Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Work Catering #38: Thème français

A belated post because I've been on a mini holiday ^_^ 
Went to watch the LION KING :D it was soooo awesome!! Brought me back to my childhood~ with all the songs.. Hakuna matata!

Anyways back to the baking! Last week a french reporter from France24 came to work to film a documentary about our head of Immunology Department (who is French).. something to do with French people coming to Aus for research! So I decided to have a French theme to my bakes =) and of course the first thing I thought of was MACARONS
I wanted to experiment with colours and tried to make a French flag themed macaron! As you can see the colours are a bit off... the red could have been redder.. and the blue.. darker! But oh wells! I tried XD
You can find the recipe for the macarons here. I split the batter into 2 parts and added blue dye to one and red dye to the other. I think a gel dye rather than a liquid dye would probably work better. The macaron shells are sandwiched with white chocolate ganache which can be made by mixing 50ml thickened cream with 100g white chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler.
They may not look like white chocolate flavoured but they are sandwiched with white chocolate ganache~
Kind of uneven sizes :/
There are many fancy french pastries that I could choose from but decided to go for the safe option of Palmiers! Delicious puff pastry sprinkled with sugar, rolled up into a pretty heart shape and baked in the oven until caramelised! MMmm...
Just caramelised!
The only danger is not to bake them for too long or else the toffee will burn and become bitter.
Cinnamon Palmiers
Recipe adapted from Jessica Gavin
Circle of.... palmiers~~~
1 cup caster sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 sheets puff pastry, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 200oC and line 2 large baking trays.
2. Combine sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3. With a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry sheet to create a slightly flatter and even surface. 
4. Sprinkle surface of puff pastry with cinnamon sugar mixture until evenly coated. Using rolling pin, roll over the sugar surface to help mixture adhere to puff pastry.
5. Flip pastry over and repeat step on the other side. 
6. Fold sides of puff pastry towards the centre so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half to resemble a closed book.
7. Chill dough for 15 minutes to allow the butter to harden slightly before cutting and prevent melting into the dough.
8. Slice the dough into 1.5cm slices and place on lined baking tray. For a more heart shaped palmier, slightly separate the tops of the cookie dough to resemble bunny ears.
Little bunny ears
9. Bake for 12 minutes then turn over and bake for another 4 minutes or until lightly caramelised.
10. Transfer palmiers to a cooling rack.
Different carmalisation :/
But deliciously crunchy and sugary :D

I'm having a break from catering the next two weeks... but will update you on some other bakes soon =) Till then, HAPPY BAKING!!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Birthday Bake: Coffee and crumbs!!

Another birthday bake! This time for a work friend. Last time I made her a chocolate cake because she loves chocolate ^^ but this year I wanted to do something a little different. I know she also likes coffee so was looking up recipes for coffee flavoured cakes but came across this super crumb coffee cake! I only realised as I was making it that it did not involve coffee at all. It was named in this way so you can eat it whilst sipping nice cup of coffee~ I just loved the crumb on this cake.. it really was SUPER CRUMB! YUM!
Ok so it's not the prettiest cake in the world but nice, sweet and moist cake with super crummy and sugary crumb ^_^

Super Crumb Coffee Cake
Recipe adapted from Sallys baking addiction

2 cups plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp salt
140g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
3/4 cup buttermilk (I just used just under 3/4 milk + 1 tbs white vinegar and left it for 5 min at room temperature)
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla essence
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease and line 20cm round cake tin.
2. Whisk flour, caster sugar and salt together in large mixing bowl to combine. Mix in the butter with a fork until mixture resembles course crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of flour mixture.
3. Add baking powder and bicarb soda into the remaining flour mixture. Add buttermilk, egg and vanilla and mix until batter is smooth and fluffy. Pour the batter into prepared tin, smoothing the top.
4. Add brown sugar and cinnamon to reserved flour mixture. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressing lightly so they stick.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove from tin.

Finished cake! not the neatest...
Deliciously moist :D

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Work Catering #37: First of 2014! A raspberry theme~

YAY! My work catering series is back!! One of the things that I have been most looking forward to at work =p (maybe im in the wrong job.. hmm..)
tasty cookies~
My bakes this week had a raspberry theme! Not sure why but I was just in the mood of using raspberries ^_^" First up is a Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies.. combining two of my favourite sweets: Cheesecake and Brownies! I found this recipe on this new blog I have been following: Sally's Baking Addiction. You guys should really check it out!!! It's such a wonderful and colourful blog and the photos just make you drroooolllll!!! and also make you want to bake (like I did XD).
Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction


Fudge Brownies
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
225g dark chocolate melts
1 cup caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp salt

Raspberry Cheesecake Layer
250g cream cheese, softened at room temp
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1/4 cup raspberries for topping

1. Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease and line baking pan (20x30cm).
2. To make the brownies, place the butter and chocolate in medium saucepan on medium heat and stir constantly till both are melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool (~10-15 minutes should be fine).
3. Stir in sugar and mix until combined. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding next egg. Mix in vanilla. Gently fold in flour and salt. Pour batter in prepared pan.
4. To make the cheesecake layer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar with electric beater until smooth. Add in egg yolk and beat until combined. Beat in raspberry jam.
5. Dollop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on top of brownie batter. Glide a knife through the layers to create a swirl pattern. Sprinkle and press a few raspberries on the top.
6. Bake for ~30 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cover the brownies after 20 minutes of baking to stop the top from over browning. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.
Loving the layers

bright pop of rapsberries ^^
The next recipe I tried also involves raspberry jam!! They are essentially thumbprint/jam drop cookies but made up of shortbread. I have previously made jam drop cookies but wasn't too happy with the result. However this shortbread recipe was really good as the cookies did not spread so much so the jam stayed in the holes xP and it's EGG FREE!

