Monday, 30 January 2012

Buttercream Frosting

This is a 'no fail' plain buttercream frosting... you could use it to decorate your cakes as it is or add some flavouring of your choice.. This makes about 1 cup frosting/icing.

Vanilla Buttercream frosting:

(20ml tablespoon and 250ml measuring cup)

  • 75g butter, softened (unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 tsp (1.25ml) vanilla extract
  • 145g  icing sugar, sifted or superfine powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (20g) cream (35-40 percent fat)
  •  a pinch of salt 
Using an electric mixer or electric hand-held beaters, beat butter and vanilla with a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until creamy. Add the icing sugar in three batches, beating for about one minute after each addition, and stopping the machine a couple of times to scrape down the side and base of the bowl. Add the cream and beat until completely incorporated.
Pipe or spread frosting onto cakes.

Chocolate flavoured buttercream:

Just beat in 25g melted chocolate (broken into pieces and melted in a double-boiler, then cooled slightly)

Coffee buttercream:

 Beat in 1tbsp coffee powder blended with 1tbsp hot water to the butter, vanilla and salt until creamy and then add the sugar. Add cream only if necessary.

The perfect chocolate soufflé

 A souffle is just a flavoured base folded together with egg whites beaten to stiff peaks with a little sugar. The base can be any flavour you like.. I have tried out the chocolate one and this recipe is very easy and foolproof :) Just remember... the souffle rises when you bake and would deflate any instant it is out of the oven. So serve the dessert immediately (though...I have had it cold and tasted really good:)
....the perfect chocolate souffle....

  • 1/3 cup cream or half-and-half
  • 3 ounces your favourite bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Use a pastry brush (or your fingers!) to coat the inside of four 1 1/2-cup soufflé mold with softened butter. Fill the mold with granulated sugar, then pour out the excess.It would be good to refrigerate the molds.
Pour the half-and-half into a saucepan and heat over medium high heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and make a ganache by adding the chopped chocolate. Stir well until combined and all of the chocolate has melted.
Make a double-boiler by setting a large mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water. Place the ganache in the mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder and water, and whisk until very hot. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Place the egg whites (with a pinch of salt) in a large mixing bowl and whip on medium speed until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and make a French meringue by adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and whipping the whites to soft but not dry peaks. Do not over whip the egg whites! You can tell the egg whites are over whipped if they start to separate and resemble scrambled eggs.
Use a rubber spatula to gently fold about half the meringue into the warm chocolate mixture. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining meringue, being careful not to deflate the batter. The soufflé mixture should be homogeneous in colour, but if you still see streaks of meringue in the batter, that’s okay.
Use a large spoon to gently place the soufflé mixture in the buttered and sugared mold. Fill to about 1 inch below the rim of the mold. Run your thumb around the rim to remove the excess butter and sugar.
Bake until the soufflé has risen to about 1 1/2 half-inch over the rim and starts to brown on top, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and dust the top with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Notes: It is very important to take care the beaters or whisk and the vessel you are using to whisk the eggs into a meringue are clean, grease free and dry. There should not be even a speck of egg yolk in the picture or your eggs might not peak. If any of the yolk fall in to the whites, remove it immediately with the egg shell.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes:

So... here is my first recipe..certainly not the first one to try but Pumpkin was one item that I never thought would taste so good..:)  i.e. in a dessert. But having made this cake..I have learned that it is 'never say never' to try something new in your kitchen lab.. :) (just dont try it out on the eve of a formal entertainment)....
I got this lovely recipe from the website and have stuck to the original recipe which I give here except that I have omitted out the ginger and cloves and just baked the whole batter in a loaf tin. It came out very well indeed...:)

Pumpkin Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) solid packed, pumpkin puree

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease each cup with butter.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
  5. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  7. Place on a wire rack to cool.

The joy of baking...:)

I got my first experience of baking when I was 12 my mother's ardent assistant during the Christmas season.It was always the Christmas Fruit cake...and the lovely smell of baking that filled the house during those days was so warm and inviting (the one odor you wouldn't try to rid off even when you have guests.. :)
That was about two decades ago...Now as a homemaker... that passion for baking cakes at home has made me create this blog....and it is not exclusive for cakes...just to share your experiences...
....those tasty delights to terrible blunders...
...anything about what you would love to cook..and eat..:)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Volume Conversions

 Wet Ingredient Equivalents:
                                  1 ounce = 30 ml 
                                   1 cup    = 240 ml

1 cup                                       8 fluid ounces                            1/2 pint           
2 cups16 fluid ounces   1 pint           
4 cups32 fluid ounces 2 pints/ 1 quart    
8 cups64 fluid ounces4 pints         


Dry Ingredient Equivalents: 
                       1 teaspoon = 5 ml
                       1 cup          = 240 ml
1 tablespoon                                     3 teaspoons                             15 ml
1/8 cup2 tablespoons30 ml
1/4 cup4 tablespoons60 ml
1/3 cup5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon80 ml               
1/2 cup8 tablespoons120 ml
2/3 cup10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons160 ml
3/4 cup12 tablespoons180 ml
1 cup16 tablespoons240 ml

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Reducing the fat in baked goods

Reducing fat will give baked goods a denser texture; to correct for this, try increasing the sugar in the recipe and/or beating the egg whites and folding them into the batter. Also try using a softer flour, like pastry or cake flour.
  • Applesauce  (Applesauce can replace up to ¾ of the shortening in many recipes.  Add with the liquid ingredients and reduce sugar in recipe if the applesauce is sweetened.)
  • In many recipes for cakes, muffins, and cookies, you can reduce about a third of the amount of fat in the recipe without seriously compromising the quality.
  • bananas (mashed) (Substitute no more than 3/4 of the fat with this.)
  • Avoid substituting oils for solid fats when baking cookies, cakes, and pastries; it will make the dish greasy and dense.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Leavening agents

A leaven is anything that produces bubbles in dough or batter, causing baked goods to rise.   Most breads rise because of yeast, which works by fermenting sugar, which in turn produces carbon dioxide.
Baking soda and baking powder are used to leaven quick breads, cookies, and muffins. Baking soda is alkaline and reacts with acid to create carbon dioxide bubbles that become trapped within the batter. It's sometimes used in batters that contain acidic ingredients, like buttermilk or molasses. If there's not enough acid in the batter, the recipe will instead call for baking powder, which combines baking soda with one or more acidic salts. When the baking powder becomes wet or sufficiently hot, the soda reacts with the salts and releases bubbles. Air bubbles can also be trapped in beaten egg whites, a technique used to leaven angel food or sponge cakes. 
* Recipes that call for both baking powder and baking soda are probably using the baking soda to offset extra acidity in the batter (from ingredients like buttermilk or molasses) and to weaken the proteins in the flour.  Omitting the baking soda from these recipes may alter the color or flavor of whatever you're baking, and make it less tender.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Oven Temperatures

Degrees Fahrenheit   Oven Temperature          Degrees Celsius                 
250 - 300 very slow            121.11 - 148.89                   
300 - 325 slow            148.89 - 162.78                   
325 - 350 moderate            162.78 - 176.67                   
375 moderately hot          190.56                    
400 - 425 hot           204.44 - 218.33                 
450 + very hot         232.22 +