spicy warm cake for a rainy season

it’s been raining every afternoon and evenings, and most nights too.
though my country does not have the four seasons, we experience some chilly nights when it rains extensively. yesterday was one of those days.
when you are feeling chilled and needing some warmth…why not whip up some nice spicy cake.

i decided to do a gingerbread cake. it has been something that i have been longing to do, just that every time i pushed it away for some other recipe i have tagged or bookmarked. i am glad i haven’t pushed it away this time….cuz this cake is a long time coming. I should have made it long ago!

since Christmas is near (so fast?…hmmmm…i wish it was nearer), this cake will be a good start for the season.  yes, the world now is in a huge economic chaos, i hope things get better. depression may be ahead…i suppose it is always appropriate to find some small dimension in your life to bring things to a positive cheer.  for me, it is baking.

this cake was so aromatic, moist and gingery….very appropriate to keep your moods up! it’s a good sport since it keeps well and stays moist for long. go on, bring out your spatulas and mixing bowl!

Gingerbread Cakes with cream+nutmeg spice

Gingerbread & Chocolate Cake with whipped cream+sprinkled nutmeg spice

Gingerbread & Chocolate Cake (adapted from Baking from my home to yours, Dorie Greenspan)

For the Cake
2 tablespoons finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
280g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (i added this in)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (i substituted with mixed spice)
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g packed, light brown sugar
3 large eggs
125ml molasses (or black treacle)
6 oz bittersweet chocolate – 2 ounces melted, 4 ounces finely chopped (which i have used the short cut by using chocolate chips instead ;) )
250ml buttermilk (i used yogurt milk, yummiee…)
for the icing (optional)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon strong coffee
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (it’s a good idea to sift this, I found)
Cake
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C, rack in center.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices together and set aside. If you’re using a stand mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment, set on medium, and cream the butter and brown sugar together until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add in eggs in one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. To which point, the mixture will look a bit curdled, but no worries on that. Add the molasses and continue beating until the mixture is smooth.
Reduce speed to low and the melted chocolate and the sugared ginger.  Then add the dry ingredients in three stages, alternating with the buttermilk, and in my case, yogurt milk.  Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Do not over mix the batter.  Fold in the chocolate pieces and pour the batter into a 9-inch square baking tray.
Bake for 50-60 minutes. I had mine for 1 hour in the oven before its finally cooked. Test the cake’s doneness by inserting a toothpick/skewer into the cake. If the skewer comes out clean, the cake is ready! Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then take it out of the pan and cool to room temperature before icing (if desired).

i am a Dorie Greenspan fan!

luscious. sexy. delights. tickles.

this is what i call dessert’s heaven.

my first attempt in making tart resulted in a very pleasurable experience gastronomically.
i have searched for many tart recipes of late, but could not decide which to use for my first try. So i went for my Dorie Greenspan book, which I have been experimenting many recipes from her book and with 99% success! so therefore, i am literally a fan!


imagine that soft, moist and mild sweetness of chocolate, cream and egg custard sliding down your throat.
the blueberries took your mind further to dessert heaven with its delightful sweet and mildly sour notes…a very lovely combination.a surprise on the tastebuds indeed.

the original recipe was with raspberries, with the option of using cherries or other berries (but not strawberries since it will produce too much water).  this recipe may take some waiting time here and there, but it is quite easy to whip up!

make it a Sunday affair, and you will have a delicious dessert for dinner!

I whipped up some vanilla-laced whip cream to go with the tart. the combination of cold whip cream and tart is so sooooo good. :)

chocolate...Dreamy...soft...blueberries, cream Tart

chocolate...Dreamy...soft...blueberries, cream Tart

Sweet Tart Dough (adapted from Baking from my home to yours, Dorie Greenspan)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, confectioners sugar and salt in a mixer/food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter butter cubes over the dry ingredients and pulse until they resemble crumbs of pea-sized and oatmeal flakes. Stir in the lightly beaten yolk a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses – 10seconds each, until the dough forms clumps and curds. Stop and turn the dough out onto a work surface, and very lightly and sparingly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Press the dough into a 9-inch tart pan. Don’t be too heavy handed. Freeze the crust for at least 30minutes or longer, before baking.

After the 30minutes or so, bake crust in preheated oven of 375 F degrees for about 15 – 20 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before use.

Soft Chocolate & Blueberries Tart (adapted from Baking from my home to yours, Dorie Greenspan)

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 handfuls of fresh blueberries (or more if u prefer)
1 9-inch tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough, fully baked & cooled

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Put the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Place chopped chocolates in a large bowl. Bring the cream and butter just to a boil.
Pour the cream-butter mixture over the chocolate, let it stand for 30 seconds.

Working with a whisk/rubber spatula, gently stir the liquid into the chocolate – start in the center of the bowl and work your way out in widening circles. When the mixture is smooth, stir in the sugar, then the eggs and finally the yolk, ensuring no bubbles have formed.

Scatter the berries over the bottom of the crust, the pour the chocolate mixture over them.

