'd need about 4 lemons... but I only had to use 1.5 lemons to get the amount of juice required!!

I started with the lemon curd... and since I had a lot of juice, I was generous with it. Probably not such a bright idea as my curd were very very lemony!! :) But I must tell you that the curd tastes less puckery and sweeter on the second day. Well, any cake always taste better on the second day, to me.. (that is if they last THAT long :))

These cupcakes are really pretty and cheery. I might just make the cakes without the curd, next time - perhaps increase the zest and juice too. They taste pleasantly sweet with a refreshingly zesty twist. I would also not let it brown too long in the oven... these are dense cakes and removing them from the oven just as they are ready allows them to stay softer and fluffier. You may not get the golden effect on the top, though.

And boy!! Does this recipe yield a LOT of cakes!! I got 42 mini cupcakes just by baking 2/3 of my batter (and did I mention I halved the recipe??) Again, timing was right as I had a majlis ilmu (religious knowledge class) to bring them to, last night. I plan to bake the leftover batter for the office.

some of the cakes ready to be shared...

Hey, you're not the only one loving this recipe... good choice, Jen!! :) oh! and Happy New Year to you and all those celebrating!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bake#4: Jenny bakes Meyer Lemon Cupcakes

I disclosed earlier the reason why I had picked this for bake number four but truthfully, there's a different reason behind this. A rather selfish one, really. *Grin* No, it's not because I have loads of these wonderful harvest from our tree (aren't they gorgeous though?)

but rather, the thing that drove me to select this week's recipe was simply THIS:

I got these adorably cute glossy paper liners for more than couple years now and just hadn't been inspired to use it on any of my bakes! I've been diligently spring-cleaning last week when I saw these cutesies, pressed against the wall and stuck way toward the back of the shelf, just screaming out "use me, use me, use ME!!!" I swear I could hear that (or was it all in my head?!) Sometimes I'm not certain if I'm hearing my own thoughts or something else.....but that's a different story for another time. Unlike other liners, these are somewhat shorter and wider - they're more suitable for tartlettes, but thanks to my silicon muffin liners, the cupcakes fit (almost) these liners perfectly!

I simply love the lemony pucker of this entire combo. The cupcakes were moist; I used mascarpone cheese instead of cream cheese as I wanted it to be a little richer and less tangy. It wasn't my first time making lemon curd, I've tried various other recipes and this one's quite good, really. I love it so much that I came up with three full jars of lemon curd from the harvest. I think I'm going to set up shop right on our front yard to sell lemonade and lemon curd this weekend! :-) And I could also be selling these cupcakes - the recipe yields enough to feed an army! - but I ended up with less than 5 cupcakes left on my kitchen counter now since I had halved the recipe (hubby took the rest to work), so nothing left to sell!

Lemons. So bright, so yellow, so, why would a beauty like this have such negative connotation? If life hands us lemons, I'd say rejoice! And make lots and lots of lemon cupcakes!
Am I the only one who's loving this recipe?!? And oh, I added a little something-something on top of my cupcakes. See if you can spot it?!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bake #4: Meyer Lemon Cupcakes

Photo courtesy of

If you live in the Wintery part of the world right now, you're most probably like me and can't wait to just get over this cold, dreary and sometimes crazily treacherous weather conditions. We Californians are more fortunate this year and I'm counting our blessings for the rather mild winter we've had so far. Nonetheless, I'm so ready for Spring!! It's my favorite season of all. So for this week's FWB, I picked Martha's Meyer Lemon Cupcakes (pages 121 and 317), something bright and cheery. The lemony goodness is sure to perk things up!

Here's the recipe for the cupcakes The cupcakes are filled with Lemon Curd and if you enjoyed last week's pastry cream, I bet you'll love the highly-versatile lemon curd as well! You can even bottle it up and it makes for a great hostess gift or you can use it as filling for your cakes and tartlettes! Note that you'll need to make and chill the Lemon Curd at least couple hours ahead of time.

Here's the recipe for Martha's Lemon Curd (page 317)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bake #3: Kitchen Guardian bakes Boston Cream Pie

Click here to read Kitchen Guardian's account baking the BCPC!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bake #3: Tina Bakes Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

What can I say, I love this cake! The very reason I chose it is because it has my favourite filling - vanilla pastry cream and my favourite topping - chocolate ganache. Put them together - PERFECTION. Jenny is right about the sponge cake - really nothing to shout about, but I guess just like a tri-partite relationship where you can't have everyone screaming for attention all at the same time, the mild taste of the cake compliments the other two well.

I started by making the pastry cream first and got them ready to chill in the fridge (recipe says min 2 hours). I love the smooth texture of the mixture as I whisked the egg yolk, milk and butter together... lovely, all natural colour too!!

Next was the cake. In a haste, I almost whisk the butter and sugar together!!, taking for granted that this recipe is just like any other. Thank God I read the recipe thoroughly before mixing the measured ingredients. Now, the recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of butter - how do you measure that accurately? To be exact, I googled tablespoons to cups conversion and this was what I got!!

6 tablespoons = 3/8 cup. huh???. that makes 12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup. So I went with half of three quarter cups. That made my life easier :)

I baked the cakes in a muffin tin... take a look at my photo below... the cake rose only in the middle, making it look like a hat!! :) I also tried baking some in solo cups and they turned out fine, rising only slightly and evenly. However, when baked in solo cups, the cakes don't brown evenly on the sides which makes it look pale and a little unattractive on its own.

