Sunday, December 21, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have made a Red Velvet once, as a cake, and I made it a year ago. It felt like a million years ago. I was not exactly proud of what I made last year because as far as I remember, I ruined the cake, broke it in half while torting and just frosted whatever is left of it. I promised myself back then that I won't make it again unless I can make it properly. And I forgot about it. After a year though, as I was browsing through my recipes, I thought of making it again (plus there is my handwritting on the printed recipe that says "try again after a year"). So I tried it again, though not because I am already worthy, but because those are the only ingredients that I have left in my kitchen. Hehe. I normally stack up on eggs and butter but this weekend I only have 2 eggs and a stick of butter. I am going home soon, that's why. I am starting to clear up my kitchen and finish all that's in the fridge. I only have a couple of cakes to go for Christmas and that's it, I'm heading home.

I made Sarah's Red Velvet recipe as cupcakes because of the available ingredients that I have. I can only make half the recipe, which is good enough for me, Manny and a few friends in the the office who are my regular tasters. Making it this time was a breeze after all the baking that I had the past year. I was worried though because after mixing the batter, it was not bloody red. It was red, but not red-red. I said red thrice in a sentence, and I used it in the last three sentences that I wrote!

I then put it in the oven for around 18 minutes and I was prepared to see it fall off the liners. I tend to have cupcakes fall off the liners the first time I bake a recipe, and I make the necessary adjustments when I make it the next time. I was so happy that it stuck on the liners even after cooling it on the rack. As I had expected, the cupcakes turned out as dull red, and not bright. The recipe called for liquid coloring and since I did not have it at hand, I used gel paste. I guess I needed to use more, I did not know how to substitute 4 tablespoons of liquid coloring to gel.

The not-so-red velvet cupcakes turned out to be very moist and delicious! Of course I am not surprised, Sarah's recipes are the best. I was supposed to frost it with Cream Cheese Frosting, but then again, I did not have butter anymore so I settled for the French Buttercream that I have frozen. It was a lovely combination though. And as always, I made Manny and a few officemates' morning happy. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Ultimate Caramel Cake

I had been in search for the perfect caramel cake for the longest time. I was looking for a cake similar to a childhood caramel cake that I remember, very light and soft cake with caramel frosting that is not too sweet but yet very much a caramel. After a few attempts using different recipes, I think I finally got it.

I found the perfect recipe of the caramel cake that I had been looking for. I used Sarah Phillips' Orange Sponge Cake recipe (without the Orange this time), and replaced it with Caramel Syrup. I'm totally in love with her sponge cake recipe, the possibilities are endless as to how I could vary the flavors of the cake (think lemon, mocha, coffee...).

I started with the usual beating and folding of the eggs and flour, I added a few tablespoons of caramel syrup and baked the cake for around 45 minutes. The aroma of the caramel again filled my little kitchen, it's heaven! I took out the cake from the oven, cooled it for 10 minutes, removed it from the pan and cooled completely. As I was cooling the cake, I made the caramel frosting. I made it using a vanilla mousseline buttercream and then I beat caramel syrup on it. After I got all the syrup that I needed from the caramel, I proceeded in putting it in the oven for about an hour to make it into a thin custard.

One important note though, don't start decorating your cake when you are sleepy! Hehe. I smoothened the caramel on top, piped the nice border swirls on the edge, but totally forgot that the sides are not yet done! Big no-no. I cannot pipe properly anymore on the sides without ruining the nice swirls on top. I think I managed to still make the cake decent but it was not how I originally planned on piping it. Or did I have a plan at all? I don't remember. LOL! Don't get fooled by the pipes on the side, they're really diagonal and not tabingi. Nevertheless after the piping boo-boo, the cake was so caramelicious, just the way I like it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Black and White Cupcakes

I made cupcakes again today. The cupcakes were made with the Chocolate Cake Recipe from Baking911 and I added a few chocolate chips inside so that it will melt once baked. The frosting is the Vanilla Mousseline Buttercream. The cupcake was a breeze to make and it baked nicely domed. It is one of those days too where I got lucky in baking cupcakes and I yielded 100%. Not a single piece fell off the liner. The buttercream gave me a scare though, because it started to get really thin when I started to add the butter, and got really liquidy once all of the butter were added. It was a lot more liquid than how I usually made it but it magically turned into a luxurious cream after beating it for a few minutes on high.

As you many have noticed, the colors are not my usual. In fact, it is my first time making black flowers. I would always plan on decorating cakes and cupcakes with a lot of colors normally with a lot of pinks and yellows, sometimes bordering on being over the top. Hehe. I notice that black and white cakes and cupcakes had been becoming really popular. I find it quite elegant actually, especially after making one myself.

The decorations were made of gumpaste flowers with sugar dragees, pearls and a little edible luster. I often get asked if the dragees or the flowers that I make can be eaten, and yes, it's all edible. However, I recommend eating only the frosting and cupcakes because the decorations can be really sweet, as it is almost entirely made of sugar.

The final cupcakes looked beautiful and really elegant, but best of all it was delicious. The cake was very good and particularly rich especially with the melted chocolates inside. The Mousseline is slowly creeping up in my list of favorite frostings, if only it were easier to make! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yet Another Orange Sponge Cake

I made Sarah's Orange Sponge Cake again last night because Manny has not tried it yet. I made my first orange sponge cake while he was out on a trip so he was not able to try it. I kept telling him how good the cake was and how much people at the office loved it, and kept telling him that he will surely love it because it is light, fluffy, soft and the icing is just so creamy and malinamnam.

We were out for a good 12 days and while at it, I kept thinking once in a while of what variation I would make next out of this recipe. I was thinking of making a caramel or mocha next. However, I wanted him first to be able to try the original recipe which is Orange.

So I made this cake last night while half-asleep. LOL! I was already very sleepy when I finished making the cake. I'm still very sleepy right now while blogging, and come to think of it, I'm always sleepy anyway. Hehe. I continued making the cake anyway because I had already sifted the flour and cracked and separated the eggs. I don't want to lose the freshness of the ingredients by refrigerating it and making it the next day. So I went on preparing the batter and folding ingredients, baking it in the oven and cooling it. After cooling, I also just dumped the frosting on the cake which I originally planned on piping nicely!

The final cake still looked nice nevertheless, and as expected it was so delicious! It was more delicious than I remembered it the first time I made it. Although I'm confident about the cake, I am still a little nervous at how Manny will like it having raised all of his expectations of the cake because of my weeks of talk about how good the cake was. And the verdict? He loved it and he's excited for me to try it with mangoes. It would be really wonderful! I will be making it though once I get home to the Philippines. For now, the Orange Sponge Cake had taken over our breakfast and lunch at the office. It's perfect with a latte!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I was out on a vacation the past weeks and I even auto-published my DB challenge on the deadline. When I got back here in Israel, the first thing that I baked was these Snickerdoodles by Sarah. I wanted to have some cookies for breakfast once we go back again to work. Manny wanted something with raisins so I just added a piece of raisin in the middle of the cookies. The cookies were very classic, and Kelly (from Baking911) even said that these are the type of cookies which you can pass on to your grandchildren. I totally agree. These are so delicious and chewy!

My mind is still on vacation mode, and I can't think of anything else to write on this post. Hehe.