Bake the tart for 30 minutes or so – the filling should not jiggle if you tap the pan and a knife inserted into the center of the tart should come out a little streaky. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool before serving.

up close with ms. luscious...

up close with ms. luscious...

a splendid dessert to go with coffee or tea. serve at room temperature for its best flavour and to savour the tart’s creaminess.

going Oreo the green way

oreos going green? urmmm, that will never happen i think!

however…..

my take on this simple treat here is…having Oreo cookies but yet eating them gleefully without the GUILT factor. the factor that stop most of us who have turned the age of being diet conscious, figure conscious and vanity – our main *devil. if most of us weren’t so vain in most times…eating an Oreo anytime would not have been a problem.

so what did i do to make Oreo less sinful? Heee….

greeney oreo honey

greeney oreo honey

Honey Green Tea Oreo cupcake

8oz unsalted butter, softened
5 1/2 oz castor sugar or half brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tbsp honey
280ml milk (more milk than usual cuz’ wholewheat absorbs moisture..)
8 oz all purpose flour, sifted
2 oz wholemeal wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp green tea powder
8 Oreo cookies, crushed (including its centers)

Do the creaming method for cake. Mix in the crushed Oreos, last.
Makes 24 medium cupcakes.

what i like about it? You get the best of both worlds…..
Oh do take a close look at the mug and saucers…I love them so much. It has branch-like handles!

branch-like mug with greeney Oreo honey

branch-like mug with greeney Oreo honey

for this post, i am thanking Fanny from Foodbeam as she is the hostess for September’s Sugar High Friday event – Cupcakes The Final Chapter, created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess. This fantastic event will be a joint effort to debunk the myth that cupcakes is always sweet, sinful, full of cream and having a tasteless interior (cake). We beg to differ…..join us in the march! ;)

moist interior, subtle green tea flavour melds with Oreo

moist interior, subtle green tea flavour melds with Oreo

*the quest for the ultimate choc-chip cookie (…continued)

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE.

42 hours of waiting, nail-biting (maybe i exaggerated a bit…!), anxious and excited at the same time.

the results was spectacular rounds of morsels.

- tan golden body – crisp inside-out – caramelish flavour – chocolatey chocolate chips – dense internals – bite-size – oh so fragrant aroma throughout the whole apartment – i couldn’t stop biting one after another – my quest for my ultimate homemade chocolate chip cookie ended with this recipe, tweaked for my palate and our local palate – i’m practically on cloud*9 – JUBILANT.

ultimate cookie

ultimate cookie

if anyone ever doubted the effect of the hours of the cookie dough spent in the fridge have any effect on the result of your chocolate chip cookie……please stop doubting! You will not regret ever for waiting that few days to bake the cookies.

i practically stood in front of my oven for 18minutes to view the progress of my little darlings in heat! Crazy as it may sound, I was that obsessed.

take a bite...

take a bite...

Here’s the recipe i adapted from NY Times version to the availability of my supplies:

10 oz all purpose flour (you may use bread flour as suggested in the original recipe)
6 oz cake flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt (i used Himalayan salt)
10oz unsalted butter, softened
5 oz light brown sugar
4 oz granulated sugar
2 eggs (medium or large)
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz sweet chocolate chips (double if you use bittersweet chocolate chunks/chips)

Combine and sift flours, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder & salt. Set aside.
Using mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Then add in sugars and cream again until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
Mix in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
On low speed, stir in flours in few intervals. Stop when everything is incorporated.
Next add in the chocolate chips or chunks.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap/cling film and refrigerate for at least 36 hours.
The dough may be refrigerated up to 72 hours max, used in batches if preferred.

……after waiting for a few days….

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Scoop teaspoonfuls or tablespoonfuls of dough on your baking sheet, making sure to leave 1 – 2 inches space between them.
Bake until golden brown (around 15 – 18minutes), switching baking sheets at half interval (8 minute point).
Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies from baking sheet to wire rack to cool further. Cookies will feel soft when it is fresh from the oven, it will harden crisply once it is cool.

Yields around 120 cookies (if using teaspoonfuls).

stacked soldiers

stacked soldiers

♣ there u have it…the ultimate choc-chip cookie, waiting to be baked and be addicted with ♣
I can’t believe who would not!!!

the quest for the ultimate choc-chip cookie

as obsessed as every other home baker – i am determined to get a big tray of the best choc-chip cookies you can find on my dinner table! I have been wondering for quite some time, what was the secret to the caramelish yet crisp and addictive choc chip cookie of Famous Amos?

and i stumbled upon Orangette’s entry about NY Times recipe and ‘the story’…and i was hooked and intrigued and very excited..cuz i finally knew what the secret was. It was not the ingredients but the METHOD and the TIME. i breezed into the kitchen yesterday nite at 10pm just to get the cookie dough made and popped into the fridge! Forget about being tired from work!!! Now i am waiting…waiting for the 36hours to be up…and the results we shall see on Friday nite…………………….♥ CLICK HERE!

a sunny awakening bazaar

sauna-hot, salt-sweaty, whirly-mind and nevertheless excited like a baby who got her first toothy, I opened my first stall together with my long-time friend Ethan, on sunny 17 August 2008.

i have always baked for friends, family and self consumption. My baking passion has pampered them with occasional treats, one week or another, some asking for more, and others prompting me to open shop, in which I will always reply with a big smile… “one day, right now will be a dream”. I recall a repartee by my junior colleague, “don’t dream, make it happen!”. That was my last day working with the guy and that company…I was touched with his confidence because he only tried one cupcake.