I had 12 cakes baked in muffin tins and 6 in solo cups. *note to self: please halve the recipe next time unless baking for a party :) I'm glad 6 of my eldest daughter's friends are coming over tomorrow to do a school project - I already have the teatime cake ready!! :)
I'm excited to see how yours turn out... and I welcome tips and tricks as well!! :) Oh! before I forget, cornstarch (American term) is the same as cornflour (English term). And a little factual info - this cake was chosen as the Massachusetts state dessert in 1996!!

Next up, Jenny's pick - Meyer Lemon Cupcakes!!
p/s: I've been to Boston!! Go Red Sox!! :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bake #3: Jenny bakes Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

First off, a very warm shout-out to all our new FWB bakers! This is going to be our FIRST ever bake-along that involves more than just Tina and me. How exciting!!

When Tina revealed her pick for this week's bake, I was like "phew!" in my head. I thought it would be something elaborate like this or this or even this. I have quite little patience with intricate cake designs and I think Tina knows what a novice I am when it comes to cake decorating. Phew! What a relief!

I've always wanted to visit Boston but the closest thing I ever got to was a Boston Cream Pie! The irony is, the Boston Cream Pie was invented by a French chef! Rich, vanilla pastry cream (not to be confused with custard) sandwiched between double-layer sponge cake. The French invented and perfected pastry cream so I guess it's not that much of an irony after all? Enough digression. Back to the BCPC, this recipe was easy to follow. I didn't bother with portion reduction and managed to get around 15 muffin-sized cakes plus 2 mini loafs; I just had to use my new teenie-weenie-mini loaf pans! The sponge cake was nothing spectacular but the light flavor allows the silky pastry cream and creamy chocolate glaze to shine. And shine they did!!
Here's my BCPC turned out. I styled couple cupcakes for photoshoot and made a cup of espresso to go along......I guess there's no need for explanation as to why I only managed to take a single photo....*munch* * slurp* *munch*....hmmmm....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bake#3: Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

(click photo for recipe)
Are you girls ready?? This is our quest for this week!! (Feb 6&7). Well, it was supposed to be the quest for last weekend of Jan, but we're behind time due to a hectic week that was (third week and already slacking??) not good!! haha..
Let's do this this weekend and post it on your blogs/FB ok ladies... Jenny and I will post ours in this blog.

See you soon!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bake #2: Jenny Bakes Red Velvet Cupcakes

I've been hooked on Red Velvet Cake for quite a while now. A Southern delicacy, its exact history remains a mystery but the cake has regained much popularity since it was featured in the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias. Moist and chocolaty yet carries a distinctive flavor unlike any other chocolate cakes, this decadent dessert is heavenly when paired with cream-cheese frosting. I love its sensual reddish hue, which definitely sets the mood for a romantic celebration. But really, it's a tad difficult to be romantic when you're busy gorging yourself with this oh-so addictive cake. Those who taste it for the first time may find the vinegar aftertones slightly strange but this is what sets the Red Velvet apart from a regular Chocolate cake, and oh, yes, that made-in-heaven pairing with cream cheese frosting. Definitely! Tina has yet to get addicted but I know she will one day!

Bake#2: Tina Bakes Red Velvet Cupcakes

For our second bake, it was Jenny's turn to choose and Red Velvet it was!! It was my first time with RV and my... what lovely colour it turned out!! Kids were happy to play with the 'bloody' batter too :)

As for the taste, I don't think it is something I'd bake again and again (tho Jenny wants me to do that, just so I'd acquire the taste)... it is quite nice on it's own but with the creamcheese frosting... hmm... my tastebuds didn't quite welcome them!! The combination left a tangy aftertaste, I feel... maybe I had put too much vinegar... IF I were to bake it again, I'd definitely go easy on the vinegar (or omit altogether) and add more cocoa...

Here are my RVs...
they make such pretty cakes...

Bake#2: Red Velvet Cupcakes

click on photo for recipe
After having the privilege of choosing our maiden bake, Jenny get to choose Bake #2. Lovely choice, Jen!

Bake#1: Tina Bakes Blueberries and Cream Cupcakes

My version of MS' BCC!!
I even duplicated the photo shoot!! COPYCAT!!!

I enjoyed baking the cake and it was my first time using fresh blueberries in a cake. I love the cakes to bits!! I halved the recipe as Jenny told me she was 'burdened' with too many cupcakes :)

Mine did not turn golden brown all over the top... must improve on the technique ;-) any tips??

The cake is light and summery sweet. Something I'd bake again and again. Brought this to my niece's birthday party and it had many fans!! I'm so glad... love this recipe..

Bake #1: Jenny Bakes Blueberries & Cream Cupcakes

This was a very special bake for me. Somewhere several thousand miles across the oceans, in a different country, a very special friend was also baking on the same day (well, just several hours apart), from the same book, same page, the same recipe. A very dear friend whom I've known for two decades and just got reunited recently via a social networking site. It has been almost a decade since Tina and I last met or sat down to have a chat, hardly imaginable back during those days when we would chat over the phone every other day. I still remember the time when she took the long drive from Iowa, all by herself, just to spend a weekend with me in Kansas. Ah, the good times we had and things that we'd share - the laughter, silly girly giggles, the fun as well as the tears, the heartaches, the growing pains..... Today. Over a decade later. Several thousand miles apart. Separate lives in different worlds. We've both grown and changed, but the beauty of friendship is just this: it transcends geographical boundaries, race, religion and even time. I'm truly glad Tina and I remain friends and now, we have one more thing in common to create new memories for our friendship. Bake on, my friend!

Bake#1: Blueberries and Cream Cupcakes

click on photo for recipe
I had the honour the choose Bake#1 and tadaaaaa... this was what I chose.