Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two Special Cakes for Two Special Kids

Not exactly kids anymore.

My daughter Missy turned 13 on the 28th.  We got her all girly things fit for a new teenager...a nice shirt paired with black denim jeans, a small shoulder bag, a wallet, a book on "becoming a teen with passion and purpose", and a Little Kitchen children's cookbook

I also made her a birthday cake, of course....chocolate chiffon with strawberry whipped cream filling and frosting.

I, daresay, this is one of the best cakes I have ever made!  I love how it is clean and simple, with a taste so light and fresh.  Everybody raved about it!

Today, the 31st, is my son Joseph's turn to celebrate his birthday.  He turned 15.  He has the biggest appetite in the family but thankfully, he is also the sportiest one.  He loves basketball, footy and soccer.  We gave him a Pulse Heart Rate monitor/watch which I think really suits him.  He would certainly love to know how many calories he burns each time he is active!

I asked Joseph a few weeks ago what cake theme he preferred, LA Lakers or his favourite AFL club.  He chose the Essendon Bombers!  So, red and black it was...

This is a three layered red velvet cake frosted with boiled icing. 

It was a really bit too sweet for me!  I think for this one, I was more concerned with getting the colours right rather than making something I would love to eat a lot of!

The next birthday in the family is more than two months away.  Whew! That would at least give me time to rest from cake-making and hopefully, time as well to lose the kilos I've gained from eating so much cake!

We're off now to eat dinner out. Enjoy the weekend!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Egg-free baking

Up until I was asked for one, I had not baked nor tasted an eggless cake ever.  Eggs have always been a vital part of my cakes especially since I like them light and fluffy (as with chiffon).  I agreed to make one without eggs, though with much reluctance, because I saw this as an opportunity to learn something new.

I found out that there are, in fact, a number of egg substitutes in cooking.  I am not about to list them here as there are already a lot of websites particularly dedicated to this. After doing some research, my inclination was to either use egg replacer or flaxseeds.

I set out to experiment on an eggless carrot cake.  To say the least, my first two attempts were disastrous!  I tried two different recipes but used egg replacer for both.  The first cake was way too oily.  The second, on the other hand, was very heavy, much like pudding. I was so frustrated I fed the cakes to the birds!

On my third attempt, I switched to flaxseeds.  I went back to the first recipe, using much less oil this time (1 cup vegetable oil rather than 1 1/2).

Well, lo and behold, as I took out the cakes from the oven, I saw cakes that looked and felt "normal"...nice smooth tops, soft to the touch.  These had to be it!

I iced the cake with whipped cream stabilized with cream cheese.  I know that carrot cake is traditionally frosted with cream cheese frosting but I just find its taste too overpowering so I switched to something lighter.  It was heavenly!

This was how my finished cake looked like.

I wasn't allowed to use nuts as well so I opted to garnish the cake sides with toasted coconut flakes.

I didn't get to taste the cake and was really anxious as to whether it was good or not.  Thankfully, those who got to eat it loved it!  I was told that it tasted no different from the normal carrot cake.  They loved the frosting as well.

So that's it.  Another chapter of my continuing learning experience.  This week, I will be baking for two birthdays, my daughter's and my second son's.  To those who have requested for the recipe of my purple yam (ube) cake, please be patient.  I will get that up on this site soon!  I am also working on a new eBook.  Hopefully, will complete that within a week or so.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Perfect Dinner Rolls

My eldest son had all of his 4 wisdom teeth surgically extracted last Saturday morning.  Except for the normal swelling, he seems to be really recovering very well.  Not a single complaint.

Francis is simply like that.  Very quiet, very much like me.  He just goes about his usual business.  He takes his medications by himself without being told.  He doesn't lie around all day expecting people to look after him. 

Being my first-born, I guess I will always worry about him.  I try not too though.  Afterall, he's 16! 

Yesterday, Francis seemed ready for a bit of chewing (but of course, I consulted him first). I cooked tuna casserole but cut his macaroni into little pieces to make it easier for him.  I also baked some dinner rolls.

Freshly baked bread is always very welcome in our home. Especially my dinner rolls. Just right out of the oven, they are super soft and almost melt in the mouth. My son just pinched off small pieces from his bread and it was a breeze to eat.

I found the original recipe here but I had altered it for KitchenAid use. Below is my version. Use whichever of the two recipes suit you! Enjoy!

Perfect Dinner Rolls


6 - 6 1/2 cups bread flour
2 sachets (8g each) INSTANT dry yeast
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 t salt
1 t bread improver (optional)
1/2 cup warm water
1 1 /4 cups warm milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup melted butter

Put all the dry ingredients (first 5) in your mixing bowl and combine, with mixer on speed 2 only and using your dough hook. Add the wet ingredients one by one, mixing well after each addition. Let the mixer run for about 6 minutes or until your dough looks smooth and elastic.  Turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and knead just a little bit more.

Place your dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the whole surface. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough and again, turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 24 - 30 rolls (or up to 48 rolls if you want them smaller like me) and place in lightly greased baking pans. Cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.

Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container and simply reheat in the oven for a few minutes to make the rolls soft again.