Sunday, April 9, 2017

Coconut almond cake

It was only 9:30 last night and it was already unusually quiet in our household. Two of my kids were feeling under the weather and went to bed early.  Grandson Lachie was likewise asleep.  My daughter went to a birthday party and my husband was on night shift at work.  It was just me and my eldest son and he was on his computer (as usual) in his bedroom.  I was practically alone and it was my chance to do some cake recipe sharing! Only on my first paragraph in, I decided that I was actually too tired and chose to lie down instead! But...a promise is a promise. I am back today to do just what I need to do 😙!

The idea for the cake I am about to share came from this...

Image credit: Ferrero website

The truth is, I am not really fond of any chocolate with coconut.  If not for my brother in-law bringing a box of Raffaellos to our house about a year ago, I wouldn't have thought of buying them myself. After trying one, however, I was instantly hooked! I loved it so much that after they had left, I hid the leftovers from my family so I could have them all to myself 😋!

I later found out that Raffaellos do not actually contain chocolate! It is described to be a crispy wafer with a creamy, coconut filling and a whole almond in the center. 

Image credit: Pinterest

I thought of making this flavour combination into cake almost immediately after I first tasted this treat.  Thus was born my coconut-almond cake! I decided to go with a coconut chiffon with an almond pastry cream filling, frosted with a coconut Swiss meringue buttercream.



I must admit this cake is not for everyone. My boys aren't much into coconut so I gave away about half of this cake so as not to waste it.  If you are a coconut lover though or at least a fan of Raffaellos, you definitely would want to try this!  

COCONUT ALMOND (Raffaello-inspired) CAKE


FOR THE COCONUT CHIFFON CAKE (recipe suitable for an 8” round, 3” high pan)

{A}
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons white sugar

{B}
¼ cup corn/canola oil
4 egg yolks, from large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon coconut extract

{C}
4 eggwhites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

{D}
6 tablespoons white sugar

Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine {A} well. Add in {B}. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
3. In a separate bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Pour batter into an ungreased 8” round, 3” high pan.
4. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely.
5. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan and invert cake onto a large serving plate. 

FOR THE  ALMOND PASTRY CREAM 

1 ¼ cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract

In a small saucepan, heat 1 1/8 cups of the milk over low heat just until it starts to simmer. While the milk is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, cornstarch and the remaining 1/8 cup of milk in a small jug.  Once the milk is ready, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg mixture. Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk while constantly stirring. Continue cooking until mixture is very thick, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat then stir in the almond extract. Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface directly with cling film.  Chill the pastry cream completely before using to fill cake. 

FOR THE COCONUT SMBC

1 recipe Swiss meringue buttercream
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/3 cup coconut milk

Prepare SMBC as instructed here  but use coconut extract instead of vanilla.  Beat in the coconut milk to the SMBC gradually.

FOR THE GARNISHING

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
12 Ferrero Raffaello treats

To assemble and decorate cake: Cut your coconut chiffon cake in half horizontally.  Place the top layer, cut side up on your cake board.  Fill a piping bag fitted with a coupler only with some buttercream then pipe a dam around the cake edge.  Whisk your chilled pastry cream until the consistency becomes creamy again then fill the space inside the dam with it.  Top with the other cake layer, cut side down.  Frost the whole cake with the buttercream.  

Press the coconut flakes around the cake sides.  Garnish the top with Raffaellos.  




PS.  I don't have step by step photos as with my earlier cake recipes because I never actually intended to share this here.  I didn't take photos while I was making the cake. But you do get the idea, don't you? I hope so!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mocha crumble cake

After pondering about it a lot, I have come to the decision that I am going to take my planned second book to a new direction. Because let's face it, with the little spare time I have to work on it, I don't think I will ever get to finish it. Really, I don't have that kind of faith in myself! Plus, it is kind of unfair to keep you excited and waiting for nothing, right?  Well, not really nothing.  I mean, I will still come up with that second book but it will be different from what I had initially intended it to be.

