Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baking Related #1

I have yet started another baking project for this month as life has been quite hectic and travel-y lately. I just got back from a 1 week vacation at my aunt's house in Johor. And then this month, a whole pile of assignments and presentations need to be done by the middle of next month. Apart from all that, I still have my thesis writing to do and my lab works to be completed. Just thinking about them gives me the headache. Urgh !


So enough about the rants of the non-baking world. 


Yesterday I paid a visit to MPH. I don't plan to buy any book as I have already bought an autobiography and a baking book (which have yet to arrive from Manchester). I straight away went to the cooking section and stumbled upon a baking book. It was Baking by Martha Day and contains 400 recipes of cookies, pies, tarts, cakes, you name it !




The book includes so many recipes that I'm intrigued to try so without having much thought I bought it in the hope of comparing it to my soon-to-be baking book.


I just hope that I will have time to bake all these pretty and delicious babies. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

I am a chocolate chic. Through and through. I love to have chocolate in my dessert. It is kind of hard to find a dessert with no chocolate in it that I would like to bake. And now I am trying to bake recipes that have chocolate and other flavour. Let's see what compliments chocolate the best. ( I am sure there are plenty out there ! )


So for this week, I baked Chocolate Orange Cupcakes ! One of the flavours that I think really get along tremendously with chocolate besides peanut butter. While I was baking the cupcakes, the kitchen have an orange-y smell to it which I absolutely LOVE. 




I used the recipe from a Cupcake and Muffin book my sister bought few years back when she was in baking-a-cupcake-frenzy-but-never-bake-any era. The book just sit on top of our wardrobe, collecting dusts. The book is published by Top That! Publishing plc. 


Okay moving on....


Here are the ingredients :
  • 60 gram milk chocolate ( I used Hershey's Milk Chocolate chips )
  • 1 tspn orange rind ( I used 2 medium sized oranges to get 1 tspn )
  • 155 ml orange juice 
  • 90 gram butter, softened
  • 225 gram brown sugar ( I used 150 gram granulated sugar blended to powdery form because that's the only sugar left in the kitchen )
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 gram self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 30 gram ground almonds ( I omitted this )

Topping :
  • 150 gram butter, softened
  • 250 gram icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp hot water 

Methods :

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. I set my microwave oven to 170 degrees C because it can't be set to 175. Put paper cases in the muffin tin. I used IKEA's muffin tin which is a lot smaller in diameter and deeper in depth.

2. Place chocolate, orange rind and orange juice in small sauce pan. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Leave to cool slightly.

3. Put softened butter, sugar and eggs in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

4. Sift in flour and cocoa powder into butter mixture. Add ground almond and chocolate mixture. Mix until just combined.

5. Use teaspoon to transfer equal amounts of mixture to paper cases. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes.

6. Leave to cool on a wire rack before frosting.

7. For the topping, beat together butter and sugar. Combine the cocoa powder and water, and add to the mixture. Beat until smooth and creamy. Swirl over cupcakes.




I left the cupcakes as it is because I ran out of sugar and was not in the mood to go to the grocery store. Just have to make do with plain cupcakes.


A very easy recipe with basic ingredients. If you are fully equipped, then you will have no problem doing this. As for me, well I wasn't fully equipped for baking because I don't own a mixer. Not even those handheld ones. So basically all I have been using to mix the ingredients are my trusted rubber spatula and wooden spoon. A few problems arises for me when baking the cupcakes.


When I (tried to) beat the butter mixture, the butter just wouldn't combine properly with the sugar and eggs. There were so many lumps and no matter how long I beat they were still there, floating around as if they were mocking my incapability to beat them properly. 


So I just leave it like that and straight away move on to the next step. Okay so there's one.


The second problem is purely my fault because I copied the baking time wrong. Instead of 25 minutes it was 12-15 minutes. I can't seem to remember why I wrote that. So I set the timer to 20 minutes of baking time and when the time is up I checked the cupcakes and they were underbaked. 


I put them back in the oven and set another 15 minutes. After that it seemed okay because the top was firm and I leave the cupcakes to cool before indulge myself. But then, I was dissapointed when the center of it is still underbaked ! The center of the cupcakes is in between baked and underbaked. 




I was so lazy to pop it in the oven again, so I just ate them like that. But the taste, the taste was to die for. It is exactly like what I had imagined it would taste ! 


Although they were underbaked with no cute, fun toppings, I still like how they taste. So this is a keeper !




PS : I have already eaten 3 ! One while they came out from the oven. Another when I was waiting for them to cool down. And another after they completely cooled. Yummsss !

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oven Baked Chocolate Chip Pancake Cake

Yesterday I had a strong urge to eat pancake. I'm not those type of person who categorizes dishes according to time of the day. I usually eat whatever I want whenever I want. Most people would say pancakes are best eaten during breakfast. But I'd say pancakes are best eaten ANYTIME of the day. Be it breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Pancakes make a good dessert too, if you serve them like I do. Chocolate all the way !


