Monday, August 3, 2015

Cookie Overload Cake


Image credit: Baskin Robbins website

As mentioned in my previous post, the Cookie Overload cake is a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. In their website, this cake is described as "a combination of Chocolate and Vanilla Cookies 'n Cream ice cream, frosted with chocolate whipped cream topping and garnished with chocolate cookie crumbs and whole chocolate sandwich cookies."

Translated into chiffon cake, this is what I came up with.  

Very similar in appearance to the ice cream cake though a bit darker.
To be honest, there is no reason to get all excited over this cake! It is nothing new really - basically the same inside as this other cake.  The only differences are: 1) the frosting (which is actually made in the same way but with cocoa powder added to it); and 2) how the Oreo cookies are used for garnishing.

To make this cake, you will need more Oreo cookies, about 22-27 in total - 9 for the vanilla-Oreo chiffon, 12 for crushing and 1 (or up to 6) for garnishing.

First thing you need to do is bake your two cakes - one 8" round chocolate chiffon cake (recipe here) and one 8" round vanilla chiffon cake (recipe here).  As suggested by one of our readers, fold 9 (instead of 6) coarsely chopped up Oreo cookies into the vanilla chiffon cake batter. 

Before starting to assemble your cake, it is best to get the crushed up Oreos ready.  To do this, you need to remove the cream centers of 12 Oreos. Place the separated cookies in a Ziploc bag and bash with a rolling pin until they turn into a combination of small and finely crushed pieces..


Next, prepare your chocolate whipped cream.  For my frosting, I made the mistake of using 1/2 cup of dutch-processed cocoa powder which actually was a bit too much - the cream ended up with a slight bitter taste and also, it became darker than it needed to be.  To repair it, I had to add a little more whipping cream and sugar.  Thankfully, it turned out ok.


When making your chocolate whipped cream, use the same recipe here but beat in just 1/4 cup up to a maximum of 3/8 cup of cocoa powder with the cream cheese. Proceed with the rest of the steps in the same manner.  In order to get a smooth frosting, it is important that the cocoa powder is very well incorporated with the cream cheese before adding it into the whipped cream. 

To assemble the cake, you can trim the two chiffon cakes to 2" high.  (This is actually just my preference.  You can use half of each cake or whatever height you prefer.)  Place your chocolate layer onto the cake board, spread some of the chocolate whipped cream, then top with the vanilla-Oreo layer.


Next, cover the whole cake smoothly with the chocolate whipped cream. (I didn't bother to crumb coat, so the side of my cake is not perfectly crumb-free!)


Take your reserved crushed Oreos and gently press them onto the lower third of your cake.  This step is messy so make sure you have a tray underneath to catch all the excess cookie crumbs.


Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (like 1M) with the remaining chocolate whipped cream. Pipe a shell border around the cake bottom and six equally spaced swirls along the top edge.  In between each swirl, scatter more of the crushed cookies.  Garnish with whole Oreos - use just one cookie if you want the Baskin Robbins look or add 5 more for a more balanced finish.


A cake slice looks like this.


I know it's not a very clean representation of the cut cake but you get the picture, don't you?


Hope you like it!

Friday, July 31, 2015

The month of July

July is always a busy month for our family.  Two of my kids were born on this month - my daughter on the 28th and my second son, on the 31st. This year was extra special as my daughter turned 18.

Being an only girl, you might think that we had big plans to celebrate my daughter's birthday.  To be honest, we didn't. Early this year, she went on a study tour to Greece and Italy and I really thought that was it.  No more big party.  After all, the trip was already a huge expense.  My daughter herself was very undecided on whether she wanted a party or not.  Since all her friends were turning 18, nearly all the weekends already had parties scheduled and she couldn't be bothered thinking about what else to do.  

We weren't keen on preparing anything until a friend asked us about it (around end of June) and convinced us to give our daughter some loving attention by throwing her a party.  She was right. 

Come first week of July, I unexpectedly got sick.  Sick enough to be hospitalized.  I suddenly had severe stomach pain one night, went to the hospital a day after to see a doctor, given a blood test and ultrasound and was admitted then and there!  The next day, I underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, or in lay man's terms, a gallbladder removal surgery.  My surgery lasted for almost 4 hours (when normally the procedure only takes one hour) as the surgeon said, my gallbladder was very, very inflammed and infected. I really don't get sick ever so this was all a big shock to me!

While in hospital, plans for a surprise birthday party for my daughter went underway.  Imagine me, as soon as I got home to recover, texting all of my daughter's friends, printing out invitations and handmaking giveways while she was at school.  My husband took care of booking the venue and then for the next 2 weeks, woke up at around 4am everyday to quietly work on a video presentation before going to work. 