So today, I will be starting what hopefully will be a regular sharing of cake recipes again.  I don't want to promise anything but I will surely try and do my best! As I mentioned in my previous post, I have already done several cakes over the last few months.  I will not be sharing all of them here...just some chosen ones. Please don't ask me to email the recipes to you personally.  If it's for sharing, you will definitely see it here so please spare me some patience 😅

Here is the mocha crumble cake I made way back in November.  As you already know, the inspiration for this cake is Red Ribbon Bakeshop's cake of the same name.


Image credit: Red Ribbon Bakeshop website

Most elements of this cake were quite easy to figure out.  What I didn't exactly know was what the chocolate crumble was! I couldn't find helpful information on what was on that chocolate cluster. I don't think it's nuts although I reckon it should be something that will give it some crunch. Rice krispies perhaps? Let me know if you know!

Anyway, here goes my take on this cake.  Enjoy!

MOCHA CRUMBLE CAKE (makes a two-layered 8" round)

1.  For the cake: Bake one batch of mocha chiffon using the recipe here.

2.  For the coffee buttercream:  Make one batch of Swiss meringue buttercream.  To that, add in 1 tablespoon of instant coffee powder dissolved in a little hot water.  You can also replace the vanilla extract with an equal amount of coffee extract or maybe half coffee and half chocolate extract, if you have them.

3. For the dark chocolate ganache:

120 g dark chocolate, chopped or chips
120 g whipping or thickened cream

Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring whipping cream to a boil.  Pour over the chocolate chips and let stand for 1-2 minutes without stirring.

Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny.  Leave this to cool and thicken enough for spreading and piping.

4. For the chocolate crumble:

NOTE: I chose to use compound chocolate because I don't want to and have never tempered real chocolate before!

225 g dark chocolate melts (compound chocolate)
70 g rice krispies/bubbles

Melt dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.  When completely melted, take off from the heat then fold in the rice krispies.  Spread chocolate mixture thinly on a silpat or baking paper-lined baking tray.




Leave until cool and set. If desired, cut out some circles for garnishing using a cookie cutter.  Crush some of it for the filling.


Alternatively, you can simply drop the chocolate mixture by the spoonful in your lined baking tray then flatten slightly.  That would work too!  The only reason I chose to cut mine in circles was because I have seen  photos of really ugly and messy chocolate crumble on the internet!  I wanted mine to be neatly sitting on top of the cake 😀

5. To assemble and decorate the cake:

Cut your mocha chiffon cake in half horizontally.  Place the top layer, cut side up on your cake board. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with coffee SMBC then pipe a dam around the cake edge. Spread a layer of ganache on the space inside the dam.   Scatter the crushed up chocolate crumble on top of the ganache then spread coffee buttercream over it to make a level filling.  Top with the other cake half, cut side down. Crumb coat cake with a thin layer of buttercream.  Let chill in the fridge for a few minutes. Cover the whole cake smoothly with more buttercream.

Using a small spatula, dab some ganache around the cake side and top.  Run a spatula or a cake scaper so the ganache spreads.  If desired, use a cake comb to create a pattern.

Using the same piping bag with the large star tip, pipe alternate rosettes of coffee buttercream and ganache.  Garnish the top with the chocolate crumble rounds.




Ok that's it!  Hope that satisfies your cake cravings for now.  Till next!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sneak peek (or not)

Where has all the time gone? In just 5 months, my grandson Lachlan will already be 2 years old!  It hasn't even been that long since I shared about his existence here! He is my world these days and everything I do seems to revolve around him. When he is with me (which is a LOT), I can't do anything much that doesn't involve him and I have had to adjust my own life according to his schedule. It is much like being a first time mother all over again! It has been a great challenge but I am not complaining.  I am happy!

When Lachlan is not with me, that is when I squeeze in my baking. I try to finish cake orders first. If by some miracle, I still have the time (and will) to do some experimenting then that is a huge bonus! Today, for instance, Lachlan is at daycare.  Guess what I am having for lunch? Cake 🙅!!  I made a Rocky Road cake this morning,  the recipe of which I intend to include in my "I don't know if it's ever going to get finished" second book.

