Thursday, June 30, 2011

Marble Cake topped with Profiteroles

One interesting thing I've learnt from consumer behaviour is that woman associates baking cake to having baby.  I got the interested in baking and decorating cake when I was 19 and that's probably due to my reproductive system ready to work.  Nevertheless, my mother used to give me red coloured hard boiled eggs for my birthday but I wanted to have a butter creamed cake so much when I saw it displayed in the bakery.  I had my first birthday party with a fresh fruit creamed sponge when I was 12 and ever since that I decided I would want to have a birthday cake each year.  That's easily done when I finally get to know how to bake.  I alway get jealous looking at my husband's 1st birthday photo because he had a letter one shaped cake with a party!  But that's the only birthday cake he'd ever had and I bet he couldn't remember anything at all for being a toddler.  Since we're together, we'll have birthday cake for everyone's birthday.  It doesn't matter if we don't have a party or present, we all have cake and blow the candles.  

I made the tiramisu and bomb alaska for my children's birthday and it's really fun baking and decorating the cakes even though it took me lots of hours.  When I asked my husband what sort of cake he'd like for his, he requested a marble cake as it's his childhood favourite.  I used my mother-in-law's recipe and add his favourite profiteroles with custard filling on top.  Now I understand why do I like to bake cake as it's an act of love.

Another interesting thing I've learnt from consumer behaviour is that woman associates husband to cockroach.  Anybody got an answer?

Tiramisu topped with macarons
Bomb Alaska with raspberry filling

Marble Cake topped with Profiteroles


For the cake:
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
225g (8oz) butter
4 eggs
195g (7oz) sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

For the custard:
2 heap tablespoon custard powder
2 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon of egg taken from the profiteroles
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

For the dark chocolate ganache:
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
1 cup whipped cream

For the profiteroles:
(make 10)

85g butter
100ml milk
100ml water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
120g plain flour
3 eggs (1 tablespoon goes to the custard)
flaked almonds for garnishing

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 180c and line a 23cm round baking pan with grease proofed paper.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add in eggs one at a time.  Gradually add in sifted flour, baking powder, vanilla essence and milk.
  3. Divide the mixture into two.  Add sifted cocoa powder to one of the mixture.
  4. Spoon the vanilla mixture and cocoa mixture alternatively into the pan.  Then use a skewer to draw around the cake to mix the vanilla and cocoa mixture.
  5. Bake it in the oven for about 35 minutes or until the skewer comes clean when insert into the cake.
  6. Stand the cake in the rack for 5 minutes, then lift the cake out and let cool completely before icing.
  1. For the custard: Mix the custard powder with a bit of milk in a small saucepan until it is dissolved. Gradually add in sugar and the rest of the milk and stir occasionally until the mixture is thicken.  Cover it with clear wrap and let it cool down.  You can fasten the process by putting the custard into the fridge after it cools down a bit.
  2. Cut the cake into half horizontally.  Spread the cooled custard onto the cake and sandwich it with the top half.  Leave about 7 teaspoons of custard for the profiteroles.
  1. For the profiteroles: Preheat oven to 210c.  Line a baking tray with baking paper an lightly sprinkle with water to help the choux to rise.  Put butter, milk, water, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil.  Remove from heat, add flour and beat well.  Cook, stir constantly for 1 minute or until the mixture comes away from the sides of the saucepan to form a ball.  Cool slightly.
  2. Add in eggs one at a time and beat the mixture with an electric mixer until smooth and glossy.  Spoon in mixture into the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until well puffed and golden.  Reduce the temperature to 175c and bake for further 20 minuted or until the pastry sounds hollow when tapped.  Set aside to cool.

  1. For the chocolate ganache: melt the chocolate with the double boiler, dip the top of the profiteroles into the chocolate.  Sprinkle some flaked almonds on top.  After icing all the profiteroles, add the whipped cream to the remaining chocolate and mix well.  Put into the fridge until the ganache is spreadable.
  2. Meanwhile, slit open the profiteroles, fill with 1 teaspoon of custard and some cream for 7 puffs.  (leave 3 puffs, fill them with ice-cream or cream for your extra reward)
  3. Decorate the cake with the ganache and topped it with the profiteroles. 

profiteroles with ice-cream

Monday, June 27, 2011

Egg, Tomato and Spinach Tarts

Kids have started the 2 weeks winter holiday and I'm taking the opportunities to relax and do a bit of craft.  I have been knitting scarfs and baby jumper for family and friend.  I love knitting in winter as it is the best thing to do while watching TV and it keeps you warm as well.  I hope I don't sound too much like an old granny.  We had this egg and tomato tart on Sunday for lunch.  I served it with baked beans with toast and pan-fried bacon wrapped in pineapple.  It was actually a breakfast and lunch together as we slept in.  