I am not going to go into details anymore of how the whole scheme was carried out but suffice it to say that the party was a huge success!  My daughter was clueless and was totally surprised!  Wish I could share with you the video of when she entered the venue and also photos of the party itself, but for privacy reasons, I'd rather not.  It was a fun night with lots of food, a photo booth, touching videos and well wishes even from family in the Philippines.  It was a small celebration shared only with the most significant people in my daughter's life. 

Given my recent surgery, I had little energy to bake and decorate a cake BUT of course, I just had to!  Here's the cake I secretly made for the occasion.  I made it to match the colours of the invitation.


It's small (8") and simple but I loved how the bright colours really popped out.


We didn't serve this cake as there were loads of desserts in the venue.  I sliced it all up and gave it away for some of the guests to take home.  Unfortunately, I don't have photos of the cut cake but it looked really good inside - 4 beautiful layers of green tea cake!

Today, the 31st, it's my son's turn.  He's 20 now! For him, I made another Baskin Robbins-inspired cake.  


It's kind of another version of the cookies and cream but Baskin Robbins calls their ice cream cake, Cookie Overload.  You can understand why just by looking at it.


My cake has two 2" layers of chiffon - chocolate at the bottom and vanilla-Oreo at the top.  It is filled and frosted with chocolate whipped cream and garnished with Oreo crumbs.  It looked a little bit weird with just one whole cookie on top so I added more cookies to finish off.


I will share how I did this cake on my next post, which hopefully will be within the next few days. I took some photos of the process so yes, I intend to be back with them soon!

In case you might want to know, I am feeling ok now.  My incisions have healed well and I am now able to eat normally.  I lost some weight without meaning to and I must say, it is one good thing that came out of being sick!  I am back to doing the usual stuff (except heavy lifting) but I am taking a rest from selling cakes. Understandable, right? Baking once in a while is fine but for now, just for family only!

Hope all of you are well.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Buttercream rose wreath

The reason I have never posted any cake decorating tutorials here before is because I really don't consider myself a cake decorator.  I love to make cakes and if it just so happens that I am asked to decorate it a certain way, then I do so.  I tend to keep my decorations very simple.  I don't like over the top, excessive decorations that cannot even be eaten. 

Today I have decided to share a bit of cake decorating because I think this technique is something that any homebaker can try doing - a buttercream rose wreath!  It seems this type of decoration is trending lately.  Quite lovely really.

To start with, you need to pipe lots of buttercream roses, preferably in different sizes. (Actually, you don't have to limit yourself to roses.  A variety of flowers will look even lovelier.)


For the roses pictured above, I used the Swiss meringue buttercream with shortening recipe that I shared here a while back.  If you have tried using this recipe and have had problems with it being too soft for piping, I suggest you use butter and shortening that are not too soft.  The recipe works perfectly for me but you can certainly use whatever buttercream recipe that suits you! 

After piping your roses, set them aside in the fridge to harden while you frost your cake.

My cake is a three-layered 8" cake.  You can, of course, choose to decorate a smaller or larger cake. The larger it is, the more roses you will need.

Pipe a round border around the cake top about 1" in from the edge.  Here I used a piping bag with a coupler but simply snipping off the end of your piping bag will work as well.  This border is where your flowers will rest onto, so make it thick enough.


Once your roses have hardened, position them one by one on top of the border.  Place them at different angles, some facing out, some facing in, some just upright.


Continue positioning the roses, placing the smaller sized ones in gaps, until you have gone around the entire edge.


Now fill the smaller gaps with leaves using green buttercream and a piping bag fitted with a leaf tip 352.  Alternatively, you can also pipe tiny flowers like blossoms, hydraengeas,etc, to cover the gaps.


That looks quite pretty, doesn't it? Not perfect, but just the same, pretty.

Here is my finished cake.  It's actually for a 70th birthday. Peach and fuschia are apparently the celebrant's favourite colours. (My fuschia is a little off, I think, but it will have to do!)





Clean and simple.  Just the way I like it.

Hope you learned something new to try.  Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ube cupcakes

What a long day it was yesterday!  We invited friends over for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.  Naturally, I had to wake up early to start cooking and preparing.  I used up all my grated ube on hand to make puto and totally forgot that a friend had asked me to make ube cupcakes for today (Monday).  So after all our guests had left (which was already late afternoon), I had to make a quick trip to the Asian shop to buy grated ube.

To be honest, I have not made ube cupcakes before.  I told my friend that if she really wanted ube cupcakes, I would have to experiment.  But really, I had no time to experiment at all! It was a risk. I had to make good in one go as I could not afford and had no more extra time for mistakes!

After dinner last night, even if I was already so tired and sleepy, I went ahead and made the cupcakes.  I have been asked many times if the vanilla cupcake recipe I posted here before can be altered to make them ube.  This is my first time to try.  Well, let's see how it went...


How does it look to you?