Psstt...don't mind me. I don't eat healthily so that's why I don't care much of what I eat. 


So yesterday I made this gorgeous, yummy pancake cake. I love pancakes but it's very tedious to prepare them the usual way. Pour one ladle of batter on the pan and wait for it to be golden brown, flip it over and wait some more. That way is definitely not for me. So I went on google oven-baked pancakes and voila ! Thousands of recipes to choose from. Me likey ! In the end, I chose a recipe that makes the pancake cake just the way I want it. Basically, I just need to know what temperature I should heat my oven to and how long should I bake the pancake. 


When I look at the end result it looked pretty blah to me. So I decided to put some chocolate layer on top of the cake. I melt some semisweet chocolate chip and pour them on top of the cake.
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TADAAA !!!




The cake can be enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate and your favourite book. Yummmssss !




Everyone in the house loves it. Even my dad ! He usually tend to not eat anything that I cook that is out of the ordinary. When I cooked pasta, he never eat them. When I baked brownies, he didn't touch them. But last night, when I was helping myself to second he asked me to cut him a slice. Wow whee ! Imagine how glad I was.


It made me very happy when someone appreciates what I cooked. =)



So the ingredients are....
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk pancake mix ( I used the ones that just need to add water )
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar ( I used 1 1/2 tbsp. )
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chip


Methods
1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celcius. Grease cake pan with butter and make sure you cover all the surface of the cake pan. This to ensure your pancake will not stick to the pan. If using nonstick, it is also advisable to grease the pan lightly. ( I used 8 inch round nonstick cake pan. )

2. Mix all the ingredients except chocolate chips until completely well mixed. Then, fold in the chocolate chips into the pancake mixture.

3. Pour the batter in the cake pan and place the pan in the oven for 22-25 minutes. ( I left the pan in the oven for 23 minutes. )

4. Cool for a while before serve.

Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Two weeks ago I borrowed my aunt's square cake tin to make chocolate brownies. No, not from scratch. As an introduction to baking I used the Betty Crocker's Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix. You know, just to see whether I have the potential of a baker.


So, the ingredients are.....

  • 1 box of Betty Crocker Hershey's Chocolate Chunk browne mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg ( I used 2 eggs for more cakelike brownies )
  • Butter / cooking spray for greasing the pan


Method....

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Grease cake pan with butter and make sure you cover all the surface of the cake pan. This to ensure your brownie will not stick to the pan. If using nonstick, it is also advisable to grease the pan lightly. ( I used 13 inches square pan. The brownie turned out to be thinner than usual brownies. )

2. Mix all the ingredients, except butter, in a mixing bowl until completely mixed together.

3. Pour the batter in the greased cake pan. Make sure the edges of the pan is covered by the batter.

4. Place the pan in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle came out with a few crumbs on it. ( I put inserted the toothpick after 23 minutes and it came out clean. )

5. Cool the brownies in the pan on the cooling rack before cutting it.


What was the ending product look like ?
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TADAAAAAA !!!




I didn't came up with the frosting or anything because there was no whipped cream/heavy cream/chocolate bars can be found in the kitchen. I find the texture a little on the fudgy side instead of cakelike. I don't know where I went wrong, but in the end the brownies tasted good. I don't mind making it again next time. 

A brand new start.

So for these past few weeks I have been inspired to be in the kitchen and produce myself all the favourite dishes and desserts that caught my attention. Be warn that I have zero knowledge of baking and cooking that the kitchen is a lot of mess whenever I set foot in it to (attempt) cook. So do not expect anything gourmet or upscale recipes here. 


I have always loved baking. Not the act of baking per se, but the idea of it. My aunt has been baking layer cakes since forever ! Maybe all these years growing up watching and tasting her delicious, scrumptious cakes that I have developed my fondness to baking. Only this year that I have the courage to actually attempt on baking anything.


My mother is fully on-board with this project of mine that she doesn't mind spending some of her money to buy the utensils that are needed in order for me to proceed. I know that deep down she would like to bake too, but she's too a pessimist to act upon her desire. She just thinks too much before doing something and not much of a risk taker, that's all. I think she channelled her desire through me, which explains why she supports what I intended to do.


The idea of writing a blog for my baking project is solely to record what I have accomplished. I don't think my blog is worthy enough to be followed, like other baking blogs that I have been reading lately. Bisous A Toi, Bakerella, Bakingdom, Sprinkle Bakes and Closet Cooking to name a few. Those blog owners really know what they are doing and produce a well-balanced recipes and creative as well. They really inspired the baker in me.


Besides brushing up my baking (and cooking) skills, I intended to practice my photography as well. Most food blogger photographs their food to make sure the readers are intrigued by the photos. I sure did when I went through those food blogs. It made me want to produce the same food myself. So, yeah. to learn more on food photography is definitely in my to-do list.


Again, I would like to remind you that all the recipes in this blog will be posted for my record.