Friday, 26 July 2013

Moist Chocolate Cake


I found and subsequently fell in love with THIS cake on the Internet recently. I'm not going to copy and paste the photo of this cake here, as I'm not sure who posted the original photo!

Anyway, I been eager to try it out and went looking for a fabulous chocolate cake as a cake base. This recipe is what I found on Love2Cook Malaysia. It made a fantastically moist and luscious chocolate cake, especially when iced with the Hot Fudge Icing. Lovely, lovely lovely! Kudos to the original baker for a gorgeous cake.




All I need now is time to make THIS cake! 

MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE
Adapted from Love2CookMalaysia

180g Butter, softened
180g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
100g Plain Flour
50g Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
200ml Evaporated Milk

Preheat oven at 130 Celsius. Grease, flour and line a 20cm round baking tin. In a bowl, whisk Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream Butter and Sugar until pale and creamy with an electric mixer. Beat in Eggs one at a time. Beat in Vanilla Essence. Fold in Flour alternately with Evaporated Milk, beginning and ending with Flour. Pour batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 150 Celsius or until a skewer poked through the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for about 30 minutes before turning out to complete cooling on a wire rack.

HOT FUDGE ICING

1/2 cup Condensed Milk
3/4 cup Evaporated Milk
4 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1/8 tablespoon Vanilla Essence
50g (about 1 tablespoon) Butter, softened

Pour Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk into a saucepan. Add in Cocoa Powder and Vanilla Essence. Whisk on a double-boiler until the mixture thickens (to the consistency of Condensed Milk). Stir in Butter. Remove from the stove and pour on the cake immediately. Use a small pallet knife to spread the icing over the top and on the sides of the cake. With the back of a fork make a pattern on top of the cake. 
Notes
  1. Ensure that the cake is completely cool before you pour on the icing. No short-cuts or the icing will seep through and soak the cake not coat it. 
  2. I take short-cuts with the Hot Fudge Icing. I sometimes cook it directly on the stove as it's much faster than double-boiling. However, if you want to cook it on the stove, you MUST do it on low fire and whisk like mad so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan. If you don't do that, it will burn very quickly. 
  3. When icing, I place the cake on a wire rack and then place the wire rack on a flat baking tray. I then pour the icing on top. With a small pallet knife I gently spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake. This way, any extra icing will drip down onto the baking tray without making a mess. Let the icing set for 30 minutes. Then move it carefully onto a serving plate.
  4. An alternative to No. 3 is to set the cake on its serving plate and insert pieces of baking paper under and around the cake making sure it covers the bottom of the cake completely and extends over the rim of the serving plate. Pour over the icing, let is set 30 minutes and then gently pull out the baking paper so it doesn't soil the plate. 








Sunday, 21 July 2013

Ramadan Bazaar 2013


It's Ramadan and disgustingly hot! Yet, for the first time in many years, I braved the heat (and dragged my aunt out) to have a look at the Ramadan Bazaar in Kelana Jaya. The place wasn't too crowded at 4pm when we set out but got worse as time went by.

What did I see? I saw varieties of jellies and icy cold drinks in almost all colours of the rainbow; murtabak of all sizes and prices; a roast lamb; lots of roast chickens; chicken rice; fried chicken; grilled sambal-stuffed ikan kembung; biryani by the tong-full; roti jala with chicken curry; all sorts of kueh to tickle your fancy; hot and cold soya bean drinks; tau foo fa swimming in tubs of white and brown sugar; different varieties of laksa; pulat panggang and lots more.

Gone are the days when my 'eyes' are bigger than my stomach, so I was quite restrained about buying food to take home. I only came away from the endless delights of the Bazaar with some satar, jellies, soya bean, murtabak and fried cempedak.

























A gorgeous array of food and drink isn't it? Only thing is, I'm not sure I'd want to eat like this every day for an entire month.

Why? Well, if you're lucky the stall you choose to buy the food and drink from will give you your money's worth. Upon coming home, you will be treated to the most delicious food you can ever imagine. Plus, the dishes will not be found again until Ramadan comes around again! If you're not lucky though, you could end up with a very mediocre meal which doesn't satisfy.

Still, trawling through the Bazaar is quite a nice thing to do once a year!



















































































































































Saturday, 13 July 2013

Kesari


I never liked kesari and only fell in love with it after eating some in a shop on Dato' Keramat, Penang run by some old Indian grandfathers. After I moved back south, I found that no shop or Aunt I knew made kesari like that. Many years passed without me eating even a bit of kesari. 

A few weeks ago, I was hit by a sudden craving to eat kesari. So I experimented until I finally made what I think tastes closest to the kesari in dear old Penang. 

KESARI

1 teacup Coarse Sugee
3/4 - 1 teacup Caster Sugar
3/4 teacup Ghee
5 Cardamon Pods
About 2 teacups Water
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon Orange colouring
1 teaspoon Rose Essence
Pinch of Salt
Cashew Nuts & Raisins (optional)

Fry the Cashew Nuts in a little Ghee if you're using them. Set aside on paper towels to drain any access oil. Pour any remaining Ghee into a container. Wash the wok with soap and water. Dry the wok.

