Tag Archives: meringue

Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

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Last week, I decided to spoil myself to an extravagant, over-the-top 3 tiered cake for my birthday this year. I don’t usually make cakes; honestly, I’m more of a fan of French pastries like double-baked almond croissants and macarons. However, I came across fellow Vancouverite Coco Cake Land’s cake and I was immediately hooked! Both her and Katherine Sabbath are bakers that we follow on Instagram who create unique and stylized cakes that are one-of-a-kind. I wanted to feature this cake because it’s a very visual, youthful and eye-popping cake which made me super duper happy to bake and eat!

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Wishing you an amazing year of good vibes, yummy eats, and a healthy journey ahead!

See y’all in 2015,

-matchachoco

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Vanilla Layer Cake (makes three 6-inch x 2-inch round cake layers)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

2 cups cake flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups of sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (I used 1 ž cups of 2% milk with 3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter all sides of three 6-inch round cake pans generously and line only bottoms with parchment paper.
  3. Prepare “buttermilk” by adding fresh lemon juice to the milk. Stir to combine and set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. Sift together both all-purpose and cake flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  7. At low speed, beat in the milk mixture and add in the flour mixture, alternating with dry and wet mixtures (ending with the dry). Mix until just incorporated.
  8. Pour batter in each pan (half way) and spread evenly with a spatula. Drop pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
  9. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and test doneness with a toothpick . Make sure there are no crumbs on the toothpick (a denser cake is desired for clean cutting).
  10. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans.
  11. Invert onto separate plates to cool and set aside the layers of cakes.

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Peanut Butter Frosting (makes enough for one – 3 layer cake)
Adapted from Coco Cake Land 

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of smooth peanut butter
2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. of milk
Pinch of salt

Directions

1. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter on high speed for 1 minute.
2. Add the icing sugar, vanilla , salt and milk, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minute.
3. Remove the first cake layer from the cake pan. Frost generously with peanut butter frosting. (Repeat for 2nd and 3rd layers).
4. Spread the frosting on the outer sides and smooth out the entire cake with an offset spatula.

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Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Coco Cake Land 

Ingredients

½ cup dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Trader Joe’s 70% cacao Dark Chocolate bars)
Ÿ cup unsalted butter, diced
1/8 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 tsp of whole milk

Directions

1. Fill a small pot with water and boil. Place the butter, chocolate, and vanilla in a heatproof glass bowl on top of the pot. Stir slowly until melted. Remove from stove and slowly stir in the milk (try to avoid curdling).
2. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
3. Pour glaze on top of the peanut butter frosting. With the assistance of an offset spatula, spread glaze to the edges of the cake and slowly let the chocolate drip on only a few sides of the cake.
4. Let cake set for 20 minutes.
5. Decorate the cake with meringue kisses, chocolate bark or sprinkles.
6. Serve immediately or cover and wrap the cake in saran wrap to prevent drying up in the refrigerator.

For the pretty chocolate bark decorations and cute meringue kisses, follow Coco Cake Land’s easy peasy recipes here and here!

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Christmas Yule Log Cake (Buche de Noel)

It ain’t Christmas season without some serious baking!

The idea of a Yule log cake has fascinated me since I got into baking as a hobby, and after watching Gretchen’s tutorial from Woodland Bakery, I was finally inspired to make it. After all, roll cakes are easier to make than layered cakes, and what fun is it to dress it up like a log!

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To make the Yule log stand out, I added edible cake toppers using Santa strawberries and meringue mushrooms. I also added some raspberries. The “Merry Xmas” sign was made with chocolate and white chocolate with freeze-dried strawberries. I like to have all the decorations in my Yule log edible, and what I like about them is that they don’t require artificial food dyes.

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Until now, I’m still so amused with the meringue mushrooms. The ‘dirt’ is actually cocoa powder. You can probably trick people into thinking they’re real mushrooms 😛

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For the roll cake, I used Cooking with Dog’s roll cake recipe as a reference, and substituted the matcha powder with cocoa powder. The cake turned out to be light and not too sweet, similar to those cakes sold in Asian bakeries. Did I mention that Matchachoco and I are huge fans of light Asian style cakes?

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This was my first Yule log attempt, and although it was quite time consuming to make, I really enjoyed making it. I honestly had a difficult time photographing the Yule log as it seems like I can’t find the perfect Christmas-themed background for it. I can’t wait to make another Yule log (maybe next year?), and hopefully by that time, I would have improved the Yule log baking and photography.