It's another copycat of a Red Ribbon bakeshop cake.
Truth is, I have been making new cakes for the past several months with the same intention of putting all of them in the book. Sometimes I have to time it when there's an occasion, like this Chocolate Pistachio cake which I made for my husband's birthday last November...


Or this Biscoff (or Speculoos) cake for my sister in-law's birthday in December.


Other times I make cakes just because it makes me feel guilty not to exert more effort...

Mocha crumble cake
Coconut almond (Rafaello) cake
Chocolate mousse cake
There are still more but I am going ever so slowly with the writing and drafting 😢 And I still have this whole list of ideas for cakes to do!

I know I have been real unfaithful to this blog. But I do hope you are all still out there.  And I hope you are still willing to wait patiently for me. Motivate me, please 🙏 If you have any request for cakes that you want me to "copy", let me know! Make my list even longer 😄!

Ok that's it for now!  I have to go and clean up everything I used to make my Rocky Road cake.  I just dumped them in the sink so I can update this blog while I still can.  Till next!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Updates

Firstly, a very, very belated "Happy 2017!" to all of you. I would have done this post sooner but life has just been crazy busy and stressful since before Christmas.  My grandson Lachlan had been quite sick and had to stay overnight twice in hospital last December due to bronchiolitis. I'm sure you understand how emotionally distressing it is to see a child suffering. He is better now but it seems the cold virus just doesn't want to let go of him ever - he has the sniffles almost all of the time!

I know I owe you all an update on the Bakeoff challenge.  The final results came out last January 11. Unfortunately, although my cake made it to the top 10 (thanks to your votes!), it did not end up in the top 3. 😞 That means I didn't get a share in the $10,000 prize. I didn't tell you this before - if I had won a part of the prize money, I would have used some of it to go to the US for my niece's wedding in October.  I had the chance to meet her American fiance during our grand family reunion in the Philippines last September.  He was so overwhelmed with all the love he received from the family and in true awe of his experience.  It would have been wonderful to be a part of their wedding. Oh well, if it wasn't meant to be then that's that! There will be other opportunities in the future. Thank you once again for the support you gave me!  I really, really appreciated it! 💗

Anyway, because of the stressful time pre-Christmas, I had to turn down a ton of cake requests. At the same time, I also wanted to concentrate on making Christmas day special for my own family and I knew I wouldn't be able to do that if I was too preoccupied with other people's cakes!

The first thing I baked were springerle cookies.


I shared about these cookies and my fascination about the amazing cookie moulds sometime ago.  I haven't made them in a long while and was very happy that I was able to use my Nativity mould again! I packaged the cookies individually and gave them away to guests at my brother's Christmas lunch. They have a battalion of family friends!



Another treat I made were french macarons. I used the recipe I shared here before and once again. it did not dissappoint.  I managed to successfully make nearly 200 shells in red and green!


The plan was to build a macaron tower.  I baked, filled and froze my macarons a couple of days before the 25th but assembled the tower only on Christmas morning.


I know my macaron tower is not perfect but I was still very pleased with it 😃. Christmas day here was super hot and my white chocolate ganache filling softened quite easily.  I was scared all my macarons would slide off even before we got to my brother's house.  Thankfully, it held up until all the macarons were gone!

And of course, there was cake too! How can there not be? Every year, I try to create something different. This time around, I made a Christmas wreath cake!


I started with a 12" round red velvet cake.  I cut off a 6" hole in the center to turn it into a wreath shape and then used the excess cake to make around 3 dozen cake pops.  I used some of the cake pops as baubles for the wreath. The cake turned out really, really pretty. No one dared to cut into it until the last minute! Next Christmas, I'm thinking I would take it up a notch and make a tree. That would be awesome, right?

All in all, it was a good Christmas season despite all the stress and worry.  Difficult as it may, I try to see everything as opportunities to pray and to trust more in the Lord, to hope and to love.  Isn't that what Christmas should be all about? Although life doesn't seem good all the time, all the time, God is good.

I wish you all a great 2017! Till next time.