In the clean wok, warm the Sugee and Cardamon over medium fire for about 1 - 2 minutes constantly stirring with a wooden spoon so it is warmed through evenly. Stir in the Ghee (from the teacup and container) and Salt. Roast the Sugee in the ghee (stirring constantly) for about 3 - 4 minutes watching carefully that it does not burn.

Lower the fire and very slowly pour in the Water while stirring the mixture. (Mixture will bubble and spit ferociously) Pour just enough water to make the Sugee grains moist but not mushy. KEEP STIRRING. Quickly stir in the Rose Essence and Orange colouring. Stir in Sugar (mixture will loosen up a bit) and mix well. Keep stirring until the mixture dries up a little and comes away from the sides of the wok cleanly into a ball.

Remove from the stove and mix the Cashew Nuts/Raisins through now if you're using them. Put the kesari in either a container you have ready or flatten it into a Pyrex cover or pie dish cut into wedges. 

Notes
  1. I used a teacup. Any teacup will do. All you need to follow are the proportions of the ingredients given.
  2. I used QBB Ghee as I prefer its flavour.
  3. You may need slightly less than 2 teacups of Water if you are using fine Sugee as opposed to coarse. Coarse Sugee can be found in supermarkets under the Alagappa's brand, while fine Sugee can be found in most baking supplies shops. 
  4. You must keep stirring the kesari through its cooking process as it has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the wok and burn. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

I am the Rainbow Princess


This cake has intrigued me for a long time. Unfortunately for me, this is a Plan-and-Bake cake. One cannot simply come home after a day at work and decide 'Oh, I'd like to bake a rainbow cake today!' So, here it is finally in all its glory, baked and iced over 2 days at a leisurely pace with Opus playing in the background. 

This is how I'm feeling right now. As someone put it quite aptly - full of rainbows and white roses. Long  before this song became the anthem for some friends, this song was only famous for being sung by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz and winning an Oscar for Best Original Song

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then oh why can't I?

If happy bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow why oh why can't I?






RAINBOW CAKE

Cake
9 ounces (250g) Butter, softened
10 ounces (283g) Caster Sugar
12 ounces (340g) Plain Flour 
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
5 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 teaspoon Orange Essence (optional)
8 tablespoons Full Cream Milk

Preheat the oven to 140 Celsius. Grease and line a 18cm round cake tin. 

Cream Butter and Sugar until pale with an electric mixer. Beat in Eggs one by one beating well between each addition. Beat in Vanilla and Orange essences. Fold in Flour by hand alternately with Milk beginning and ending with Flour. Beat batter for a few seconds with the electric mixer to ensure everything is well incorporated. 

Divide batter into 6 bowls (about 1 1/4 cups of batter each). Colour the batter red, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple. (I used approximately 1/8 teaspoon of the Wilton gel icing colours for each bowl) Mix the colours well into each divided batch of the batter.
Pour the red batter into the prepared tin and bake in the pre-heated oven at 140 Celsius for about 15 minutes or until a skewer poked through the centre of the cake comes out clean. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.
Repeat with all the rest of the batter until all the colours are baked and cooled.
Store the layers between squares of baking paper (beginning and ending with baking paper, beginning with the red layer and finishing with purple) in a large tupperware overnight in the fridge.
Note - I had only one 18cm round cake tin. I pre-cut 6 rounds of baking paper and in between baking each layer, washed, dried, greased and lined the tin. I did this 6 times for the 6 layers. It takes about 3 hours to bake the 6 layers if you only have one baking tin.



BUTTERCREAM ICING (makes about 3 cups)
(Adapted from Cake Connection)

160g Butter, softened
1 teaspoon Orange Essence
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Full Cream Milk
450g Icing Sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon Meringue Powder

Cream Butter with Essence and Milk. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Continue mixing until mixture is creamy.
Note - I made 2 batches of the icing recipe above. It made just enough icing to sandwich, crumb-coat and pipe the roses on. For a tutorial on piping the roses, please see HERE

Assembly
  1. Remove the cakes from the fridge. 
  2. Peel the baking paper off the purple cake and place it on a cake board just slightly larger than the circumference of the cake. 
  3. Insert pieces baking paper around the cake covering the cake board (as you see in the photo).
  4. Using an offset spatula, spread some buttercream on the top of the purple cake.
  5. Next, take the blue cake, peel off the baking paper and place it on top of the purple cake. Repeat with the icing and build the cake with the rest of the colours in this same way.
  6. Once done, crumb-coat the the cake and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
  7. Remove from the fridge and pipe on the roses. 
  8. Pull out the pieces of baking paper. They have done their job of keeping the board clean while you ice the cake.
  9. Once done, put the cake back into the fridge to set. Leave it for 30 minutes to an hour before cutting. 
Notes
  • I used Queen's Orange Essence.
  • I used Wilton Gel Colours to colour the cakes. 
  • I used Salted Butter in both the cake and the icing. 
  • I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe the roses. 
  • For a sturdier icing, please use 80g of butter and 80g of shortening in the icing recipe above. This will hold up better in hot weather, while an all-butter icing tends to melt quickly.