Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Whimsical Flower Cake

I got my Cake Bible today as a present and I read it to look for that first recipe that I can bake straightly lifted from it. I opted for an easier recipe and decided to make a White Chocolate Whisper Cake. The cake itself will be made with some melted White Chocolates on it. Sounds yummy! Nobody's going to eat it though at the house so I will probably just bring it to the office for breakfast. I decided to frost it with a White Chocolate Raspberry Ganache for that ultimate White Chocolate blast!

The book was very good but had I started with it and not with baking911, the book would probably be lost in translation. I was even more meticulous this time, weighing my ingredients instead of measuring. Rose' recipes always start with mixing the flour first and then adding the butter and the liquid ingredients. As I had always been, I am not comfortable doing it this way. I am more comfortable doing it the other way around, that is creaming first then adding the flour at the last step. But this time around, I guess it was ok. I started getting a little comfortable with the inverted routing, this time I just need to soften the butter before hand.
The cake was done after 25mins in the oven and I frosted it afterwards.

Here's a slice of the cake. I kind of messed up cutting it because I don't have a really sharp knife or a cake cutter. It still looked good though. And at least the frosting inside looked decent enough to be served in a party. LOL!

Another shot of the slice. I wanted to take another slice for better photo but opted not to or else I will end up eating it!

Here's a closer look of the whimsical roses of the cake. These are gum paste flowers tinted in Yellow and Pink and the leaves tinted Green.
I just got today my Cake Bible from Tita Len and today's cake is the first that I directly lifted from it. I got from her a big box with pans, spatula, smootheners and even a shot glass! I was so happy, I was like a kid opening her 7th birthday present.

10 Random Things About Me

I was tagged by Lyra but I probably won't be able to tag anyone since I don't personally know most of the blogs that I read and those who I personally know had already been tagged by Ly. :)


1. Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves.

2. Bloggers that are tagged need to write on their own blog about their ten things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose 10 people to get tagged and list their breads.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here's my 10:

1. I started getting interested in baking October last year after bumping through a website called baking911 and saw really beautiful photos and wonderful recipes. I had been homesick cake-wise for so long and I can't find a bakeshop here where I could really indulge so I started to make my own cakes, and the rest is history.

2. I collect shot glasses from cities that I had been. The most expensive shot glass that I have is a 5-euro Venice shot glass because I forgot to take my change. LOL!

3. I'm a huge tennis fan, and Rafael Nadal is my favorite player. Our whole France trip was planned on a premise that I'd watch the French Open to see him. I'm also a huge Sports fan and my TV is by default on Eurosport. I'd watch anything from NBA, Soccer, Baseball and even Cricket.

4. I'm a perfume addict. If others would feel naked without earrings, I feel the same thing if I'm without a perfume on me. My favorite is Creed Spring Flowers. Same thing with body lotions.

5. I used to be a picky eater growing up. I don't eat vegetables, beef and peanut butter. Now I eat almost everything, but still cannot take eating Beef Stew or Bulalo.

6. I can french tip my hands myself but haven't had a polish on my hand since I started baking.

7. I can also shape other people's eyebrows. There had been a lot of my girlfriends with virgin eyebrows that I shaped. I even got one straight guy officemate to agree for me to trim his eyebrows because his was very long and was irritating me! haha.

8. Whenever I travel, other people mistake me for a Japanese. The funniest one was in Florence where this Japanese family started to me and Manny in Nihonggo! One flight going back home, I was seated next to a Filipino guy who, from Germany to Guangdong, never talked to me because he thought I was Japanese.

9. I am always dizzy. Riding in the car backseat makes me dizzy. Riding the bus makes me dizzy. Taking the elevator makes me dizzy. And I'm also always sleepy.

10. I love the beach!

I'm tagging Thet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Travelling Cupcakes

Manny is going on a business trip to San Diego next week and at the last minute, he decided to go home first before going to San Diego. So instead of leaving next week, he left very early today for a flight to Manila. Not without me sending some cupcakes for my parents and Creamy, of course. :)
I started getting interested in baking around October of last year, and the interest grew into a hobby, and now after 8 months, I'd say that it became a passion. My family had not tasted any of my baked goodies yet, and I think it was good that they were not there when I was just starting! My family is such a food critic and my brother is the worst of them all being the chef that he is! Had they tried my first attempts at baking, they probably would have told me to just be an engineer. LOL! So now, regardless of what they'd say about the cupcakes that I sent them, I would not be dissuaded, I am now a baker (a novice, that is!).

I sent them 18 cupcakes with four varieties. I wanted it to be a sampler of the chocolate, butter and fruity cupcakes that I previously made, but decided to just stick with basic flavors without the fruity ones. It surely would perish after the 16-hour flight.

This is the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake by Sarah Philips with melted dark chocolate inside. The melted chocolate inside made it so decadent! I also glazed it with some melted bittersweet chocolates on top and frosted with Vanilla Buttercream.

