Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Ladyfingers are a popular pastry in the Philippines and it was one of my favorites growing up. It is more commonly known in the Philippines as Broas. I'm not sure where the best Broas were in the Philippines but I remember my mother frequently buying a lot of it whenever we pass by Quezon Province.

I was actually going to try to make Ladyfingers because I saw several cakes which had it as a component, like Tiramisu and Charlotte. I was intrigued by what this Ladyfinger is, and I never knew that it is our beloved Broas. Only after baking and trying it did I realize that it is the same thing! Boinks!

I baked Sarah Philips' Ladyfinger recipe and it tasted really good! I would say right now that it is the best broas that I ever had, but I'd wait to judge that when I go back home because I may just be Broas homesick right now. LOL! It was very light, tasty and crunchy, which is my kind of broas. I loved it too because it was not too sweet. The recipe required whipping the egg whites and the egg yolks separately, and then slowly folding them together with some flour afterwards. I was extra careful not to overmix the batter in fear of it not rising. It baked for around 10 minutes and once out of the oven, the smell reminded me of the good old broas days.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

September Daring Bakers Challenge 3

Lavash Crackers by Peter Reinhart with Toppings are this month's Daring Bakers challenge. Aside from the Lavash Cracker recipe, the toppings that will go together with the crackers should be vegan. It's a first for me, first time baking crackers and first time making anything vegan (or at least consciously). My staple pizza recipe is Peter Reinhart's so I know that the Lavash Cracker recipe will be just as good. Reference for the full recipe is Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker Apprentice (pp 178-180).

I started working on the crackers by mixing the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and oil with water to form a ball. I used up all the 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp water for the recipe, because for some reason, my dough was quite dry. Once the dough was mixed and formed a ball, I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes. After kneading, I coated the dough with a little oil, wrapped it with plastic and then refrigerated it overnight. When I was ready to make the crackers that next day, I took out the dough from the fridge and then let it rise at room temperature until it doubled its size. It took around 2 hours to let the dough rise enough. I rolled the dough in a sheet pan as thin as I could and cut it up into small squares with a pizza roller. I topped all of the squares with Kosher Salt, and then I made a variety of spice toppings on each row, with each row topped with additional Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, Sesame Seeds, Garlic Salt and Rosemary. I wanted to find out which combination will be the best one. I let the toppings settle for 3 minutes on the dough and then I baked it at 350F.

While the crackers were baking, I prepared the Salsa sauce. It's just a tomato sauce and I added some salt, lemon juice and pepper to it. The crackers were done after 15 minutes and I took it out to cool for 5 minutes. I tried each of the combination that I made and it was all so good! My favorite though would be the one with Oregano and Garlic Salt.

Here's how the final Lavash Crackers with the Salsa looked like.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

White Chocolate Butter Cupcakes

What do you bake when you've got a huge headache? Cupcakes, of course. :) These are White Chocolate Butter Cupcakes topped with Raspberry Buttercream.

I have not had Butter Cupcakes for quite sometime now and I kind of craved for it the other day. I decided to make some with the White Chocolate variation. The cupcakes were very easy to make, and I just added some Callebaut White Chocolates on the last mix with the flour. It also baked perfectly! Whenever I bake this recipe, I always end up throwing out a few pieces or leave it undecorated to be eaten as test pieces because the cupcake falls off the liners. However this time, I yielded a 100%! I did not have a single piece that peeled off from the liner. I cooled the cupcakes first and then frosted with the buttercream.

I also wanted to decorate the cupcakes afterwards with some fancy flowers but the cupcakes ended up being how it looks like in the photo. I had a really huge headache over the weekend and even if I really wanted to make some decorations for the cake, I ended up doing nothing. I very rarely get headaches and I hate it when I do because it will be some downtime. I even went to work yesterday, only to end up going home after an hour at work because of the horrible headache. Anyway, back to the cupcakes, it still tasted good despite the headache drama. The white chocolate gave the cupcakes a different layer of flavor and the raspberry buttercream was a perfect adornment for the butter flavor. I'm kind of loving the raspberry buttercream right now, it is very light but so delicious!

Meanwhile back home, Ly gave birth already to baby Sam a couple of weeks back, and Ice gave birth a few days ago to a baby girl named Jem. Congrats Ly and Manueli, and Bry and Ice!

And about the headache, I still have it right now while blogging. Please make it go away.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Breakfast Cinnamon Rolls

These are Cinnamon Rolls that I made for breakfast over the weekend, some topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and others with Caramel Frosting.
I made the rolls the night before and left it to rise overnight. The next morning, the rolls have risen quite well and I baked it at 425F for 10minutes. Afterwards, I topped it with the frosting and voila, I have some freshly baked pastry for breakfast. With some hot chocolate, breakfast was perfect.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cheesecake in Raspberry Buttercream

For this week, I made a cheesecake frosted in Raspberry Buttercream. I made the cheesecake the other night and baked it for about an hour. After letting it cool on room temperature for 2 hours, I chilled it in the fridge for another 24 hours. Making cheesecake is relatively easy but takes a lot of patience because of all the time that it is required to be cooled and in the fridge before it should be eaten. I had some left over batter so I decided to pour it on some liners for a few cupcakes.

A week ago, I also did not get to bake anything because I was practicing how to make sugar flowers with royal icing. To give you an idea what it is, those are the traditional sugar flowers that we get on cakes bought on local bakeshops (i.e, Goldilocks in Manila). These were very sweet but I loved those sweet little flowers. It reminded me of my childhood because those were normally on the birthday cakes that I used to get. Anyway, it took me two frustrating hours to figure out how to get the correct
consistency of the royal icing to pipe it into a flower. The flowers that I made were not good at all, but colorful enough to be decorated on a cake. As they say, practice makes perfect. :)

The flowers with stamen below were the royal icing flowers. The rest were gumpaste.

The next day, I prepped the cheesecake by unmolding it from the pan and thawing it to room temperature. I also prepared the Raspberry Buttercream and I found an already forgotten Raspberry Extract that I had all along. Manny bought it for me a few weeks back and I forgot that I have it. I opened it and I was so surprised how good the buttercream was after I added a few drops of the extract.

I then frosted the cheesecake with a good serving of the buttercream. The light raspberry buttercream was a perfect adornment for the rich cheesecake. We had it for dessert over dinner last night and it was so indulgent!

Here's a pic of the whole cake and of the few cupcakes that I made with the leftover. I still managed to make 7 more cheese(cup)cakes out of the leftover batter, 2 of which never made it to the "decorating stage" because Manny and I snacked on it. :)