The cupcake was moist with a tight crumb.  Even if I added a bit more baking powder, I really did not expect it to be the super soft and fluffy type because of the added ube.  Even my ube chiffon cake is a bit more dense (though still soft) than plain chiffon cake.  The cupcake did taste very much like ube though which I guess is the most important thing.  One other thing I especially liked is that the cupcakes were purple all the way through, from the tops, to the sides, to the insides, to the bottoms. No browning whatsoever that is very typical with other ube cupcakes I've seen on the web.


I paired the cupcakes with the usual whipped cream frosting, the same I use for my ube cake.  This is the only kind of frosting I like with ube.  Buttercream with ube doesn't quite work for me personally.

I'm not going to claim that this is the best ube cupcake you can make.  I know it can still be improved somehow.  For now, however, it's worth a try if you are up for some experimenting.  Let me know if you do.

UBE (PURPLE YAM) CUPCAKES (makes about 20)

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon ube flavouring
1/4 tsp violet powdered food colour or gel paste
100 grams grated ube
1 cup buttermilk

Procedure:
1.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  Line muffin trays with baking cups.
2.  In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Set aside.
3.  Using an electric mixer,  starting from a low speed gradually increasing to high, cream butter and sugar together until very light in colour and fluffy.  
4.  With mixer turned down to medium-low speed, beat in eggs one at a time.  Add in ube flavouring, violet food colour then the grated ube .
5.  In three additions, alternately add in flour mixture and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape bowl as needed to ensure that everything is incorporated well.  After the last addition, beat at high speed for the last time for about 45-60 seconds.
6.  Fill each baking cup with the cupcake batter about 3/4 full.
7.  Bake for about 22-25 minutes.  Transfer each cupcake immediately to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make 3/4 recipe of the Whipped Cream frosting here.  Use to frost each cupcake.  If desired, crumble one cupcake and use the crumbs for garnishing.


PS. Hope all of you readers are doing well!  It's been a long time.

For other things UBE: chiffon cake, puto, cake roll.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Eggyolks (and how I sometimes not waste them)

Almost every weekend, after finishing all my buttercream covered cake orders, I am left with a container of eggyolks.  I am not always in the mood to cook something up so at times, these eggyolks go to waste unfortunately.  My excuse - it's collateral damage.  My husband doesn't approve of waste so he sometimes eats them (inspite of the cholesterol overload).  Lately, he has been asking if he can put them in his worm farm (but only if I wasn't going to use them for something else.)

When I have time and am not lazy, I use the eggyolks to make one of two things or on occasion, I make both, like yesterday.


You already know that I have the best ensaymada recipe, right? (If you don't, then better head on to the recipe here!) This used to be considered a treat in our household but now, it has become a regular thing because of the abundance of eggyolks.

Most people find it daunting to even think about making ensaymada.  I also felt that way before. These days, however, I have eliminated the stress by preparing them in stages.  I stop when I have to and simply put the dough in the fridge to rise overnight then continue the next day.


Last week, for instance, my dough was already coiled and in their individual tins.  As it was already quite late, I just left them in the fridge for the night, took them out early the next morning (I got up just to take them out then went back to sleep.) and let them sit at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours before I baked them.  They were ready just in time for breakfast.

With my most recent batch (the ones pictured here), I kept the dough in the fridge overnight and coiled them the following day.  They took so long to rise in the tins, probably because the dough was really cold and the weather was quite cold too.  The ensaymadas weren't ready till afternoon!  


While waiting for my ensaymadas, I used some of the other eggyolks to make another treat.


Lemon curd!  My daughter and I absolutely love this stuff on toast.  Or sometimes, we just eat it straight from the jar, in a spoon.  I know it's also great as a cake filling but I haven't tried that yet.


See how creamy that is?  It is super easy to make and a great way to use those eggyolks.  (The fact that we have two lemon trees is another plus for us.)  If you want to make one, I highly recommend this recipe.  

I'm sure there are tons of other uses for eggyolks.  These two are just my favourite ones.  Any other great ideas, please feel free to share on the comments section below!  Not leche flan, please! :)

Have a good week!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mocha cake roll

Last Sunday, my brother and his wife celebrated their silver wedding anniversary.  After renewing their wedding vows amongst retired priests and nuns, we proceeded to their home where their friends (lots of them!) were waiting to celebrate the occasion with them.  As you would expect, I volunteered to make a cake for them.  I didn't have much time to fuss about this cake as the night before, it was also my eldest son's 21st birthday party.  We were all so busy and tired and lacked sleep.  I had to get up at 6am the next morning to finish my brother's cake.


Their family friends love my mocha cake and so that is what I made for them.  Not until they started asking if the roses totalled 25 (because it was for a 25th anniversary) did I realize that I should have thought of doing that!  I simply divided the cake into equal, even sections and was one rose short :(! 



