Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Red Velvet Cake

Last Monday, it was my turn to prepare something simple to celebrate a colleague's birthday. I had been meaning to bake the red velvet cake I saw Monique made, so I thought it was a good time to bake it. 

Monique called  this the best ever red velvet cake... I can't really say that because I rarely eat RVC. This was my first time baking a RVC. Before this, I think I've only eaten it twice, the cupcake version..... but I don't remember how they tasted. But what I can say is, this cake that I made is really delicious & I like the moderately dense texture too. 

I baked the birthday cake using  8-inch pan. The cake turned out rather high even though I used some batter to make a small cake. For the small cake, I baked a thin layer (about an inch, after baking) in a 6x9 pan & cut 2 round pieces of sponge. I also managed to assemble another small cake using the remnants  from the first two cakes. So I think this recipe is good for two 8 inch 2-layered cakes or  a 9 or 10 inch 2-layered cake.

The smaller cake for home..

The birthday cake...

Red Velvet Cake

Recipe by Monique @ Divas Can Cook.

2 cups all purpose flour (I used cake flour.)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoon of unsweetened, cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1-2 oz. red food coloring
1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar
½ cup of prepared plain hot coffee (don’t skip this ingredient)
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil.
  4. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring until combined.
  5. Stir in the coffee and white vinegar.
  6. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, just until combined.
  7. Generously grease and flour two round cake pans (I used 8 inch pans.) with crisco (I used butter.)  and flour. Pour the batter evenly into each pan. Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake as cake will continue to cook as it cools. Let cool on a cooling rack until the pans are warm to the touch.Slide a knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to loosen the cake from the pan.
  8. Remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool. (I sliced away dome top of sponge.)
  9. Frost the cake with cream cheese frosting when the cakes have cooled completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Complete Baking Book &  Ricke @ Just My Ordinary Kitchen.

250 cream cheese
100g unsalted butter, cold
2 tbsp icing sugar
500ml dairy whip cream (whipped)
4 tsp cold water
1/2 tsp gelatin powder
  1. Combine cream cheese, butter & sugar in a mixing bowl & cream until light & pale.  Set aside.
  2. Place cold water in a bowl. Sprinkle gelatine powder. Set aside for few minutes for gelatine to bloom. Then microwave for about 10 seconds until gelatine is dissolved. (You may double boil it.) 
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat whipping cream  with an electric mixer on medium speed while gradually drizzling the mixture with the gelatin. Add in cream cream mixture  & mix gently until well blended. 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Almost Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baked these chocolate chip cookies at the request of my youngest. He asked for chocolate chip cookies "like the ones at Famous Amos" when I was baking the Afghan Cookies & reminded me again when we passed by a Famous Amos outlet..... how can anyone miss the irresistible aroma of its cookies..

So what better time to bake these Almost Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies, highly recommended by Rima. Had wanted to try this recipe since I saw it long time ago.... My cookies turned out rather crunchy since I waited for the cookies to turn golden brown before taking the tray out of the oven. Taste wise, I find them quite sweet.... wonder if it would have been milder if I had used oats instead of Nestum.... But one thing for sure, they would definitely be better if I had not omitted the nuts, but then my customer didn't want nuts in his cookies. Anyway, I certainly will try this recipe again, with oats & nuts, of course!


Almost Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sourced & adapted from Bisous A Toi.

250g salted butter, softened - I used unsalted
200g light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt - I used 1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp coffee oil (this is the one that gives the cookie its distinctive fragrance)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup oats, processed to bits in a chopper - I used  Nestum
1/4 cup ground almond
1/2 cup of your favourite nuts, chopped finely (optional) - I didn't use
1 pack of Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks - I used Hersheys
300g self-raising flour
  1. At least 2 hours or the night before, beat egg with vanilla & coffee oil to infuse. If done the night before, refrigerate & then bring it to room temperature before mixing.
  2. Preheat oven to 160C.
  3. Beat butter, sugar & salt to combine. Beat in egg and stir in the processed oats, ground almond, chopped nuts (if used) and the chocolate chips / chunks. Sift flour and fold it in.
  4. For small cookies, place half tsp dough, spaced slightly apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 9 to 10 minutes. For large cookies, place rounded tbsp of the dough spaced apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. (I placed 10g dough for each cookie & baked for about 20 minutes.)
  5. Cool completely before serving.  To allow the flavour and fragrance to develop further, store cookies in an airtight container overnight before serving.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Tres Leches Cake

Hi everyone! How's your day? Mine has been a rush Labour Day holiday....... now still rushing to complete this post fast so that I can meet the dateline for Bake Along which ends in about 2 hours. I should be able to make it....

Made this Latin American cake this afternoon & managed to take some shots with my compact camera (coz the memory card for the dslr is missing... long story..) before rushing to the hospital to visit my dad where I also met up with my cousins from kl. Came home just after nine, had dinner & started editing the photos... I've been taking longer than usual editing the pictures ever since we bought a new iMac. I usually use PhotoScape for editing but I'm not able to use that with iMac. So, until I decide on another software,  I'll have to make do with the editing using the netbook.... not an ideal thing given the failing eyesight.

Now, about this cake.. I really wanted to try baking this cake because I was quite curious with the outcome, texture & taste, given the not-so-normal way to finish a cake... I'm referring to the soaking part. It's basically a sponge cake soaked in milk, lots of it! I decided to use only 50% of the recommended proportion of milk mixture for soaking, yet I think this cake is just too sweet to my liking. If I do make this again, I'll  certainly do some tweaking to the proportion. Whatever it is, I'm glad I baked it. If not for this baking event, I may not have come across this cake or thought of attempting to bake it..... 

Ok... here's the changes I made..
1. I made half the recipe & used a 6x9 inch pan. I lined & greased the pan.
2. I replaced the heavy cream with low-fat milk & halved the recommended amount of the milk mixture for soaking. Which means, for half recipe, I only used 1/4 can each of evaporated & condensed milk & 1/16 cup of low-fat milk.
3. I served the cake with chocolate ganache (mine is quite watery though..) instead of the icing.
4. I didn't wait for the cake to cool down before piercing the holes & pouring the milk mixture. I did it right after taking the cake out of the oven.

Tres Leches Cake
Recipe by The Pioneer Woman.

1 cup All-purpose Flour (I used cake flour.)
1-1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
5 whole Eggs
1 cup Sugar, Divided
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 cup Milk
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Heavy Cream

1 pint Heavy Cream, For Whipping
3 Tablespoons Sugar
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.

Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.

Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.

Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.

Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable.
Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries. Cut into squares and serve.

I'm submitting this entry to Free & Easy Bake Along event #43 (Theme - Tres Leches Cake) hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

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