Raspberry Shortbread Cookies
Recipe adapted from Melding Magic
225g butter, softened
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup raspberry jam

1 cup icing sugar
3 - 4 tsp warm water
1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Cream butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer.
2. Add in flour and beat on low speed and well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 180oC and line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Shape teaspoonsful of dough into balls. Place 1 inch apart onto tray. Using your thumb or end of wooden spoon handle, make an indent in the centre of each cook. Fill with jam.
Filling holes with jam
4. Bake for 14 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Allow to cool.
Cooked cookies :D
Allowing them to cool....
5. Make glaze by mixing sugar, water and vanilla in small bowl. Drizzle over cookies.
Ready to eat :D
Close up of the drizzle! looks like white chocolate but it's not XD
Well stay tuned for more work catering bakes and other random recipes~~^_^ and try these out! they're really simple!!!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blueberry Cheesecake

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! We had a very Chinese Australian BBQ for CNY! haha... CNY always seems to occur near Australia Day so might as well mix both into one! It was a very hot day for BBQ so I decided to make a frozen dessert of cheesecake - it was also my dads bday so this was his bday cake ^^! Coincidently, my aunty decided to make one too! At least we didn't make the same type XD Hers was obviously bigger and also had a chocolate biscuit base with cherry topping. The textures were quite different too.

Blueberry Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from Christine's recipe

150g Marie biscuits (I used Arnott's scotch finger biscuits)
70g butter, melted
250g cream cheese block, at room temperature
55g caster sugar
150ml thickened cream
2 tsp powdered gelatine
30ml hot water

Blueberry topping/compote
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tbs caster sugar
3 tbs water
1 tsp corn starch

1. Process biscuits in food processor until fine crumbs. Add butter and pulse to combine. Press over base of pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm.
2. Mix gelatine and hot water in small bowl until gelatine all dissolved. 
3. Place cream cheese and sugar in separate bowl and beat with electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Fold in cream. Stir in gelatine mixture and mix well to combine. 
4. Pour mixture over the biscuit base and refrigerate overnight or until firm.
5. To make coulis, place blueberries, sugar and water into small saucepan over medium heat. Crush some of the blueberries to release juices. In a small bowl, mix corn starch with 2 tbs cold water. Slowly stir corn starch mixture into the saucepan and cook until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
6. Remove cheesecake from fridge and top with blueberry topping
Desserts at BBQ~ my cheesecake vs. my aunty's super cherry cheesecake and fresh fruit :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

I had another baking day in my last week of holidays! A friend wanted to learn how to bake so taught how to make mini blueberry cheesecakes
colourful cheesecakes :D
These are great because you won't feel guilty after eating one.. since they are small =p But then again.. you might end up eating more :O

I used the same recipe as my mini cheesecakes (recipe here) but added in 1/2 cup of blueberries into the cream cheese mixture. Don't over mix otherwise everything will turn purple =p Just half mix the blueberries in to create a blueberry swirl.
blueberry swirls~
To make Blueberry topping/compote:
1. Combine 1/4 cup of blueberries, 3 tbs water and 1 tbs caster sugar in a small saucepan.
2. Cook over a medium heat - try crushing the blueberries so more juice will come out :)
3. In a small bowl mix 1 tsp corn flour with 2 tbs of cold water. Slowly stir corn starch mixture into the saucepan and cook until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
4. Place a teaspoon of topping onto each cheesecake.

bare cheesecake.. slightly sunken
Will have more cheesecake recipes coming up shortly~~!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Australia Day Bake: Mango Bundt Cake

What kind of cakes do you think of when I say "AUSTRALIA DAY"?? My first thought is something using peaches, nectarines, berries or mango! They are all the fruits I love when it comes to Summer in Australia~ so I baked a mango bundt cake for an Australia Day BBQ we got invited to.  
We also got a great view of the Australia Day fireworks ^____^

Mango Bundt Cake
Recipe adapted from Views from the ville

2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
75g butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup milk
1 mango, peeled and cooled

Mango glaze
1/2 cup soft icing sugar
3 tbs mango juice

1. Preheat oven to 180oC and grease bundt pan.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with electric beater. Add sugar and beat until sugar dissolves.
4. Pour in milk and melted, cooled butter. Beat for ~5 minutes. 
5. Gradually add in flour mixture and beat until well combined. Fold in mango pieces and pour into bundt pan.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cook before transferring to wire rack.
7. Make glaze by mixing together icing sugar and mango juice. Drizzle over cake and serve.
Mango pieces :D
other BBQ food! yum! and the sun shining~~