This next one is still the same chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolates inside, this time topped with melted white chocolates and frosted with Strawberry Buttercream.

Yet this one is also the chocolate cupcakes, however this variety has melted white chocolates inside. I simply glazed it with melted bittersweet chocolate. This one is so sinfully rich with chocolates!

This variety is my favorite combination, the Ultimate Butter Cupcake with White Chocolate Raspberry Ganache. Just thinking about it makes me seem like I gained a pound or two!

And here's another shot of the lot that I sent home. I called my mom the other day and I asked her over and over again not to give creamy any of the chocolatey stuff! She easily gives in when Creamy stares at her with all those cute droopy puppy eyes.
I do hope hope the cupcakes arrive in one piece, although while Manny was in Amsterdam, he told me that the security officer at Tel Aviv turned the luggage over. Good thing we added support so that it would stay in place even if it's flipped over (hehe!). Anyway, I have photos of how it originally looked like so even if it get beaten, it should be good enough. I hope they would like the cupcakes!
Oh and while I was cleaning up stuff at my house today, I saw this bag which had the Hugo family's gift for me on my birthday. Iya wrote all the text below, she has such a nice handwriting for a four year old! :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mom's day to all my mommy friends and family, and to the soon to be moms. Apparently, Israel does not celebrate this day as Mother's day so it was just pretty normal day here. And oh, I went back to work after a 4 day Israeli holiday plus weekend so I am still on the slow side of things.
Over the 4 non-working day, I just took time to get back on my sleeping groove, and that means sleeping at 11PM and waking up at 11AM, and then taking naps in between
(the life!). I did not manage to get anything done except for few inevitable work calls. And because of this, I did not manage to bake anything new that I'd been wanting to try had I been given the time. I wanted to bake some lemon pies, make some gum paste sugar flowers, but I ended up baking the Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies above.
We managed to go to the market last Saturday though, out of sheer necessity. It was a dire need, otherwise I'd probably be eating flour for the weekend (hehe exag!). I have all types though, I have the all purpose, the cake flour and the self raising flour! LOL!
When we went to this Russian market, I bought 2 dozen eggs among other stuff. The last time I went there, I bought some eggs from the same stall and they're really very fresh. Now after going home, I was to cook some eggs for brunch and I was utterly surprised that the first egg that I cracked had 2 yolks! P
ardon my ignorance but I had not been spending as much time in the kitchen as I do now, and I was really shocked to see the yolks that I had to take a photo of it.
Now as I finished (barely, after much laughs) frying the first one, I cracked another one again and it was the same, two yolks again! It looks totally weird! Imagine having your sunny side up eggs with 2 yolks! After brunch, I again cracked another egg for the cookies, and it's the same thing, 2 effin' yolks. Hehe. This time, I really had to google it, I can't go on having all my 2 dozen eggs to have multiple yolks. I found out that this is an abnormality in the reproductive system of the hen normally when the hen starts to lay eggs earlier than its full maturity. Anyway, the more important thing is that it's safe to eat. So there goes my strange encounter with eggs, and I'm still amazed. Now I still have to figure out how to adjust my recipes assuming all of the eggs turn out to be with the 2 yolks.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Big Day (Not!)

It's my birthday today and during the days leading up to it, we were once again too busy at work. However, one thing I am certain of, I never wanted to bake a fancy cake for my birthday because there's only the two of us here anyway. I just decided to bake something small and yummy! So here it goes, I baked myself a Hot Sponge Milk Cake with Caramel Frosting. Nothing fancy but totally yummy! I don't have a party anyway.
My day actually started on the dot of 12AM, and I was still at the office at that time, having only eaten 1 meal the entire day and having been buried with tons of work. A few minutes after, the shift leader of operations called to tell me that there were food downstairs and he knows that I am hungry already. So we went downstairs to the cafeteria and saw the same food that we had for lunch. There were tons of pans with cold Beef Asado, grilled chicken, meatloafs and all sorts of salad leftovers. We took some and heated it then had our "dinner". With the thought of going home soon, I finished my food and went up again to my cube only to find out that there were problems in the jobs in the test floor that I need to fix. So I spent another hour again trying to fix all of the errors. I need to finish all that I'm supposed to do today because May 7 is actually a holiday here. It's their memorial holiday so therefore no work on the daytime and we need all the jobs running before we go on a long holiday. Afterwhich, I needed to patch my TP again to be released. I am also waiting for input files from a guy also working over time (and still had to make a 2-hr drive to Tel Aviv) so while waiting I was chatting with Roy (who was the first to greet me from back home) and I also decided to call home. That's funny eh? My mom wants me to call her on my birthday! Anyway, even if I am still at the office on such an unholy hour, I was still up and about. I even heard Creamy burp! LOL! I was finally able to go home at 3AM.
After getting some much needed sleep, I woke up at 11AM with a very empty stomach. And to make matters worse, I don't have any groceries anymore (no rice!) and I don't have much options for a meal. Since technically it's still my breakfast (and I don't have any choice anyways) I prepared some cheese pancakes, sunny side up eggs, and fried a few bacon pieces (the last ones). I also made some hot chocolates a la Max Brenner with boiled milk, vanilla and melted dark chocolates. After having a hearty meal, I took a nap again with the oven pre-heating. Haha. Afterwards, I started baking my cake and it took around 2 hours including baking time until I have the final cake for blowing. :) I also cooked some pasta for dinner. Dinner time is my "happy birthday" time with the candle already lit on my simple cake.
May 7 being a memorial holiday here meant no programs on TV (even cable), all malls and groceries were closed, no making noise and no transportation. Bummer eh? Well not really, my day is perfectly fine as it is and at 9PM, they started the fireworks outside because it's now Independence day! Israelis normally celebrate their holidays from sundown to sundown. Fireworks lit while we were eating dinner and we went out to my terrace to watch. My apartment is on the prime vista point for the fireworks being at the 13th floor facing the sea. The fireworks lasted for a good 20mins.
Just when I thought my day was going perfectly, with all the sleep that I got and the fireworks, we started watching the Rome Master Series and saw my boy Nadal, who never loses on clay, lost to Ferrero. Bummer.
So there goes my day, totally better than last year when I was on the plane going to Arizona and people greeting me were random immigration people who would see on my passport that it is my birthday!
Thanks to everyone who greeted and remembered me today. I wish you all had a taste of the cake, it was so good! :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Peanut Butter Chewy Cookies