Happy baking and happy holidays,

-Ricelessasian

IMG_1217Chocolate Roll Cake
Adapted from Cooking with Dog

Ingredients

4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tbsp. cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees F.  Prepare a 17”x 11” baking sheet with parchment paper.  Grease parchment paper with oil.
  2. Combine cake flour and cocoa powder, and sift them together 2-3 times.
  3. In a bowl, beat egg whites with an electric beater until foamy. Continue to beat, gradually adding half the sugar (1/4 cup), until stiff peaks form.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and the half of the sugar (1/4 cup) until the egg yolks have increased in volume.  Whisk the cake flour mixture to the egg yolks.
  5. Fold 1/3 of the meringue (whipped egg whites) into the egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated. Do this repeatedly with the rest of the meringue, 1/3 at a time, until fully incorporated.
  6. Carefully spread the batter to the baking sheet with a spatula, making sure the batter does not deflate. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway, or until the cake springs back when it is touched.  Make sure you do not overbake or the roll cake will crack when you roll it out.
  7. After baking, immediately transfer the cake to a flat surface and cover it with another baking tray. This will prevent the cake from drying out and maintain its flexibility. Cover until the cake is cool enough.

Chocolate custard cream (used as the filling for the Yule log)
Adapted from Cooking with Dog

Ingredients

2 egg yolks
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup milk, warm
~50 g chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Sift together flour and cocoa powder.
  2. Pour about 1/4 cup of the milk to the egg yolks, and whisk them together. Whisk the flour mixture. Add the remaining milk, and whisk until fully incorporated. Strain the mixture and transfer to a sauce pan.
  3. Heat the mixture in a sauce pan, continually stirring, until you get a thick consistency. While the custard is still hot, add the chocolate and mix it to the custard until the chocolate fully melts.
  4. Transfer the custard to a shallow bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic wrap touching the top surface of the custard; this will prevent a ‘skin’ from forming on the top surface of the custard.  Refrigerate the custard until chilled.
  5. In a bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream to the chilled custard until fully combined. Fold the remaining whipped cream to the custard. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chocolate Ermine Frosting (used to frost the Yule log)
Adapted from Yoyomax12

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla extract. Continue beating until most of the sugar has dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together milk and flour. Heat milk and flour mixture in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir the mixture continuously until the mixture thickens into a paste.
  3. Transfer milk and flour mixture into a bowl and let cool. Stir it occasionally to make the cooling process faster.
  4. Once cooled, add the milk and flour mixture to the creamed butter and beat them together.Add cocoa powder and continue to beat. The frosting should have a light fluffy consistency.

TIP:  If you end up with a runny frosting, refrigerate or put the frosting in the freezer for a few minutes.  Beat the frosting again after taking it out of the fridge until you get a light fluffy consistency.

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To assemble the roll cake, spread the filling all over the top surface of the cake. Tightly roll the cake. Wrap the roll cake with parchment paper and plastic wrap, so that it remains tight. Freeze the roll cake.

Once frozen, cut the sides of the roll cake to make it shaped like a log. Attach the sliced parts of the cake to the side and top of the roll cake, using frosting as the glue. Frost the cake with the frosting, copying the texture of a log. Attach the edible designs to the cake, and dust with cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

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Instructions for the santa strawberries can be found here. Gretchen from Woodland Bakery has a very informative tutorial on how to make the meringue mushrooms. She used a Swiss meringue method for making the meringue, but if you don’t have a candy thermometer or don’t want to go through all the trouble of heating the sugar and egg whites, you can use the French meringue method, which is what I usually do when I make meringue cookies.

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Halloween Baking!

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Trick or treat!

This Halloween, Matchachoco and I participated in our program’s Halloween themed bake sale. I whipped up some ghostly chocolate cupcakes, while Matchachoco made some mini pumpkin tarts. Actually, it was very sneaky of her because she didn’t even tell me she was going to bake something!

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She made the tarts using the extra filling for the pumpkin empanadas we made for a school event, and added some condensed milk to it. The tart crust was already premade, but the lattice design on top was handmade by Matchachoco using this recipe. Cutenesss! We would have made a blog post about it, but it was one of Matchachoco’s impromptu baking adventures.

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As for me, I made some chocolate cupcakes with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. I topped the cupcakes with meringue cookie ghosts. I’m always looking for a good chocolate cake recipe, and I think I may have just found my go-to recipe. Aside from requiring ingredients that I usually have at home, the process is relatively simple compared to other chocolate cake recipes. I also like how it uses oil instead of butter. The result was a dense, moist cake with a strong chocolate flavour. This is the first time I used this chocolate cupcake recipe, and I’m glad it wasn’t a fail, whew! For the frosting, let’s just say that I’m not a huge fan of the typical frosting made with butter and powdered sugar, so I like it complicated 😛

Anyways, without much further ado, here’s the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes.

