Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Got Featured!

I was thrilled that the girls of the most popular cupcake blog "Cupcakes Take the Cake" featured My Blueberry Cupcakes on their blog. I was so excited that they took notice of the blueberry cupcake photo and they posted a link of my blog in their blog together with a full entry. Cupcakes Take the Cake is a blog created by 3 cupcake loving friends from NY. It features cupcakes from all over the world. I read from their blog that they will be in the Martha Stewart Show tomorrow. :) Please check out the link above for their entry on my cupcakes.

Blueberry Mud Cupcakes

I found a blueberry pie filling in the grocery and I bought it with a cheesecake in mind. If you noticed in my previous entries, I had been thinking of making cheesecakes for weeks but I never get to doing it because it is hard to make in small quantities and if I make it in full cake size, nobody will finish it. When I saw the pie filling sitting in my counter, I decided to open it and try to taste it and I was amazed at how good it tasted. The pie filling will be able to hold a flavor on its own because I was initially thinking of kicking up the flavor by heating it with some sugar and fresh lemon juice. Since the blueberry itself was very tasty already, I thought of making topping it on a plain butter cupcake.
So I then made the vanilla butter cupcakes which were out of the oven after 20 minutes of baking. As for the frosting, I made made some white chocolate mud icing and folded with it half cup of the blueberry filling. The resulting emulsion turned into a slightly violet/bluish mixture and the texture was like a mud. I then topped the cooled cupcakes with the frosting and decorated it with white sugar sprinkles for some color contrast.
The photo does not do justice to how the cupcakes tasted like! It was bursting with flavors from the blueberry and the slight whisper of the white chocolate. It's now one of my favorite flavors and definitely a keeper!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Pandesal

If I were in the Philippines, it would be very impractical to bake my own Pandesal because it is sold in every corner. Pandesal sa Pugon was just very near our house and regardless of what we had for breakfast back home, there would always be Pandesal. Even Creamy (my dog) has his share of Pandesal every morning (but he's on a diet now, so no Pandesal for him in the meantime).
I had been craving for Pandesal for ages and I had been looking for a recipe so that I could make it on my own. I found several recipes, but since all of these recipes uses evaporated milk, I would always just ditch it because I cannot find any evaporated milk sold here in Israel. I decided to try replacing the evaporated milk with regular whole milk and see what will happen. There's no harm in trying. So last night, I made sure that I had all the ingredients at hand so that I would make Pandesal first thing in the morning for breakfast. But lo and behold, I woke up at 1pm! Technically, it would still be my breakfast since it's my first meal so I still decided to bake the bread. After much ado, I went to my kitchen and started preparing the dough. It's just a combination of very small amounts of milk, sugar, butter, yeast and flour plus other leaveners. After combining the ingredients, I left it on the stand mixer on kneading mode for 15mins. After kneading, I left it for another 15mins again so that the dough would double up in size. Once the dough was double its size, I used an ice cream scoop to make the individual Pandesal. My small recipe yielded 15 pieces. After baking it for 10mins, I have my freshly baked, golden brown Pandesal! I opened a Spam, made some fluffy scrambled eggs and opened a can of Reno to go with the bread. I know it's too much but I just had to taste all of it all at once! :) Manny and I never got to finish everything though, it was very heavy and filling. The Pandesal tasted like a real one (but it's real anyway! :D), and it was crunchy on the outside but soft inside.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cuatro Leches Cake

Every time I bake a whole cake, I would always plan on taking a picture of the cake after it gets sliced for serving and I would either get lazy or forget about it. This time, I made it a point to take a nice photo after the first slice.
After a day of wondering what to bake, Manny thought that he wanted a Cuatro Leches cake. I have baked it before but it was rather improvised because I did not have all the ingredients back then. As I have learned from baking911, this cake is called as such because of the four types of milk used. It's basically a Vanilla Sponge Cake soaked in a four milk sauce, covered with Swiss Meringue and drizzed with some Caramel sauce.
After assembling the cake, I left it to settle for a while and we went to grill some barbecue for dinner. We were so excited with the barbecue so we set the table and then I immediately cut the cake without realizing that I have not taken a photo of the whole cake!
Anyway, Manny cut a clean and picturesque slice of the cake and I plated it, wedding style. I have always loved how sliced cakes looked neat and elegant at Martha Stewart's website. Here's a photo of my imitation. My cakes will never get nowhere close, but what the heck :)

