Saturday, January 29, 2011

Miss CoCo's Chocolate Buttercream Birthday Cake

I got this fabulous chocolate buttercream sponge cake from Baking Library and it was GREAT! Definitely a must-try for anyone who loves a good chocolate cake with rich chocolate frosting and yet, not too sweet or heavy.

As it was my very 1st attempt in making an actual birthday cake, and it was for my darling baby girl's birthday party, I wanted to give the recipe a try 1st. So I made one earlier half the size.

I even tried doing some simple piping with the extra buttercream. Haha...

I noticed that if it's too small, the sponge cake have trouble holding up at the sides while cooling. But I just wanted to try out the taste, and it was definitely a PASS for me!

So this is the full size portion...

Chocolate Sponge Cake :
70g egg yolks, room temperature
50g caster sugar
4 tbs vegetable oil
4 tbs water
80g cake flour
15g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
145g egg whites, room temperature
50g caster sugar

Swiss Meringue Chocolate Buttercream: (about 840g)
195g egg whites
220g caster sugar
385g unsalted butter, softened but still cold
100g cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)

Making the Chocolate Sponge Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
  2. Whisk sifted flour, sifted cocoa powder and sifted baking powder in a large bowl to combine.
  3. Place egg yolks, 50g caster sugar, oil and water in a large bowl. Mix well with a wire whisk untill the mixture is evenly mixed. Add the flour mixture in and whisk to obtain a smooth and thick chocolatey batter.
  4. Next, whisk egg whites on low speed. Increase speed slowly to medium-high and beat untill egg whites are at soft peaks. Add 50g of sugar gradually and beat untill egg whites are just stiff and still moist. This is when the beaters are lifted, the egg whites will form peaks that are upright and not drooping slightly. Egg whites will resemble whipped cream.The entire bowl of whites will not drop out when the bowl is overturned. Do not beat until the egg whites are dry and clumpy.
  5. Fold one third of beaten egg whites into egg yolk batter gently to lighten and combine. Fold in the rest of the beaten whites to combine. Final batter should be foamy and uniform in colour with no streaks of egg white present.
  6. Pour batter into 2 greased and lined 8 x 3 inch round pans and bake at 160 degrees C for 25 -35 minutes. Test doneness using a skewer or toothpick. The highest part of the cake should rise up to 4/5 or nearly the full height of the tin. When the cake is done, the inserted skewer will come out clean.
  7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a short while. Cake will shrink from edges on cooling. (happens everything, it is normal) When the cake is no longer shrinking, unmould from pan, remove parchment/baking paper and turn the cake out to cool.

Preparing the Swiss Meringue Chocolate Buttercream:

  1. Place 195 egg whites and 220g granulated sugar in a heatproof bowl. Sit the heatproof bowl on a saucepan filled with water. The base of the bowl should not be in contact with the water. This is known as a double boiler. Bring the water in the saucepan to a slight simmer. Use a balloon whisk and stir the egg whites and sugar constantly until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (test by inserting your finger).
  2. Remove the heatproof bowl and beat the warm egg white mixture on medium high speed to obtain stiff peaks using an electric beater. (It takes a longer time when sugar is added.) At stiff peaks, the beaten egg whites will not budge when bowl is overturned. When the beaters are lifted from the beaten egg whites, the surface of the egg whites should form stiff upright peaks (not drooping peaks). The beaten egg whites should be cool to the touch (room temperature), not warm like when it was removed from the saucepan.
  3. Beat in 385g butter into the beaten egg whites in 3 batches, ensuring each batch is incorporated before adding the next. The egg whites will deflate furiously when butter is added. Continue beating until the mixture is creamy and fluffy (Initially when the butter is added, the mixture may become watery. As more butter is added, the buttercream thickens up).
  4. Lastly, sift in 100g cocoa powder and continue beating to obtain a smooth chocolate buttercream.

  • I just sandwich some buttercream between the 2 sponge cakes and frost the whole cake with buttercream.
  • My hubby suggested adding some nuts to the cake, so I added some crushed hazelnuts to the side. The nuts really complement the chocolate very well!
  • I wanted to add some colour to the cake, so I topped it with some sweet Korean strawberries.
  • I wanted it to be more kiddy, so the train candle holder I found at Phoon Huat was perfect. :)

I was so busy bringing out the cake that I forgot to take a good photo of my greatest creation! Too bad, I just too 2 pictures hastily and did some cropping from the group photos. :P

So happy and proud... :))

Monday, January 24, 2011

Miss CoCo's Closed Pineapple Tarts

After a two year rest, I've decided to rise to the occasion once again to make pineapple tarts. The last time I did it, I was heavily pregnant and it really tire me out! This year, after some research, I decided to do something different. I wanted to make closed ones!

Yes, as you can see, I've stuck to my Bunny theme... Haha...