– Ricelessasian

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Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 24 cupcakes)
 Recipe from Add a Pinch

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder. Whisk the ingredients together.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to the mixture of dry ingredients. Mix together on medium speed until well combined.
  4. Reduce the speed and slowly add the boiling water. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to incorporate air to the cake batter.
  5. Fill cupcake liners žths full, and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the cupcake comes out clean or with moist crumbs.

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream (enough to frost 20-24 regular size cupcakes) Adapted from Yoyomax12

A little info about the Swiss meringue buttercream method: The idea behind the method is to incorporate butter and meringue to create a smooth, not-too-sweet, frosting consistency. I find that this frosting may too buttery for others when it’s just flavoured with vanilla extract, so I often use this method when there’s enough flavour to mask the buttery taste, such as this chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream recipe.

This frosting has a subtle chocolate flavour, so add more cocoa powder or dark chocolate if you’d like.

Ingredients

4 egg whites or 8 tbsp. of pasteurized liquid egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup softened butter, cut into cubes
~50 g 72% dark chocolate, melted
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Using a double boiler, heat together egg whites with sugar. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. If using raw egg whites, heat until the egg whites have reached a temperature of 160 degrees F for food safety.
  2. Remove egg whites from heat, and beat until the egg whites form a stiff meringue.
  3. While beating, gradually add softened cubes of butter. Keep beating until you get a smooth frosting consistency.
  4. Add melted chocolate and cocoa powder. Beat until fully incorporated.

Tips:

  • If the frosting starts to look curdled after you added the butter to the meringue, keep beating! Don’t worry, it’s just a phase.  It’ll still transform into a smooth frosting consistency if you keep beating.
  • If the frosting is too runny, refrigerate for a few minutes or put in the freezer for about a minute or less. Take the frosting out when it starts to stiffen a bit, but not solid. Beat the frosting again until you get a smooth consistency.

Meringue Ghosts
Meringue recipe from here

Using a piping bag with a round tip, pipe small dollops of meringue in the shape of ghosts. Once the meringue cookies have been baked, draw the ghost faces using a toothpick and melted chocolate.

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Meringue Cookies

Happy Mother’s Day! And what better way to celebrate this occasion than to have your mom be a sensory panelist for your baked goods?IMG_1170This is Ricelessasian temporarily taking over the writing portion of the blog because Matchachoco was busy with schoolwork.

For a Mother’s Day post, I decided to bake meringue cookies because of their elegant appearance…perfect for the occasion! They are also simple to make and require only a few basic ingredients: sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar. A ‘PLUS’ about these treats is that they’re fat-free. But if you’re a huge fan of fatty deliciousness, fear not, because it’s also a very flexible recipe. You can top them with nuts, fold cocoa powder in the meringue mixture, add chocolate chips, etc. 🙂

I really enjoyed making these treats and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

-Ricelessasian

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A note about the recipe: Do not use liquid egg whites. I once tried the recipe with liquid egg whites and the meringue did not turn out as fluffy as I wanted it to be. You will not be able to pipe the meringue into swirls if you do not reach a fluffy meringue consistency.

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Meringue Cookies (makes about 20-25 medium size pieces)
I used Joy of Baking as a reference for the recipe.

Ingredients

2 egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4  tsp cream of tartar
Any flavoured extract such as lemon, raspberry, almond, vanilla etc. (I used vanilla extract)
Food colouring (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, beat egg whites with an electric beater until it becomes foamy. Once foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue to beat.
  3. Gradually add sugar while beating the meringue, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Do not add the sugar all at once as it will deflate your meringue. Continue beating, until your meringue has reached stiff peaks and  smooth to the touch. Add flavoured extract and food colouring.
  4. Pipe the meringue into a baking sheet topped with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for about 1.5 – 2 hours. It depends on the portion size of each cookie and the humidity in your kitchen.
  6. After baking, leave the meringue cookies in the oven with the oven door slightly open for an hour or more. Store the meringue cookies in a resealable plastic bag. This will prevent the meringue from being sticky to the touch.

meringueMeringue has reached stiff peaks when you lift the whisk and stiff peaks form. You can also tell that the meringue has reached stiff peaks if you invert the bowl and the meringue does not fall off.

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TIP:  If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a resealable plastic bag (make sure it’s the thick ‘freezer’ bag type) with one of the corners cut off. When I use different colours for the meringue, I always use the same piping bag. Not only does it save on piping bags, but it also gives me a gradient effect whenever I change colours.

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P.S. In case you’re wondering why there’s only one whisk attached to my electric mixer, it’s because I broke the other one. 😦

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..And that, boys and girls, is why you should soften your butter at room temperature properly.