Have you got problem with filo pastry tearing into pieces after using the packet once or twice?  Instead of throwing away the pastry, I cut up into small square pieces to fit into the muffin pan.  The presentation is so nice and I am going to make this for breakfast next time if I have guest visiting me.  I also served this with HongKong style borsch soup that I will post later.  We really enjoy this relaxing and cosy Sunday lunch. 

Egg and Tomato Tarts
(make 4)

4 eggs
2 bacon rashers, cut the shortcut bit into small pieces and use the rinds to roll up pineapple pieces OR
2 shortcut bacon, cut into small pieces
filo pastry, about 15cmx15cm
baby spinach leaves
4 cherry tomatos, halves
1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.  Grease the muffin cups with oil.
  2. Lightly pan-fried the bacon, leave aside.
  3. Place 3 sheets of pastry into the muffin tin, brush with oil.  Repeat the process two more times until the tin is well covered.  
  4. Line the pastry cases with few spinach leaves, place the tomato cut side up, add some bacon pieces and chopped onions.  Carefully break an egg into the case.  If you are using a muffin tray, fill the unused hole with water.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the egg white has set.  Use a knife to lift up the tart and stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

I originally made this cookies for the kids to take to school for the bake sale.  Then my daughter told me it had to be homemade and with no nuts.  I had no more white chocolate left so we ended up baking more cookies using milk choc chips and skipped the nuts.  When I went to university (that was the time before I learnt baking cookies) I needed to walk pass the coffee shop to get on the bus in the city.  My eyes were always looking at the creamy yellowish cookies called melting moment.  If I had a few dollars to spare, I would buy one to pamper myself.  It's funny though I don't have the urge to learn how to make it that time until I become a mum.  Even my daughter can make melting moment and we don't buy cookies that much these days since we have discovered few good recipes.  Homemade cookies taste the best!        

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 firmly packed brown sugar
125g butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
180g white chocolate bits
3/4 cup roasted macadamias, chopped coarsely


  1. Preheat oven to 200c/180c fan forced.  Place baking paper onto baking tray.
  2. Sift flour, soda and sugar into a mixing bowl.  Stir in melted butter, extract and egg then chocolate and nuts.
  3. Drop rounded tablespoons of mixture, 5cm apart on tray.  Flatten it slightly with a fork.
  4. Bake cookies about 10 minutes.  Cook on wire rack.
Source: Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Mix -cakes, muffins, biscuits + puddings" by the Australian Women's Weekly.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Apple Strudel

I have been making dessert with apple a lot lately.  After I made the apple pie, we had this apple strudel and followed by apple crumble for dessert.  With the cold weather we are having, it is always nice to have something warm after dinner.  Having the oven working also keep the house extra warm.  I use to be able to buy apple strudel from the bakery but it is not easy to get it this day.  I substitute dried cranberry instead of sultanas and this strudel can also be served cold as an afternoon snack.  When my son asks for more of it, I know I should keep this recipe close at hand.
Apple Strudel
(make 3 rolls)

3 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

2 large cooking apples
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoon dried cranberry

15g butter
1/2 white breadcrumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar


  1. Peel, core and slice apples thinly.  Mix apple slices into bowl with sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon rind and cranberry.  Allow to stand for about 30 minutes then drain off excess liquid from apples.
  2. Melt butter in a pan, add breadcrumbs, stir over low heat until breadcrumbs are golden brown.  Let cool a bit and mix the crumbs with the brown sugar.
  3. Lay a sheet of pastry onto the chopping board, sprinkle 1/3 of the breadcrumb mix over the pastry.  Spoon apple mixture along one end of pastry and brush some egg wash toward the end edge. Fold in sides of pastry to edge of apple filling, then carefully roll up the strudel.  
  4. Repeat the procedure for the rest of the pastries.  Brush egg over the strudels and bake in 230c hot oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  When cold, dust with icing sugar and cut into thick slices.

