Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The (perfect) white sandwich loaf

I consider myself a modest person, having grown up in a traditional Asian family where humility is a virtue and arrogance a vice. But you may have noticed that this self-acclaimed character of mine doesn't sit well with the title of this blog entry.

Let's just say I don't use the word 'perfect' a lot but the Hokkaido milk bread that I've made today was quite literally the best sandwich bread I've ever had. Soft, velvety and milky with a hint of cream. I cannot think of a better sandwich loaf.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Updated to-bake list


Fraisier Cake
Entremet with Joconde Imprint
Strawberry entremet
Whipped Cream Cake with a soufflé base
Mille Crêpes - (failed) - Tried this once but the cream was too sloppy and the crêpes too thick, making it impossible to slice through the layers. We ended up eating it layer by layer, which tasted great. That said it was a failure as it wasn't how it should be.
Mille Feuilles
Vanilla Tart
Triple Chocolate Mousse slices
Macaron Cake 
Mango Cheesecake
Strawberry Charlotte
Mont Blanc
Plaisir Sucré
Éclairs (I've made this before but forgot to take pictures!)
Fruit Tarts
Strawberry and Pistachio tart
Pear and Frangipane Tart - (New) Found this recipe on an amazing blog called 'use real butter'. Do head there and have a look but bewarned, you could easily spend a whole day in front of your computer.
Flapjacks - (New) Well I do live in the UK after all.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Salted Caramel Velvet Cake

My first ever original invention. It's a variant of the red velvet cake, except there's no red food coloring (thank goodness!) and there is salted caramel in the frosting. I've also added meringue to the sponge to make it lighter. Personally this is one of my favourite cakes, not just because it's my own recipe. I've always liked the combination of chocolate and salted caramel but sadly it's normally too sweet for my palate. In this recipe I've added the salted caramel to the mascarpone/cream cheese in place of icing sugar to dilute the sweetness but still retain a noticeable hint of salted caramel. I have baked this cake numerous times before as I was trying to perfect it. It's almost there I'd say but I'll have to bake it at least once more to make sure it wasn't down to luck. Plus I certainly don't mind eating a slice of it. Anytime.

It was a tad frustrating when I made this cake as I didn't know how to decorate it. In the end I settled for some hazelnuts dipped in caramel and a few leftover chocolate squares I made before. For some reason it just didn't work for me. I think it could be down to the fact that my caramel decorations were too small compared to the size of the cake and thus lacked the wow factor. Perhaps I should have made a nest of caramel instead. That said, I've learned something important about caramel decorations. I made the cake a day in advance and decorated it with those caramel hazelnuts. Unfortunately, perhaps due to the moisture of the mascarpone frosting, the caramel bits on the hazelnuts had melted by the next day and so the best part of the decoration, i.e; the spikes were practically gone by the time I brought it to the event. Anyway.. the cake was well received and I'm sure it tasted alright (I just learned a trick - to bake an extra cupcake using the same batter and frosting to do a taste test without slicing into a whole cake that you want to present).

I wish I had taken a picture of a slice of the cake but it was literally gone in 5 minutes (after all it was the ONLY cake at the event of 100 people). I just hope I didn't misunderstand what the organiser told me (though I was definitely under the impression that I was meant to bake ONE cake and not cater for the whole event). Oh well, good things come in small packages as they say.

White loaf with a twist

It's been a while and the last few weekends had been incredibly busy for me. I finally took the plunge and bought the rye sourdough starter that I had been eyeing for months from a dutch bakery. It has since grown very well and is now called Francis, and it lives in my fridge most of the time. :) The idea to name my sourdough starter was from my friend but the exact choice of name was my own decision.

This weekend I've made a pain rustique. Basically a rustic white bread but the recipe I used also includes rye sourdough starter and some whole wheat flour for extra flavour. I must say this has been my best attempt at bread making to date. The oven spring was also the most impressive compared to my previous attempts. The crust was a lot better this time having left it in the oven a bit longer after baking.

Overall, very pleased indeed. I will be making mille crêpes cake next weekend and I CANNOT wait. It's been sitting on my to-bake list for WAY too long and it's about time for it to be ticked off. :)