These are chewy Peanut Butter Cookies that I made a few days back for breakfasts with coffee. When I was growing up, I never like Peanut Butter, I guess it is one of those things which I acquired (like eating vegetables, Japanese, etc). Now, Reese Chocolates are even one of my favorites! I bought my Peanut Butter a few weeks back after craving for the Ultimate Peanut Butter Cake by Sarah. I made it and I was surprised that people liked it. And I also feel guilty about never asking people if they have peanut allergy when they took those cupcakes. Same thing now with the cookies. I never bothered asking if they have allergies! LOL

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Apple Spice Cupcakes

Before the cupcakes, it's happy birthday to my cousins Mommy Myleen (today, May3) and Buboy (May1). I'd make some cupcakes for you when I'm back home. :) There are a lot of us in the family celebrating our birthdays in May and when I was younger, I still was not yet over the feeling that it's my birthday, and then it's someone else's birthday already! But when you grow up (or old!), you start to hate the fact that it's going to be your birthday again. Hehe.
Anyway, on to baking. These are Apple Spice Cupcakes some topped with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and others with my leftover Cream Cheese Frosting. For sometime now, I'd been wanting to try out the spice cupcakes that I keep seeing in cupcake forums and blogs (like chai latte, green tea, honey spice) as I am intrigued by how it will taste like. I keep a Ginger Spice cupcake recipe and I could not imagine ginger being in my sweet and lovely cupcakes!
We are already almost out of groceries and we need to have one soon. However, we can't go out today as it is Shabbath, and as I was rummaging through my fridge and cupboards for something to cook, I saw this jar of unopened Applesauce that I remember buying ages ago. I immediately checked on the expiration date and it says 9-10-2010 so it would still be very good. I decided that for today, I'd be making some cupcakes using the Applesauce.
I have a recipe of Apple Spice Cupcakes and upon reading through it, I have all of the ingredients to make it. On top of the regular cupcake recipe, it needed some brown sugar, nutmeg, cloves and the Applesauce. After mixing the batter, I popped the cupcakes into the oven and it was done at 18min mark.
The cupcakes turned out to be nicely domed and fluffy, and the color was slightly gold/brown. It was perfectly baked and I let it cool on the racks. After it cooled, I topped it with some Swiss Meringue Buttercream that I made, and some of the Cream Cheese Frosting leftover that I had from the Lemon Cupcakes that I made. It turned out to be so good! It's the first time that I tried something like it and it was yummy.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cheesecake Poll

I have posted the cheesecake poll here in my blog because there is an upcoming cheesecake making contest in our office. The deadline for submission of entries is on May 18 and I'm thinking of joining. I'm still doubtful however because the only cheesecakes that I made (and you'll see it here in my blog) were Strawberry Cheesecakes, and the mini cheesecake cupcakes. I have very good recipes but I'm not sure if I could handle making a cake to be judged by someone else.
Anyways, while I'm still contemplating on it, let me know what your favorites are and vote on my poll! :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are Sarah's Thick With A Chew Chocolate Chip Cookies. I baked these last night with the intention of having something to munch until the weekend, or have something to go with coffee. However, it was all gone by the day's end today. For some reason, people kept coming to my cube today to ask something just about the test program that I just released.
The cookies, as the name says, were thick and chewy. I had always wanted my cookies to be like this way, that when you take a bite, you'll have something to chew. It turned out just the way I love my cookies to be!