Archive for ‘Desserts’

June 18, 2012

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

by tina

Happy 1 year anniversary to my blog! :)  Time sure flew by.  All I can say is that it’s been a fabulous year documenting the foods I made!  I’ve been lacking in the crafts area, though–Must work on that.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a molten chocolate lava cake!

So I had a chocolate craving the other day and had to engorge myself in this simple chocolate molten cake recipe. Although, (I’m not gonna lie..) I’ve had better at a few restaurants, but it’s definitely a great way to satisfy your cravings if you’re stuck at home and want it asap!!!

I made this twice and found out that the bake time is a bit sensitive.  The first time I baked it for 13 mins, which was too much and the second time I baked it for 11 mins, which was a lot more molten but I think it might’ve been even better if I took it out at 10 mins :]

Recipe adapted from: Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 4 custard cups (6 ounces each. I used Pyrex custard cups)
  • 4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 whole egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • vegetable oil

Whipped Cream:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

Cake:

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Microwave the chocolate and butter in a large bowl on high for 45 secs, (depends on your microwave wattage) until the butter is melted. Then whisk until the chocolate is completely melted as well.

Transfer the chocolate-butter mixture to the mixing bowl and stir in sugar (level 1 on stand mixer) until well blended.  Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in (level 2).  Stir in flour (level 1).  Stop occasionally to make sure the flour isn’t stuck on the sides.

Once the cake mixture ingredients are fully incorporated, prepare the custard cups for baking.

If you don’t have Pam spray, like I didn’t, I dropped 1 dot of vegetable oil in each cup. Then I used a small piece of paper towel to spread the oil around the cups.

Now, divide the cake mixture between the cups (should be about 2/3 filled).  Bake for about 9-11 mins. 

Whipped Cream:

Combine sugar and heavy whipping cream and whip until stiff.

This is how the cakes should look in the cups when they’re done.  The cake should not be too cracked at the top and the “lava” should not be slightly oozing out–If this happens, you’ve probably overbaked them (which is what I experienced the first time I baked these).

Invert the cakes and top them with fruits and the whipped cream :)

Enjoy~!!

Advertisements
April 18, 2012

Mini Green Tea Cupcakes

by tina

Before making these, I was spending way too much of my time trying to perfect the Japanese fluffy cheesecake… I tried making it 3 times, and all 3 times I was unable to acheive the fluffiness. Not sure why it’s so hard. Maybe it’s the whole cake flour that I used, but anyway, since I have a lot of this cake flour left, I found a few recipes that would make good use of it. Including this one! :)

Recipe adapted from Food Mayhem and I also looked at this one from Avocado – Pesto.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (I used organic whole cake flour)
  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder (I used SerendipiTea’s matcha culinary grade, organic green tea)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar (I cut back on a little bit of the sugar)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used Trader Joe’s alcohol free)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used Clover’s natural sour cream)

For Frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Place muffin liners in muffin tin.

In a bowl, sift together flour, matcha powder, baking soda, and salt. Then mix with spatula.

In the stand mixer’s mixing bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract at low speed (level 1/2).

At low speed (level 1), add half of the dry mixture stirring just until incorporated.

Then add half the sour cream, stirring at low speed (level 1).

Add the rest of the dry mixture, stirring at low speed (level 1).

Then add the rest of the sour cream, stirring at low speed (level 1) until incorporated.

Fill mini muffin liners 2/3 of the way full.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Mine took 11 minutes. (I went a little over the 2/3 fill line, judging by the way mine turned out compared to Food Mayhem’s). Leave in muffin tin for 10 minutes and then remove.

*For some reason my cupcake pictures turned out a little lighter than they really are.*

Cool completely before frosting.

For Frosting:

Sift together confectioners sugar, and matcha powder in a bowl. Then mix with spatula.

In the stand mixer’s mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, vanilla extract, and butter for 4-5 minutes on low speed (level 2).

Lower the speed to 1 and slowly add the dry mixture.  Then increase the speed to medium (level 3/4) and beat for another 4-5 minutes.

Frost using a piping bag.

This was my first time frosting with a piping bag. The consistency of the frosting is actually quite thick and it was hard to do the swirls, so I resorted to simply just frosting at the center. The frosting is a bit sweet for me, so just a little bit of sweetness at the center was actually the perfect amount for my liking.  I love the aromatic smell and the tea taste is also just right–My new fave cupcake!

Tags:
January 23, 2012

Heart Shaped Mini Cheesecakes

by tina

Happy Lunar New Year! I made these heart shaped mini cheesecakes for a potluck :)

When I received my mini cheesecake pan, I made a batch of cheesecakes to test it out, and then I decided to get creative and tried making another batch of heart shaped ones! The pan’s individual cup size is actually quite small already, so the heart shaped ones were a bit difficult to make. Still, they were fun to make because of its cute shape.

If you’d like to try a simpler version of this, try this other recipe out: mini cheesecakes.

Ingredients:

Baking pan set-up

  • parchment paper

Base crust portion

  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/4 tablespoon brown sugar (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Sugar)
  • 1 1/4 tablespoon butter, melted

Cheesecake portion

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (I used a little less than 1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Part 1: Baking pan set-up

Cut 4 inch wide parchment paper. Fold in half. Cut 12 ~3 inches length-wise of the folded paper.

Place a parchment paper piece in each individual cup.

Place marbles in between the metal and parchment paper so that the paper is a little more stable.