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I had been contemplating on making some cookies but I don’t have a cookie sheet and when I finally got one, I let it sit for weeks in my cupboard. Having seen a good oatmeal cookie recipe in baking911, I decided to try making one. I wanted to try few flavors all at once, but again, no one will finish it! The recipe that I got was very easy and quite healthy because of the oats.
As always during weekends, I immediately turn on my oven when I wake up (this time at around 11am) to bake something, and normally, I get started at around
2pm. This time around, it was already 3pm but I have not decided to bake anything yet. I had thought of baking some cheesecakes for today but it will take us forever again to finish it! As much as I wanted to eat it, as I got older, I realized that I cannot just eat anything without gaining any weight! So anyway, while I was still thinking of what to bake, I decided to bake something quick in between and decided on popping some cookies in the oven.
After 5mins of making the batter, and 12 minutes of baking, I have freshly made oatmeal cookies. Ate Jen went by our house today to have her laptop installed with some softwares and she initially did not want to eat anything because it was Good Friday. But then I tempted her with some cookies (and some beef with oyster sauce and broccoli meal) and she gave in! :) The cookies were soft and chewy, and smelled really good! We had some after dinner (cookies for dessert, weird eh?) and I forgot to send her some when she went home. My bad!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chocolate Revel Bars

Today is my first free day after 2 weeks. I had been very busy at work for the past 2 weeks, and then we went to Jordan for a quick 3-day vacation last weekend. We drove to the border, then took a taxi going to Amman where we stayed for the entire time. Then we went to Petra for a day trip. I was tired after going back here in Haifa! As they say when you take a vacation, "you need to take a vacation to relax after your vacation!".

I spent the entire day today fixing things around the house. I have a 3-week laundry load that I started to do today (and at 11pm, I have one load of beige/cream colored clothes left). Then there's the sheets that I needed to change, bed that I needed to do, dust the entire house, clean the bathroom and cook meals for my hungry tummy! I pretty much did everything today, and when I was standing at the middle of the living room, I saw one big something that I forgot to do...remove the Christmas tree! It's already March and I still have it in the middle of the room! :)

Anyway, in between all of those things, I managed to take a nap, and bake something just to satisfy the sweet tooth craving. While cooking tapsilog for brunch (which is more like a lunner, or dunch...because it's at 2pm already), I prepared the batter for the Chocolate Revel Bars. I remember talking with Lemon in YM a few months back and she said she loves Revel Bars. I thought I haven't tried one yet and I googled it and found that it was how it is called! I have tried it already after all! I started looking for a recipe back then. However, I can't find a decent one. I tried looking again today (with the laptop in the kitchen counter while cooking) and I failed to find that perfect recipe. What I just then did is to take 3 recipes from the web, and interlace it based on my very short baking career. LOL!

I did the mixing of the batter in parallel while I was frying the beef tapa that I made, and by the time that the beef was done, I was starting baking the Revel Bars. After finishing our lunch, the Revel Bars were also done. It baked for around 40 minutes. We had it for dessert and it was very good. Not too sweet, chocolatey, soft and crunchy because of the oatmeal. It was very good for a quick baking fix. Let me know if you'd like some! :)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rolled Fondant Cake

There really is no occasion this week to make a whole cake and fancy at that. I normally make cupcakes only just to be able to bake and to try out new recipes in small quantities. This is the first weekend that I had a free weekend so I decided to try out making fondant. Or this could be my Tita Len's belated happy birthday cake! :)This is my first successful attempt at making rolled fondant from scratch. The recipe for the rolled fondant is Toba Garrett's which I got from baking911. It's made up of gelatin, corn syrup, vanilla extract and confectionary sugar mixed and kneaded together to form the dough like consistency. The final fondant was slightly on the dry side, so I had a lot of creases and folds on the cake which I cannot straighten out because of the dryness. Creases were more obvious on the bottom part of the cake.
The cake inside is also something that I made for the first time. The cake recipe is Rose Levy Berenbaum's All Downy Yellow Cake. It was very good (based on the crumbs that I got) and very... yellow (but of course! LOL!). I frosted and coated the cake with some Vanilla Buttercream.
After assembling the cake with the fondant, I topped it with some sugar flowers, sugar pearls and silver dragees on top. I would have wanted to make the flowers from gum paste (which would have made it thinner and more realistic) but since it's a no-occasion cake, I just settled with some fondant sugar flowers. After having the final cake done, I can't wait to make another one again! :)