Chocolate and Strawberry Bavarian Cream Layer Cake

Chocolate and Strawberry Bavarian Cream Layer Cake

Chocolate collar was not very well done… :/

Just blogged about a layer cake recently and I’m back blogging about another one! This cake was made also for an early birthday celebration for a friend. I decided on a strawberry cake as Korean strawberries were on sale, so I bought 2 punnets and used 1 1/2 punnets for the recipe (including decorating). I actually wanted to try making a strawberry and white chocolate mousse but was afraid that it would be too sweet, so I opted for a bavarian cream instead.

Chocolate and Strawberry Bavarian Cream Layer Cake

Bavarian cream, also known as crème bavaroise or Bavarois, is a dessert similar to pastry cream but is thickened with gelatin instead of flour / cornstarch. It is often flavoured with liqueur and lightened with whipped cream but as I didn’t have any complementing liqueur on hand so I omitted the liqueur. The bavarian cream is rich, smooth and not overly sweet, I think the cream can be served directly in small serving cups as mousse!

Chocolate and Strawberry Bavarian Cream Layer Cake

As I had not made a white cake before, I didn’t want to take the risk of ruining the whole birthday cake, so I decided to just use the Devil’s Chocolate Cake recipe that is tested and good. It was a lovely combination! (Sorry for the lag of inspiration in writing the blog post… writing this at 12 midnight while partially dozing off is not very productive! I shall let the photos “tell” you how delicious the cake is ;))

(Click on the images to see larger photos in Flickr!)

wash and hull the strawberries puree and sieve

1) Wash and hull the strawberries.

2) Puree them in a blender and sieve to remove the seeds and lumps.

add in gelatin beat egg yolks and sugar together

3) Sprinkle in the gelatin granules and let it soften.

4) Whisk egg yolks and sugar together.

until pale and thick simmer some milk

5) Until pale and thick.

6) Bring some milk to a simmer – bubbles begin to appear ob the sides.

temper the egg yolks mixture cook until thick

7) Temper the egg yolks (detailed description on tempering below!)

8) Pour the egg yolks mixture back into the pot and cook until thickened.

pour in strawberry-gelatin mix remove from heat and stir in lemon juice

9) Pour in the strawberry-gelatin mixture and cook over low heat until gelatin has dissolved. Strain the mixture if there are lumps (optional!)

10) Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Set aside let it cool to room temperature. You can speed uo the process by let the bowl of strawberry mixture sit in a large ice water bath.

whip some cream whisk in 1/3

11) Whip some cream until medium-stiff peaks formed.

12) Whisk in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cooled strawberry mixture to lighten it.

then fold in the rest of the whipped cream assemble the cake!

14) Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.

15) Use immediately!

Chocolate and Strawberry Bavarian Cream Layer Cake

Really love how the photos turned out this time!

Small Small Baker/Aspiring Baker
This recipe is for Aspiring Bakers #32: World of Mousse Cake (June 2013) hosted by Hankerie!
The theme this month is Mousse Cakes, so if you’ve made any delicious mousse cakes, do share with us! :)

And here’s the recipe!

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Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Car navigating around Hehuanshan (合歡山)

Hehuanshan, also known as Joy Mountain in English (though I didn’t know about it until I wiki it…) is a 3,416 metres high mountain in Taiwan. The peak lies between Nantou (Sun Moon Lake) and Hualien counties, and is within the Taroko National Park. You can actually get a driver that brings you from Hualien to Nantou but we didn’t do so as we were traveling clockwise around Taiwan.

Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Hehuanshan is a popular destination local and foreign tourists. It is exceptionally popular during the summer as everyone wants to get away from the summer heat, as well as in winter as it snows during December/January, something that we can’t see in other parts of Taiwan. Both the 3,421-metre East Peak and 3,422-metre North Peak of Hehuanshan are higher than the main peak.

Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Wu Ling (武嶺) – read from right to left

Wuling (武嶺), at 3,275 metres, is the highest point accessible by public roads. It is saddled between the Main Peak and the East Peak, hence you get a beautiful panoramic view of the whole place, with deep valleys, high cliffs, and rocky peaks entirely within one’s sight.

Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Climbing Mt Shimen (石門山)

There are many peaks that one can climb to, however, as it was only a day trip to Hehuanshan for us, we only managed to climb Mt Shimen (石門山). Mt Shimen is 3,237 metres, and can be reached pretty easily without any climbing gear in less than 45 minutes.

Hehuanshan, Taiwan Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Left: Steps to Mt Shimen; Right: Views halfway up Mt Shimen

There are irregular steps being built along the path up Mt Shimen, so it’s really not that difficult to climb up. It is apparently also one of the best spot for sunrise as well as taking photos of star trail at night.

Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Sign warning us not to enter as they are breeding Fargesia murielae

Hehuanshan, Taiwan

And we reached the peak!

Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Blue skies and green pastures

Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Attempting another peak (yes that’s me in the photo faraway…!)

Hehuanshan, Taiwan
A photo speak louder than words!

Hehuanshan, Taiwan Hehuanshan, Taiwan

Left: Yet another view of Hehuanshan; Right: Starting point for Hehuanshan Main Peak

It is very difficult to finish climbing Hehuanshan in just one day. There are many peaks to conquer and we are not equipped with the proper gear to climb most of the peaks. We might be back to conquer some of the peaks, who knows? ;)

Here are some information on Hehuanshan:

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Devil’s Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter & Jam

Devil's Chocolate Cake with PB&J

I’ve always have a soft spot for layer cakes because:

1) They look absolutely gorgeous – be it round, square, triangle, rectangle or whatever odd shape it is, layer cakes will always, in my personal opinion, look a lot more pretty than cupcakes. They look more sophisticated and a lot more classy than cupcakes, don’t you think so? To me, cupcakes = cute while layer cakes = gorgeous!

2) Combination of flavours – I can have a layer cake with strawberry filling and a whipped cream frosting; or maybe a green tea filling with a dark chocolate frosting… You know, the possibilities are endless!

3) Distribution of filling and frosting – I don’t really like how cupcakes have a mountain of frosting on top of them and none in the middle. Because I can never put the whole cupcake in the mouth, most of the time I will start with lots of frosting and a little cake, and end up with plenty of cake and almost no frosting in the mouth. Layer cakes don’t have that problem, nope!

Devil's Chocolate Cake with PB&J

However, with that being said, I still bake cupcakes more often than layer cakes as, well, cupcakes are a lot easier to frost – I can just pipe the frosting on top and it would most likely look good. Whereas for layer cakes, I always take a super long time to frost them because I can never be satisfied with the exterior, and I always end up frosting the cake unevenly… oops!

Besides, typing the recipe for layer cakes can be a semi-nightmare – it’s really long! (You’ll know when you scroll to the recipe…)

So nowadays I only reserve baking layer cakes for birthdays, or when I’m really free, haha! This cake was baked for a close friend’s birthday in April (look how fast time flies!), the same friend whom I baked for last year.

Devil's Chocolate Cake with PB&J

Yup, you can see the frosting is pretty uneven…

Beware… very photo intensive!

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THB #19: Lemon-Glazed Buttermilk Cake and a SNAPWARE Surprise!

Lemon Glazed Buttermilk Cake

It’s time for The Home Bakers again! This time the cake was chosen by Grace from Life Can Be Simple. The cake is mixed together without the use of a mixer (hooray!) and without the use of butter (oil is the fat here). Oil-based cakes are moist and tender, and this cake is no exception!

Lemon Glazed Buttermilk Cake
I scaled down the recipe by 1/3 and made a few substitutions here and there (see end of the post for the substitution notes. I also made candied lemon slices to decorate the cake. On the first day, when I tasted the cake, despite the cake being moist and tender, the lemon taste wasn’t strong at all (even though I did not omit the lemon glaze). I was a little disappointed and wondered whether I should bake again and increase the amount of lemon used.

On the second day, when I tasted the cake, I was surprised – after a night of resting, the lemon taste became more intense! So do try to make the cake a day ahead so that it had time for the flavours to develop!

DSC_7528 DSC_7529

Before I go into the step-by-step photos (and the recipe for the candied lemon slices), I just want to share a surprise that I received from World Kitchen a few days back! World Kitchen had kindly sponsored me a Corelle® Frost a few months back and I was in love with the simple, chic and lightweight plates. Imagine my surprise when I came home to find out that World Kitchen had delivered a water tumbler to me (and a very pretty one!)

SNAPWARE® Eco Flip and SNAPWARE® Eco Grip are two new products released by World Kitchn. What’s special about these tumblers is that they are not made of plastic, but glass! And not just any type of glass, but borosilicate glass – a non-porous and non-toxic material which is very resistant to thermal shock as compared to other common glass. It is the type of glass used to make Pyrex kitchenware!

In Singapore, many of us carry water tumblers to school, to work and even to the gym, and you may have experienced that when you use plastic or metal tumblers, the liquid will sometimes have a plastic / metallic taste. This will not happen if you are using a glass bottle. Besides, glassware are 100% recyclable, more environmentally friendly and have a longer lifespan than plastic bottles! Undoubtedly it will be a little heavier than normal plastic bottles, but hey, the pros certainly outweigh the cons don’t you think?

SNAPWARE Eco Flip_group 02

SNAPWARE® Eco Flip

Featuring a patented 2-part leak-proof cap system, the Eco Flip is slim yet capable of holding up to 500 ml of liquid. It will fit snugly in bags and car beverage holders. The special non-slip jacket provides added protection against warm beverages and easy grip.

SNAPWARE Eco Grip Green Bottle

SNAPWARE® Eco Grip

The Eco Grip features a neoprene sleeve allowing for a comfortable and easy grip. Capable of holding up to 600 ml of liquid, the included nylon strap enhances portability and access on-the-go.

Photos and information courtesy of World Kitchen

Both the Eco Flip and the Eco Grip are US FDA compliant, dishwasher safe and are completely free of Bisphenol-A (BPA). For Singapore readers: available in 3 vibrant colours of green, cyan and tangerine, Eco Flip will retail for just $19.90 (U.P $29.90) while Eco Grip will retail for just $14.90 (U.P. $23.90). Promotion will last from 6 Jun – 30 Jun 2013 and they can be found in major departmental stores – Robinsons, Metro, Tangs etc. For more information, please refer to the World Kitchen website.

(Disclaimer: Other than receiving a complimentary SNAPWARE® Eco Flip from World Kitchen, I am not paid to write this post. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.)


Now on to the step-by-step photos! (Be warned: very photo intensive!)

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Sesame Seeded Crackers

Sesame Seeded Crackers

In a blink of an eye, it’s time for Bake Along again! I first had savoury crackers in an Italian restaurant – the crackers were served together with bread as a starter and I was intrigued and pleasantly surprised by the unpretentious, crispy and salty crackers. When these savoury crackers were chosen as the Bake Along theme, imagine my excitement!

Sesame Seeded Crackers

Perfect with soup!

These crackers did not disappoint, though I felt that I should have rolled it out even thinner, as it’s not as thin as those pictured in the William’s Sonoma website. Nevertheless, the crackers were still pretty crunchy and the fact that my mom polished off almost half a tub (I had to stop her) is evident that these crackers are delicious and addictive! I also found that these crackers make a very delicious “spoon” for chunky soups (like mushroom soup!)

Here are the step-by-step photos!

(Click to see larger images in Flickr!)

combine the ingredients together cut the butter in until small peas of flour formed

1) Combine all the dry ingredients and butter together.

2) Cut the butter in to get coarse meals.

add in milk and mix into a dough rest for 1 hour

3) Stir in milk and form a soft dough.

4) Wrap and rest for 1 hour.

roll it out as thin as possible ready to be baked!

5) Roll the dough out as thinly as possible.

6) Bake until the crackers are golden and crispy!

Sesame Seeded Crackers

Omnomnom!

I’m submitting this to:

Bake Along


Hosted by Lena of frozen wings , Joyce of Kitchen Flavours and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids!

Do click on the froggie above to see other foodies’ bakes on the crackers!

Here’s the recipe!

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