Part 2: Base crust

I crumbled the graham crackers with the side of the rolling pin (used it like a pestle and mortar. pestle=>rolling pin, mortar=>cutting board)

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a mixing bowl, first mix the graham crumbs and sugar well with a fork. Then add the melted butter in and mix very thoroughly.

Evenly distribute the mixture into each cup. Press the graham crumbs down as firmly as you can. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 mins, then remove from oven and let it cool. Keep the oven on.

Part 3: Cheesecake

Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla on low speed (speed 1/2 with stand mixer) until fluffy. Be careful not to over-mix. Once it is mixed well, Add the egg in and mix on low speed (speed 1). It’ll look weird and gooey at first. But after a few minutes of mixing, it will become smooth.

Use a spoon to place the cream cheese mixture into the cups. Smooth out the tops of mixture in the cups as much as you can. Bake for 17-19 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing (about 1 hour). Then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Kind of looks like pac-man or fortune cookies.

This was a fun little experiment. I noticed that it didn’t bake very evenly with the parchment paper/metal combination–the parchment paper section didn’t bake as much as the section that had contact with the metal. Although this happened, the cheesecake still tasted great.

I topped them with sliced strawberries and chopped walnuts.

Tags:
January 11, 2012

Mini Cheesecakes

by tina

This was my first attempt ever for cheesecakes. And in preparation for more cheesecake making to come, I had just ordered a mini cheesecake pan on Amazon :D so excited.

Recipe adapted from (allrecipes.com). 
This recipe was pretty easy to follow, but I wished it had been a little more specific in some areas.

Ingredients:

Base crust portion

  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Cheesecake portion

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (I used a little less than 1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Part 1: Base crust

I crumbled the graham crackers with the side of the rolling pin (used it like a pestle and mortar. pestle=>rolling pin, mortar=>cutting board)

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a mixing bowl, first mix the graham crumbs and sugar well* with a fork. Then add the melted butter in and mix very thoroughly.

*I mixed everything together because the recipe didn’t specify, but I noticed that the sugar didn’t seem to be mixed evenly in the end, so mixing the crumbs and sugar first would minimize this problem.

Measure a tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each baking/muffin cup. Evenly distribute the rest into the cups. Press the graham crumbs down as firmly as you can.

Bake in the preheated oven for 5 mins, then remove from oven and let it cool. Keep the oven on.

Part 2: Cheesecake

Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla on low speed (speed 1/2 with stand mixer) until fluffy (left picture). Be careful not to over-mix*. 

Add the egg  in and mix on low speed (speed 1). It’ll look weird and gooey at first. But after a few minutes of mixing, it will look like the picture (on the right).

*Over-mixing may cause the cheesecake to rise like a souffle when baked. That’s what happened to mine. I did beat the ingredients together like crazy because that’s how I thought it was supposed to be done. But afterwards I read on a few sites and it says that over-mixing incorporates additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake.

Use a spoon to place the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups. Smooth out the tops of mixture in the cups as much as you can*.

Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing (about 1 hour). Then refrigerate until ready to serve.

*I didn’t know that cheesecake mixture doesn’t settle that well and smooth itself out when baked, or else I would’ve smoothed it and would not have had a rumpley (and slightly overbaked) result. haha.

Result after cooling and refrigerating for 1 hour. I added chopped walnut and blueberries at the top. ^_^

Despite the over-mixing and slightly over-baking, it still tasted pretty good in my book.

December 29, 2011

Lavender Butter Cookies

by tina

I was addicted to earl grey tea cookies. I probably baked it every week since the first batch and had an endless supply (5 batches in total?), so I thought it was time to change it up and try something new. :)

I’ve always wanted to make lavender cookies, so I experimented by changing a few things from the earl grey tea cookies recipe. They turned out surprisingly well!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup brown sugar*
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup good quality unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lavender, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon water

(yields 2 dozen cookies)

*The brown sugar to confectioner’s sugar ratio is 1:1. I use a little more than 1/8 and a little less than 1/4 cup for the brown and confectioner’s sugar.

For the lavender, finely chop them with a knife.

I wanted to infuse the fragrant smell and flavor of the flower more in the cookie, so I came up with the idea of straining the flower first: Place all the chopped lavender in a tea strainer, boil some water and strain it once. Empty the water in the tea pot and let it sit/dry a little while you prepare the other stuff.

For the lemon zest, I peeled the lemon and used a knife to chop the skin into very fine pieces.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, salt) together with a spatula. Make sure to smooth out any sugar clumps and mix evenly.

Mix all the wet ingredients (butter, lavender, lemon zest, vanilla extract, water) in the stand mixer’s mixing bowl. (level 2/3) Mix this well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix at low speed (level 1/2) for a few minutes. Then turn it up to low medium (level 2/3) for a couple minutes. Stop occasionally to make sure everything stuck at the bottom and on the spatula is mixed in. Once it looks like the picture below, you can stop.

Use your hand and press all the little clumps together to form a mound. It’s a little difficult at first, but once your hand starts to semi melt the butter, it becomes more cohesive.

Take it out of the mixing bowl and mold it into a packed circular log. Feel free to slap/pound it a little to pack it together very well and then roll it for the circular shape.

Once molded into shape, use saran wrap to completely cover the log and smooth out the surfaces. Place this in the freezer for 40 mins.
Freezing the log solidifies it and makes it easier to hold its cookie shape when it is sliced later.

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Slice cross section pieces that are about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.

Place the slices on a silpat on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 mins or until the bottom edges are light brown. Let it cool for 10 mins on the silpat.

Place them on a cooling rack. Cool for 30 mins to 1 hr.

%d bloggers like this: