Friday, September 30, 2016

Birthday 2016 - Vanilla Cake by Angela Seah Thulin

And once again - it´s my birthday!

Hmm what kind of cake should I get this year? My husband was saying that he wanted to buy me a custom cake, but I decided to take the chance to bake one instead.

I don´t normally fancy vanilla sponge cake especially not with buttercream, but this 4-color layered cake with added lemon zest and delicious fondant decorations I absolutely love:)

For the birthday dinner, we went to a local chinese fine-dining restaurant in Malmö named Kin Long, and I have to say that it was indeed authentic and really enjoyable, especially their Taiwanese 3-cup chicken dish. The owner was very friendly and took time to explain the dishes and even discuss individual ingredients!

Facebook link -

Ingredients -
195g all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml full fat milk
80ml vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
180g granulated sugar
zest of one lemon (outer skin of lemon)

Syrup (to brush on the sponge cake)
60ml water
20g of granulated sugar
*In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Buttercream - 
460g icing/powdered sugar
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
2-4 tbsp milk
edible food coloring

Pan size -
1 x 9'' (23cm) round pan 
4 x 15cm round pans

Steps -
Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius

1. Grease your cake pan and line with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl - mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

3. In another small bowl - mix the lemon zest and sugar together. Set aside.

 4. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar (that has been mixed with lemon zest), eggs and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy about 1 minute.

 5. Then alternately add the flour in by 3 additions and the milk and oil in by 2 additions. Beat until just combined. Do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among 4 baking trays. Bake at preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and transfer to wire rack for ten minutes. Invert the cake and let it cool completely.

7. Buttercream - In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, slowly add in the milk in and beat to combine. Switch to high speed and beat the frosting until light and fluffy about 3-5 minutes. Add milk or powdered sugar as needed to get to the right consistency.

8. To assemble - lightly brush the syrup on each sponge cake, sandwich the layers with buttercream and cover the whole cake with remaining frosting.

Notes -
1. I baked my vanilla sponge cake at 170 degree celsius for 16 minutes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Galaxy Mirror Cake by Angela Seah Thulin

My first attempt :) The cake looks nice with the glossy surface - but since the cake is made of chocolate and ganache it's still pretty dark and doesn't really "pop". If using vanilla cake or with buttercream frosting - it will look even better. 

Facebook link -

Ingredients -
170g sugar
105g plain flour, sifted twice
45g Valrhona cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
120ml buttermilk
120ml strong coffee
70ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence

Ganache -
250g semi sweet chocolate
150ml heavy cream (36% fat content)

Pan size -
9'' (23cm) round pan 
4 x 15cm round pans

Mirror glaze -
5 tsp powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 sweet cup condensed milk
225g white chocolate (converture)
Food coloring - black, dark blue, bright blue, pink and purple.

Opt - edible silver dust

Method - Mirror Glaze

Steps -
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
1. Grease and line parchment paper to four 15cm baking pans. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
3. Add egg, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla essence - beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Batter will be thin.
4. Divide batter evenly among 4 baking trays, about 160g batter each.
5. Bake at preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and transfer to wire rack, let it cool completely.
6. In a small sauce pot, bring heavy cream to a simmer and then remove from heat. Pour the cream onto the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute and then stir to mix well.
7. Assemble the cake - sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a paletter knife. Chill the cake until ganache is firm, about an hour.

Notes -
1. Buttermilk - I added 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice to 120ml milk. Set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Strong Coffee - I used 1 tbsp espresso powder to 120ml of hot water.
3. Every oven's temperature varies. I baked these 4 trays altogether on the middle rack at 160 degrees celsius for 20 minutes.
4. I have already reduced 30g sugar compared to the original recipe.