Source: Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Cooking Class Cookbook" published by the Australian Women's Weekly - Home Library

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garlic Bread Rolls

When I read Elisabeth's homemade garlic rolls from Food and Thrift Finds,  it just remind me that I haven't made bread for a long time.  People may have the skill or enjoy the fun of kneading bread but I find that my lovely friend - the breadmaker can do a better job than me.  This recipe is originally adopted from Suhaina's My Singapore Kitchen,  I combine Elisabeth and Suhaina's method using cheese, sesame seeds and fresh basil making this bread.  What I love making bread is that the smell, the softness and warm texture of fresh bread always make me feel hungry.

CORRECTION:  I've made a mistake about the orders putting ingredients into the breadmaker.  It should always be: 1st.  Liquid ingredients, ie. water
                             2nd. Fat, ie. oil
                             3rd.  Salt
                             4th.  Dry Ingredients, ie. flour, sugar
                             5th. Yeast

Here is the corrected recipe:
Garlic Bread Rolls - Breadmaker Method
(make 8 rolls)

3 cups high protein plain flours
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
2-3 tablespoon olive oil
sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten

Garlic Spread:
50 butter
3 grated garlic clove
2 tablespoon basil, chopped
3 tablespoon shaved parmesan cheese


  1. Pour in warm water, olive oil followed by salt, flour and sugar.  Put the yeast last.
  2. Press the dough button and let the breadmaker knead until finished.
  3. Combine butter, garlic, basil and cheese and blend until well mix.
  4. Warm your oven at 100c for 10 minutes.  Then turn if off.
  5. Place a piece of baking paper onto the kitchen bench.  Divide the dough into half. Roll the dough about 15cmx20cm rectangle.  Spread with about 1/2 garlic butter (leave 2 tablespoons for later use), then roll up the dough.  
  6. Cut the the bread into 4 equal portions.  Repeat the procedure for the remaining dough.  Spread the left over garlic butter on top and sprinkle with some sesame seeds.  
  7. Leave the bread for 2nd proof in the warm oven for 45 minutes or until the bread about double in size.  You may find some melted butter at the bottom of the pan, it will be absorbed in cooking later.
  8. Brush the rolls with egg and sprinkle more sesame seeds.  Bake in moderately oven for 20-25 minutes. 
  9. The bread is best to be eaten fresh.  Heat the cold bread in microwave for 20 seconds to get the freshness again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apple Pie

Winter has come and apple is in season.  When I put winter and apple together,  I could only think of the warm and crusty apple pie.  The last time my daughter asked me to make her apple pie for dessert, I made her an easy apple turnover instead.  Apple pie isn't my favourite dessert and I have only made it once until I tried Mrs Marshall's apple pie.  She is our customer and her pie wins a lot of prizes in the show.  How funny is that a customer comes to your restaurant and give you food in return!  She's such a lovely old lady! I love her fruit mince tart the best.  I make this apple pie to satisfy my daughter's or mine (?) craving for a warm dessert.  The apricot jam has done its magic to enhance the favour and I am going to try another flavour such as apricot, apple with raspberry in the future.  Homemade sweet pie has just opened its door for me to explore!

I have learned a lot working with chicken in May, trying new techniques and ingredients.  I am going to work on pastry in June.  Sweet and savoury, buttery and flakey,  serve warm or old....    

Apple Pie

185g butter
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup custard powder
1/3 cup cornflour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
1 egg white for glazing
extra sugar

3 large cooking apples
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoon apricot jam, warmed


  1. Peel, quarter and core apples.  Cut the apple into 1cm cubes.  Put in saucepan with water, sugar and lemon rind.  Cook until apples are almost tender and still holding shapes.  Remove from heat and drain.  
  2. For the pastry: sift flours, custard powder and salt into a mixing bowl.  Rub in butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add sugar and mix well.
  3. Make well in the centre of dry ingredients, add egg yolk and enough water, mix to a firm dough.  Knead lightly and refrigerate pastry for about 1 hour.   
  4. Divide the pastry into half.  Roll the pastry between baking paper and spread onto the base of a 23cm pie plate.  You don't need to grease or line the plate with paper as there is sufficient oil in the pastry to prevent it from sticking.
  5. Spread base of pie with apricot jam.  Put cooled and drained apple over jam.  Roll out remaining pastry, brush edges of pie with milk and cover with pastry.  Press edges together firmly, trim and decorate.  Brush top with lightly beaten egg white, sprinkle with extra sugar.  Cut a few slits in top.  Bake in moderately hot oven 20 minutes, reduce heat to moderate and cook further 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 
Source: The cook book "Best Ever Recipes" published by the Australian Women's Weekly - Home Library