Friday, December 2

Black & White Sunflower Cake

This post is mostly picture time. This was for Eid. My Southern Devil's Food Cake sandwiched between Magnolia's Vanilla Cake. It was topped with Swiss Meringue Buttercream (of course!). 

I baked this in the smallest pan I have. Not a very sturdy one but hey, it works. Oh and I made about 12 cupcakes with it. It really makes a lot of cake so watch out. If you're not making the cupcakes use two 9" round cake pans. The one I used is 6".



Here's what the Magnolia Vanilla Cake consists of:

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method: 

Preheat your oven to 350. Butter and dust your cake pans with flour, tapping out excess flour. You can also use a cooking spray; work's even better. 

Sift the flours and set aside.

On medium speed, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat till fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.

Now starting with the dry ingredients, add in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Mix till it's just incorporated. Don't overbeat.

Pour in pans and set on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes. If you're making cupcakes, bake each batch for 20-25 minutes. Make sure you leave each batch of cupcake in the tin for 10 mins to rest. Otherwise the wrappers come off.

To assemble, sandwich the cakes and smear with buttercream to seal. Pipe your heart out!


Cheers!



Wednesday, November 30

Cuppies

6 am. The sun's not up yet. But I've got to get my fix ready. I have Adcommers coming over tomorrow and today is dessert day! So I make my tried and tested Southern's Devil's Food Cupcakes. Yummers! 

I own one muffin pan. One single muffin pan. Holds 6. Each cuppie takes 16 minutes in the oven and 7 to cool. And I made 28. You do the math.

This post is really for the pictures. The cuppies are topped with plain Swiss Meringue Buttercream. And those are tempered chocolate, piped.



I fancy piped chocolate, do you? :"> 
  

 Banyan's fix. 


I love this picture!


Master's.

Friday, November 18

Lime Meringue Tart

This just had to be done. Really! I've seen pictures, heard stories and I finally gave it a shot.

Funny how everytime I blog, I think of Minu. She's yet to blog. Plus, she's one of the only three people who actually Read this blog. *blush*

I'm not ashamed to admit that. Not one bit. *sigh*

Limes are far sweeter than lemons you know. I found that out the hard way. After squeezing a couple of lemons for a certain dessert, I came to discover an unwelcome bitterness in the dish. Hmm. Oh and limes are 'superior' too. Don't ask. Dirty politics.

My mom-in-law is not in the know but I moved some of her favorite things to make space for this photo shoot. Heh Heh.. left the coral for the peaks :) the 'stiff' peaks.

So this recipe's been taken from My Baking Addiction.I really really like this site but I have to admit that most of the things I've tried from there haven't worked out that well for me. Would I make this tart again? I... yes. But I would work on it to find my own stance. The lime filling was.. too tart for this tart *sheepish grin*

Here's what you'll be needing...

The Tart
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tbsp
Kosher salt
6 tbsp cold butter, diced
2 tbsp shortening (Crisco is the only one I've come across)
1/4 cup ice water

The Lime Filling
1/4 pound butter, that's about 115 g (1 stick) at room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
3 large egg yolks (work the whites in the meringue)
1/4 cup finely grated lime zest (it took me 5 limes)
1/2 freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt

The Meringue
4 large egg whites at room temperature (work with the leftover whites)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (I have no idea where you might get this in Dhaka)


To get the Tart done combine the flour, 3 tbsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt in a bowl and freeze for 30 minutes. Blend with the butter and shortening in 10 short pulsing motions. The butter should be grainy and in small bits. Add the ice water and mix till a dough forms. Wrap and chill for 30.

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Here's a very basic link for heat conversions. Roll out your dough (if doing this for the first time, I recommend using baking sheets. That way the dough won't stick. Make sure you don't stretch the dough while placing it on the pan because it will shrink. Butter a side of aluminum foil, place the butter side on the tart and cover with beans, rice, a stone, I don't know. Bake blind for 10. Remove the paperweight. Prick the base with your fork. Bake another 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.

Move on to the Lime Filling by creaming the butter and sugar for a minute. Helps if you have an electric mixer. Add the eggs and yolks one by one. Add the zest, salt and juice. It's meant to look curdled.

Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Please do this right. It has be quick thick to set properly. Like thick caramel consistency. Don't allow it to boil - that will lead to lumps. Cool completely.

Pour into the prepared tart shell. For the Meringue, whip egg whites, cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp of salt until frothy (i.e. won't budge an inch even if the bowl's been turned upside down). Spread. (Oh thy dirty mind!) Bake for 3-5 minutes on the top rack until browned. Serve cooled.

Yes, I know. This is very easy to make. Haha!



Thursday, November 17

The Lazy Cake

I'm on the search for the perfect vanilla cake. You heard me. The Perfect Vanilla Cake. Not yellow, not chocolate, just honest vanilla. So far I've made only two vanilla cakes and endless chocolate ones. But this quest to conquer the vanilla is new to me. So I've been spending my time shuffling through my database - cookbooks, blogs and whatnot.

The morning went by chatting (up and) with Minu, a fellow foodie and writer (she promised to start her food blog...) and I may have told her that I'd be making a vanilla cake from Martha Stewart... but nawh, I figured I'd do something 'versatile' instead!

But I was feeling lazy. Rusty too. And I literally worked the cake out like a zombie. Thank Gawd the cake was easy! But funny story... and I have pictures to prove it too!


Here I am, taking the picture.