Recipe origin: My Baking Addiction

Monday, September 19, 2016

Peppers and Onion Pesto Pasta by Angela Seah Thulin

Meal for 3 - 4 pax 

Ingredients -

350g Penne pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper (sliced)
2 medium-large yellow onion (sliced), 
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup heavy cream (36% fat content)
3 tbsp basil pesto sauce
50g Parmigiano reggiano 
salt and pepper to taste
reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water or more

Steps -
1. Cook the pasta with salt and some olive oil until al dente. Drain and set aside. Reserving about 1/2 cup pasta water.
2. In a large pan, add the 3 tbsp of olive oil and cook the onions and bell pepper with some salt for about 10 minutes in medium heat (until the onions cooked down).
3. Then add the minced garlic in and cook for another one minute. Keep stirring. Pour the heavy cream and add the tomatoes in. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and cook for 5-8 minutes.
4. Add the pesto sauce and 1/4 cup of pasta water in, mix well. Turn to medium heat, add the penne in, mix well, top with Parmigiano and cook until the sauce slightly thickens. 

Done and serve! 

Recipe origin: Laura Vitale

Notes - 
1. I seasoned chicken breast meat with salt and pepper and pan fried them for few minutes. Dish up and set aside. And I added it in at steps 3.

This is without chicken breast meat

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Best Banana Chocolate Cupcakes by Angela Seah Thulin

Another awesome recipe tested - Soft, moist, fragrant and deliciousssss!!! Highly recommended.. You must try! 

About 12 cupcakes

Ingredients -

Part A
150g granulated white sugar 
130g all-purpose flour (sieved)
35g unsweetened cocoa powder (do not use dark cocoa)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Part B 
1 large egg
200g mashed ripe bananas
120ml warm water
60ml milk
60ml vegetable oil
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Steps -
Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius
1. In a large bowl, combine the part A and mix well. Set aside.
2. In another large bowl, hand whisk the part B ingredients together. Then combine the part A and B together. Mix well. Batter will be thin.
3. Scoop batter into muffin cup - 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted center comes out clean. 

Recipe origin - Joy of Baking

Notes -
1. I reduced the sugar from 200g to 150g, sweetness is just nice for us. 
2. Followed the baking temp as per instructions and baked for 19 minutes only.
3. My ganache is - 110g chocolate with 70ml heavy cream.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mushroom Risotto by Angela Seah Thulin

I still remember the very first time I had risotto. It was in Italy and I was served with one BIG plate! Of course I couldn't finish so the waiter asked - why, was it not nice?? It was just too big of a serving and it was my first time. It was far too creamy for my taste too. 

This was my first attempt to do it myself and I must say it is quite easy to cook (but you must make sure to stir all the time) and both hubby and son gave thumbs up.

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Ingredients -
250g Arborio or Carnaroli risotto rice 
250g of mixed wild mushroom and shitake
4 cups of chicken stock
3 tbsps olive oil
1 small onion (finely chopped 100g)
1 tbsp minced garlic
100ml dry white wine
1/2 tsp dry thyme
10g butter
50g parmesan cheese
salt and pepper 

Steps -
1. Rinse and pat dry the mushrooms. Separate the caps from the stems, slice them into large piece or more or less the same size.
2. Heat up the chicken stock over low flame.
3. In a pan - heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, add half of the onion and garlic in. Cook until translucent. Then add the mushrooms, thyme and butter in. Stir to mix well. Saute the mushrooms for few minutes until they lose their juices and brown slightly. Add salt and pepper in, mix well and remove from heat.
4. In another pan - heat 2 tbsps olive oil,add the other half of onion and garlic in follow by adding the rice. Keep stirring until rice turns translucent. 
5. Add the wine in and let it cook till reduce almost entirely. Add one ladle full of hot chicken stock. Continue to cook, uncovered, stir continuously until the rice has fully absorbed to liquid. Ladle by ladle add the rest of the stock , leaving time for the rice to absorb the stock. In twenty minutes the rice should be both ''al dente'' and creamy.
6. At the end of the cooking, remove from heat, add the grated parmesan and the saute mushrooms. Mix well. Serve!

Notes -
1. I used 4 cups of water with 1/2 chicken knorr cube.
2. I used about 1/4 tsp salt and a dash of black pepper.
3. I did a quick rinse to the Arborio twice.
4. Optional - truffle oil to drizzle after cooked.