Before the cake was served, I was babysitting this adorable 9-month old baby girl.  She fell asleep in my arms and I didn't want to put her down as everyone was so noisy.  So for the next 2 hours (I think), I just sat there, happily staring at this cute bundle of joy.  They served the cake during this time and I didn't even get to taste it! It was actually a pretty funny sight, seeing all those people with their little plates all lined up waiting for their turn to get a slice. :)))  Just like that, the cake was all gone.

Well anyway, today I decided to make mocha cake just because I didn't get to eat some the other day.  Instead of making it into the usual cake, I rolled it up just like I did the ube cake in my last post.  


I prefer leaving the roll unfrosted because the filling and the rosettes on top (garnished with chocolate flakes) is more than enough buttercream for me.


I didn't take step by step pictures.  I won't put the recipe here as well.  The process is the same as the ube cake roll and the recipe is basically the same as the mocha chiffon cake, except that the cake flour is down to 1 cup (instead of 1 1/8).  The Swiss meringue buttercream is also the same, just flavoured with 1 tablespoon of instant coffee powder that has been dissolved in a little hot water.  If you want to frost the entire cake with buttercream, you will have to make more, perhaps one and a half recipe.  I had some leftover SMBC but that amount isn't enough to cover the whole cake.



If you are a mocha cake lover, you might want to try this sometime.  It's nothing fancy and you don't even need decorating skills to do it.  I'm sure you will like it.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Ube cake roll

This will be my last post for 2014.  I do not know WHEN I will be back or IF I will be back.  At this point, I feel I just need time to reassess whether this blog is still something I want to continue in the coming year or if I would want to do something else.

After a year that has been totally overflowing with cakes and more, it is but fitting to finish off with a last recipe. This is my end-of-the-year gift to all of you.

An ube cake roll!  Simple but lovely and tasty as it is.  No frosting needed.  No frills.  


The cake is basically made in the same way as the normal ube chiffon cake, except that it has a little less flour.  This adjustment allows for a more flexible, easier to roll cake.


Something new I learned from making the deco roll cakes is that it is really not necessary to roll the cake straightaway.  Normally, with jelly/swiss roll cakes, you would need to roll the cake in parchment paper or a tea towel dusted with icing sugar while still hot so the cake will cool down in this shape and will be easier to re-roll once filled.  What I found out is that all you need to do is loosely cover the cake with parchment paper while it is cooling down in a wire rack to keep the moisture in but at the same time, letting heat escape. It does work!

I've never really had much success with roll cakes until recently, so I hope you will get to try this cake and be happy with it just like me! :)

Here goes:

For the chiffon cake:

Ingredients:

{A}
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

{B}
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup vegetable/canola oil
1/3 cup milk
50 grams grated purple yam
1/2 teaspoon ube flavouring
1/4 teaspoon violet gel paste or food powder

{C}
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

{D}
3/8 cup sugar

Procedure:

1.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.  Line a 10"x15"x1" or 11"x16"x1" jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Grease parchment paper with a little oil.

My baking pan is actually a 10"x14"x1 1/2" so the resulting cake is a little bit thicker than what is ideal.

2.  In a large bowl, combine {A} well.  Add in {B}.  Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
3.  In a separate bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy.  Gradually add in {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed.  Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture.  Pour batter into prepared jelly roll pan then spread evenly to the sides.  Bang pan on the counter a few times to dislodge air bubbles.


4.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.


5.  Cover the top of the pan with a new piece of parchment paper then invert onto a wire rack. Unmould the cake then immediately peel off the parchment paper from the bottom.


6.  Cover the cake with another piece of parchment paper.  Leave to cool just until it is no longer warm to the touch, about 15-20 minutes.


While waiting for the cake to cool down, prepare your whipped cream filling.  You can make half the stable whipped cream recipe here or if you want something simpler, you can just use this.

Whipped cream filling:

1 1/4 cups thickened or whipping cream, very cold
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Combine ingredients in a cold mixing bowl.  Beat until stiff.


To assemble cake:

**It is best to assemble the cake as soon as it is no longer warm.  The longer the cake sits, the drier it will become and will most likely crack when rolled.

Carefully flip the cake over.


Spread about 3/4 of the whipped cream filling evenly on the cake, leaving about an inch space at the top.


Starting from the side nearest you and using the parchment paper as a guide, gently roll the cake.


This is what the newly-rolled cake looks like from the side.

Refrigerate the cake for about an hour to allow it to firm up a bit and make it easier to handle.  Chill the remaining whipped cream as well.

Unwrap the parchment paper then trim about an inch off the two ends.  Transfer cake to a serving tray.

Doesn't that look just perfect?

Fill a small piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the remaining whipped cream then pipe out rosettes along the top of the cake roll.  Top each rosette with a macapuno ball, if desired.


Keep the cake covered to retain its soft and moist state. Serve chilled to enjoy it at its best!



A blessed 2015 to all!