When all of a sudden Wafi, my nephew, ROBS me of the cake during the photo shoot! 


And I'm left with a holey cake. Holey Cow!



And the monster's back. For the whole thing this time! Ahh.. caught red-handed!

Adapted slightly from Martha Stewart
Here's what you need for The Lazy Cake: (good for one 2 inch by 9 inch cake)

115 g butter (I usually play guess with my knife)
11/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk and half of another (don't ask how I did this!)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup buttermilk (use yoghurt if unavailable)

Method:

1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by the one. And the yolks. Add the vanilla.

2. Separately sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt (if using). Alternate between the milk and the flour mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

3. Shove inside the preheated oven (at 180 C ). Bake for 30-32 minutes. Cool for 10.

The cake will come out moist and fluffy and really quite close to perfection. Cheers!

Sunday, October 23

So-So Strange Concoction

So really I was in the middle of making profiteroles - Banyan's favorite dessert - and the electricity went out right after I'd finished assembling the choux pastry. Bummer. And I was feeling a wee bit lazy. So I put a not-so-original spin on it. Really this was all Nigella Lawson's idea. I mean I remember watching her do this but I don't quite remember what she'd put into the recipe. So I guessed my way through *grin*


Mmm... oozy!


.........alright. Chocolate Sauce: Take any amount of chocolate. Dark, bittersweet, milk - any kind will do. Personally I favor dark. Melt in the microwave oven for a minute, stirring in between. Stir in a tablespoon of heavy cream and maybe a teaspoon of honey. Add cardamom and cinnamon dust and you're done!

Choux Pastry: Pour 150 ml water in a saucepan and add 1/4 cup butter. On medium low flame, melt the butter and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add 9 tablespoons of all purpose flour (all at once). Beat like crazy. Put back on the stove on medium flame. Keep beating until the sides of the dough come off. 

Take off the stove and leave out for 2/3 minutes to cool. Separately beat 2 eggs lightly. In 5 turns mix this into the flour-butter mixture. Beat after every turn until well incorporated. Drop into a pipping bag fitted with your biggest nozzle. 

Heat oil in a wok. When hot enough pipe out dollops of the dough and snip off with a pair of scissors. F ry till lightly browned. Drain on kitchen paper. Roll in a sand of brown sugar and cinnamon dust. 

Serve!


Monday, October 17

Sweet and Sour Prawns

It's been a while since I hosted the 'Chinese' party at our place and I've been meaning to post this for a while now. This recipe is just one that I came up with after reading many recipes for this dish. I'd made this with tomato sauce before but the pineapples were a revelation!



A rich, thick velvety consistency is what you'll be looking for :)


What you'll be needing when cooking for 12:

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
6 tbsp soy sauce
3 tsp brown sugar
6 tbsp corn flour mixed with 6 tbsp cold water
1 can (425g) pineapple pieces, drained; juice reserved
3 tbsp nut oil
3 clove of garlic, crushed
1 full piece ginger, finely grated
6 red chillies, deseeded and sliced
3 red pepper, sliced
600g raw peeled prawns
2 potatoes, peeled and diced (optional)*
12 spring onions, sliced lengthways, to serve

*I like using the potatoes to cut through the sweetness of the pineapple. Just a subtle hint of the sweetness is ideal!

                              Method:

1. Stir the vinegar, soya sauce, sugar, cornflour mix, pineapple juice and 300 ml water.

2. Heat a wok over high heat, add the oil along with the garlic, ginger and chili. Stir fry for 30 and add the pepper, potatoes (if using) and the pineapple. Cook for 2 minutes, add the sauce and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add the prawns, stir for 2-3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve with spring onions and sliced chili.

Cheers! ^.^


Sunday, October 16

Beef with Oyster Sauce and Black Mushrooms

So we had a Chinese night. But who stopped at going just Chinese? Amongst quite a lot of things here's something I made with beef, dried mushrooms and oyster sauce. Well, I May have used a few other ingredients. Actually the past Ramadan saw quite a lot of this dish. I'd whip it up most mornings for Banyan's lunch. Banyan. Mr. Banyan. I think I might call him that for a while. Got a nice ring to it, no? 

So he loves the beef. So I made plenty. So much that even after the party the night before, we have enough to spare for his lunch today. 


So this beef was born after reading many recipes. And even this one that I'm mapping out, I don't really make it exactly this way.


So really what I do is I buy a chunk of boneless premium beef cut. Any hard meat will do. Thaw it some, and then use my butcher knife to cut it into (uneven) steak size pieces and then get thin strips from each. You can always freeze this and just bring it out the day you're cooking.



Beef in Oyster Sauce and Black Mushrooms
Serves 4

Ingredients:
0.5 kilo beef meat, cut into thin strips

Marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Vegetables:
4 dried mushrooms, softened and sliced
1 green capsicum, thinly sliced
2-3 onions, cut into quarters
1 slice ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced

Sauce: (if you want more gravy, double the sauce but make sure you add enough water)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Oil for stir-frying

Preparation:

Combine the marinade ingredients and add to the beef, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate for 10 - 15 minutes.

While the beef is marinating, prepare the vegetables and mix together the sauce ingredients.

Heat wok and add oil. Add beef and stir fry until it changes color. When oil is hot, add garlic, ginger, green capsicum and onions, and stir-fry on high heat. Add the mushrooms.

Make a well in the middle of the wok and add the sauce, giving it a quick re-stir before adding. Stir sauce to thicken and mix with meat and vegetables. Serve hot.