17 aug was an auspicious day i suppose, my favourite number for obvious reasons to most, and a good day despite we would like to have more traffic at the bazaar. I can say this, however, ” We Will Be Back! “. I have doubts before in the possibility of opening a stall for 8 hours, a Sunday much less! One, it takes sacrifice (a good big scoop of it), then comes patience (as stubborn as the metal beaters of your mixer), next and the biggest part of all – your PASSION, all poured out to the very last drop. I spent many late nights and early mornings baking, designing stickers, packaging the treats…wonderfully i could still wake up to work at 10am or so, when i only slept at 4am.

today my shoulders are aching, but i’m further charged to do better because we learned so much for 1 day under the bleary red umbrella (hahaha….). We will be back for another sunday…much wiser & street smart!

I am most grateful and appreciative to those who have purchased the treats I made with lots of love(!), and very much flattered to YOU who have thought I have a bakery named Te@mo tucked somewhere in town.

for now…u will find me occasionally at Mont Kiara Sunrise Plaza, KL. Cheers!

oatmeals at bazaar

oatmeals at bazaar

a tea addiction night

earl grey & zen

oddly, i was pretty obsessed tonight to get 3 things experimented – masala chai (Indian spiced tea), Zen cha (green tea), and beautifully scented bergamot tea….Earl Grey. I love all these three teas, depending on mood and time. Usually I have green tea in the afternoons, at work (…a good detox tea, esp all that heavy food at lunch ;p ), Earl Grey at night on occasions…and a rare treat if I’m in the right eating place, Masala Chai. This is only available to specific pure Indian food joints here in KL. Sweet, pungent (to me is fragrantly intoxicating!) and little hint of spiciness – just to get your mood right! I had Masala Chai 2 days ago, and I haven’t been able to put it aside since then…haha….

this time, my mind have been buzzing with a fusion of East meets West – I thought of marrying my two favourite tea together…a marble of Zen Cha & Earl Grey in cake-form. Yes, i wondered how these two would pair together, especially Earl has a very strong floral spicy note, whereas Zen is subtlely nutty yet calm. I wondered which overpowered the other, and who’s the winner!

tic-toc, tic-toc…i went buzzing up and down my kitchen, first I was rummaging for all the spices as indicated in some recipes I found on the internet to make my first Masala Chai in my life! I counted the needed spices (1 cinnamon stick, 7 cardomon pods, 4 cloves, 1 star anise, a medium pinch of fennel, 2 thin slices of ginger, and 4 peppercorns) and placed them on a plate. After that, I got side tracked…..I went on to prepare the ingredients for my dreamy cake.

got round to measuring the flour, sugar, green tea, poppy seeds, chocolate chips, walnuts, milk, and steeping a cup of Earl Grey. A little of this and that, mix, beat, fold. I made a couple of just Earl Grey, just Green Tea and a few of marbled fusion of the both!

The oven was producing a very pleasant smell…which reminded me that I’m hungry, and forsaken dinner. I went on to continue with boiling my Masala Chai, I use the portion of 2/3 water, 1/3 milk. This will be a good dinner substitute! I was already heady thinking of my cup of masala tea with tea-infused cakeletts. (Truth be told, I actually wanted to make Masala cake too, but guess have to save it for another time since the day is running out!) In 5 – 8 mins later, I have a very interesting blend of Masala Chai ready for enjoyment……

masala chai

Voila! My cakes are ready….. I loved the subtle hint of the Earl Grey cake, not too overpowering and really moist. The Zen-cha cake had a pleasant green hue with speckles of poppy seeds, choc chips (white), giving a nice crunch here and there. Overall, it turned out pleasantly mild & comforting. Not too sweet, very moist. So which overpowered the other?…. My take is Zen, but Earl might win the next round (probably steeping more than 1 teabag).

A good marriage here, I would say. What’s your call?

Ingredients to Green Tea Poppyseed cake:

4 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened
3 oz brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 oz all-purpose flour/ cake flour
2 oz ground almonds (meal)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp green tea powder
1 tsp green tea leaves (superfine-ground)
1 tbsp poppy seeds
100ml milk
1-2 oz white chocolate chips

Ingredients to Earl Grey & Walnut cake:

4 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened
3 oz brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 oz all-purpose flour/ cake flour
2 oz ground almonds (meal)
1/2 tsp baking powder
100ml Earl Grey tea (1 or 2 teabags steeped in hot water)
20ml milk
1 oz white/dark chocolate chips
2 oz walnuts, loosely crushed

Both combined together yields +- 20 cakelettes.

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