Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Quezo Ube cake

Do you know what mantecado is?  

The one and only thing I can say about mantecado is that it's an ice cream flavour I remember eating when I was young, but what it is exactly, I really don't know.  Based on my internet research, it seems that mantecado can mean slightly different things depending on what culture you are from.  For Filipinos, it is mostly associated with, as I've already mentioned, an ice cream flavour which translates to "butter vanilla".  It is creamier than regular vanilla ice cream because it is made with eggs and whole milk. Some refer to it as French vanilla.  

The Quezo-Ube cake of Goldilocks Bakeshop in the Philippines is frosted and filled with a mantecado buttercream. For me, not only is the flavour combination of cheese and purple yam a little intriguing, the so-called mantecado buttercream has gotten me curious as well.  This cake has been on my list of "to clone even though I have not tasted" cakes for a while now. 

The Creamy Quezo Ube cake from Goldilocks.

As a buttercream, I reckon the closest to mantecado is the French type, one that is made with eggyolks and has a very rich, buttery taste.  This is the same buttercream used in Sans Rival.   I could be wrong though.  Perhaps those who have tasted mantecado buttercream can enlighten me.

What about the cakes?  I've mastered the ube cake ages ago.  As for the quezo chiffon cake, it took me four tries before I was finally happy with the taste and texture.  I found that the amount and kind of cheese needed to be right in order for the chiffon to remain light and soft and for the flavour to be apparent without being too savoury. (Note: This is NOT the same quezo chiffon cake in the Frosted Heaven eBook.  That one was fashioned from a different cake in another bakeshop/cafe.)  

My own take on the cake.  No sprinkles on this one!

For the quezo chiffon cake, I used grated parmesan cheese like this...

Maybe some of you will question my choice but I decided on this one because, as the label indicates, this parmesan cheese has a "strong, bold flavour".  Based on the smell alone, I knew that a little amount will go a long way.  Also, it is very finely grated, making it easy to evenly incorporate into the cake batter.  If ever you decide to make this cake, I would recommend that you use the same brand to get the same results as mine. Be mindful about using other parmesan cheese brands, particularly the cheap, supermarket kind.  Those taste more of salt rather than cheese!  One other thing - I also cannot guarantee success if you use other types of cheese.  

Anyway, enough of that introduction.  Let's first learn how to make the quezo chiffon cake, shall we? I prepared this one a little differently than my usual chiffon, so please don't skip reading through the procedure.

QUEZO (CHEESE) CHIFFON CAKE (makes one 8x3 round cake)

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons white sugar

4 egg yolks, from large eggs, at room temperature* 
¼ cup corn/canola oil
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 40g)

4 eggwhites*
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

6 tablespoons white sugar

*Weight of one egg is approximately 55-60g.  Labelled as LARGE in some places but XL eggs in Australia.

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine {A} well. In another bowl, whisk to combine {B}. Make sure the cheese is mixed in well and is lump-free.
3. Add mixture {B} into {A}. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
4. In a separate bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Pour batter into an ungreased 8” round, 3” high pan.
5. Bake for about 50 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely.
6. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan and invert cake onto a large serving plate. **Tip: For easier handling, wrap your cake very well in cling film, then refrigerate overnight before frosting.

To make the Quezo Ube cake:

1.  You need to bake one quezo chiffon cake and one 8" round ube chiffon cake (half of recipe here but use 4 eggs).

2.  You also need to make French vanilla buttercream.  Same procedure as the buttercream here but use these amounts for a slightly larger batch:

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2T water
4 eggyolks
1 whole egg
1 1/2 cups butter (340g), softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add in the vanilla extract after all the butter has been incorporated.

3. Cut your ube and quezo chiffon cakes in half or in whatever thickness you prefer.  Mine are 1 1/2" high layers.  Set aside the excess layers for future use or for snacking.

Place the ube cake layer in your cake board, spread some buttercream, then top with the quezo cake layer.

4. Crumb coat the cake then chill in the fridge for a few minutes.

5.  Cover the entire cake smoothly with buttercream.  You don't need a thick coat as this buttercream is very rich. Remember to leave enough for the borders and decorations.

6.  If desired, use a cake comb to make a pattern on the cake top and sides. (Sorry, I did not do a very good job on my cake top!)

7.  Place a small amount of buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a rosette border around the top edge. (I used a tip 18 for small rosettes because I feared I did not have enough buttercream but a tip 21 would have been a better size.)

If you have yellow and purple sprinkles, now is the time to splash them onto the cake sides!

8. Colour 3/4 of your remaining buttercream PURPLE and the rest YELLOW. (I used Americolor regal purple and egg yellow.)

9.  Pipe a purple shell border using tip 21 along the cake bottom.

10.  Pipe 8 equally spaced small yellow rosebuds with purple leaves on top of the rosette border. (I know my flowers do not actually look like rosebuds, but they will have to do! The flower decors on Goldilocks' cake do not appear to be piped buttercream but are most likely moulded.  Sugar or chocolate, I can't really tell.)

There. Now you're done!


Have fun trying this one out!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Funfetti Chiffon Cake

Funfetti (or confetti) cake, in case you didn't know, is simply a white/vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles. 

From the outside, it looks like a very ordinary birthday cake...

Because the "fun" is actually on the inside.

Truth is, I don't even like vanilla cake all that much.  What made this particular cake that I made more special, was not the sprinkles.  It was the frosting! Cream cheese Swiss meringue buttercream.

Cream cheese frosting is quite tangy and at the same time, very sweet.  The SMBC version is barely sweet with only a hint of cream cheese.  It is also really very light,,,you would want to eat it with a spoon!

To make this cake, you will need to bake the usual vanilla chiffon (recipe here).  I used two 6x3 round cake pans because I wanted a small cake with more layers. One 8" round will do as well, that is, if you intend to have only 2 layers.

When making the vanilla chiffon, fold in 1/4 cup of sprinkles to the eggyolk batter, along with the last addition of eggwhites.

Your final batter will look something like this.  You can certainly use more sprinkles, if you prefer.

Here are my two 6" cakes after they have cooled down.

To make the CREAM CHEESE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM, you need to make a batch of the usual SMBC (recipe here). 

Transfer your SMBC to another bowl.  Using the same mixing bowl and beater you used to make your SMBC (I did not find washing them necessary!), beat 125 grams of soft, room temperature cream cheese until it is very smooth.

With mixer on medium-low speed, add in your SMBC to the cream cheese, one tablespoon at a time. After the last addition, increase speed to high and beat mixture until it is light and creamy.  The consistency is somewhat like stiff whipped cream.  It is soft but pipeable.

Now taste that.  What do you think?

If you want a bit more tang, you can add in some lemon extract.  Or you can probably even use more cream cheese. Personally, I already love it as is.

To assemble the Funfetti cake:

Cut your two 6" cakes (or one 8")  in half. For my cake, I only wanted three layers.  

Spread frosting on each layer and stack them as pictured.

Crumb coat then chill cake in the fridge for a few minutes.

Do a final coat of frosting and decorate as you wish!

That would make a great birthday cake for kids, wouldn't it?  Enjoy!

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!