This recipe is from A Baker's Videoblog, which is very specialize in pineapple tarts. She even teaches them in classes! For more details, videos and useful tips, check out her site. :)

She used her recipe for the typical "open" tarts, but I used it for the closed version. Turned out that the closed version is actually easier to make! Here are the ingredients:

450g of pineapple filling (commercially-bought or homemade)
360g plain flour plus extra for dusting (3 cups minus 2 tbsp)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
280g cold unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 1 tbsp)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Egg glaze: 1 egg yolk mixed with a few drops of water (to thin it)

  1. Sift flour and sugar. Mix well.
  2. Cut butter into small cubes and add to flour mixture.
  3. Use fingertips to rub the butter into the flour.
  4. Lightly beat egg yolks and vanilla essence and add to butter mixture. Combine and knead lightly to form a dough.
  5. Wrap the dough in clingwrap and chill it for an hour to firm it up. Chilling the dough makes it easy to handle.
  6. Roll doughs and pineapple filling into small balls. To make sure that each tart is evenly sized, measure each piece of dough and filling using measuring spoons. For the dough, use a half tablespoon and a teaspoon for the filling.
  7. Flatten the dough slightly using the heel of your palm, wrap the filling up and roll it to round it up. See here for video instructions.
  8. To make the bunny design, I just add the bunny ears and poke 2 eyes. :)

  9. Preheat the oven at 190°C (375°F) for 10 minutes. Bake them for 7 minutes, then remove them from the oven, brush the egg glaze, then pop them back to be baked for a further 7 minutes.
  10. Using a flat spatula, transfer the tarts to a wire rack. Allow tarts to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

  • Careful not to add to much water to the egg glaze. I added too much water, making it too watery.
  • I brushed on too much glaze onto the tart, so my tart sort of 'melted' a little in the oven during baking. Just a thin glaze will do.

I love this recipe. It's very light, buttery and melts in your mouth. Hope everybody have a good time making it, and I really look forward to seeing the children enjoy the little bunny tarts too! Here's wishing all a early Happy Lunar New Year! 新年快乐!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fresh Corn Sandwich Toast

Got this recipe from a new cooking book I bought a few weeks ago. My daughter and husband loves corn, so this would be a great recipe for the family. High in fibre, vitamins and natural sweetness, this is a great way to sneak in some vegetables into their daily diet!

My blender was too powerful, so my corn turned out more like a corn puree. The corn mixture was so fine that they can hardly tell there's fresh corn in the bread. Hubby suggested that I make the corn more chunky, good idea, will do that next time. :)

50ml Warm water
40g Sugar
3g Salt
4g Instant dry yeast
150g Fresh sweet corn kernel, blended with 50ml of water

350g High protein flour
50g Unsalted butter

  1. Grease loaf tin (8"X5"X5")
  2. Mix Set A ingredients together and set aside.
  3. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients (except butter) and mix into a dough.
  4. Add in butter and knead for another 7 minutes or so, until the dough is smooth and elastic and does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
  5. Remove the dough, oil the bowl and put dough back inside the bowl. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let it rest until it double's in size, about 2 hours.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, round up and set it aside to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Roll out the dough, roll it up neatly. Roll it out in the opposite direction, roll it up again, and place it into the loaf tin.
  8. Cover loaf tin with cling wrap and let it rise until it fills about 80% of the tin.
  9. Cover tin with lid and bake in preheated oven at 200°C for 40-45 minutes.
  10. Remove and unmould the loaf onto wire rack to cool. Slice and serve.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Deep Fried Stuffed Tau Pok

Got this recipe from an old cookbook. In the original recipe, in the fish paste, they add:
chopped water chestnuts
diced spring onions
chicken stock granules
dash of sugar, sesame oil and pepper

Thankfully, I found some raw fish paste at a local supermarket that was already seasoned. Besides, I didn't want to buy a whole bag of water chestnuts, so I didn't add that either.

So, very simple. Just cut a tau pok into half and flip it inside out.

Using a teaspoon, stuff in the fillings.

Heat up oil for deep-frying, put in stuffed tau pok and deep-fry till until golden brown and crispy. Dish and drain, serve hot with chilli sauce. YUM YUM!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

88 Authentic Thai Seafood

Got to know about this place from reading the chinese newspaper. Decided to give it a go since Hubby was on leave. It's pretty near the popular Bedok hawker centre, and it was Saturday evening, so finding parking was quite difficult. We had to park at the housing blocks across the road, but it wasn't far.

The coffee shop was facing the road, but the 1st thing we saw was posters and banner of a tze char store selling crabs. At first I thought that the Thai Seafood store had moved away. But walk further in and we found the right store.

Hungry! We quickly ordered their recommended dishes, and was pleasantly surprised!

Come to a Thai eatery and this is a must try. Their rice was fluffy and just slightly sweet from the pineapple. Good.

I like their Thai style fried toufu too. The toufu they use was much softer than the typical fried toufu. The sauce was slightly more spicy than those you have at a typical Thai restaurant, so it was quite surprising.

Another typical dish. This Tom Yam Seafood soup got kick! The lemon grass fragrance in the soup was quite prominent, and the soup was a good balance of sour and spicy. The ingredients was very generous too!

This was my favorite! It's called butter sotong, but it's more like calamari! It's crispy, slightly buttery, and there's a wonderful garlic-ky fragrance to it. YUMS!

This is another one of their signature dish, garlic fish. But we don't really fancy it. The fish was fried to perfection, crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. But the crispy garlic and some unidentifiable crispy things on top, and the sauce, was just not that spectacular.

All and all, a very good dining experience. Definitely will go back again!

88 Authentic Thai Seafood
Block 88, Bedok North Street 4
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