cranberry cheesecake

September 23, 2008 at 1:17 am | Posted in Cakes, Cheese, Fruit, Orders | 2 Comments

last week i received a request for a cranberry cheesecake, and i admit i was quite intimidated because i’ve never worked with cranberries in cakes before. i’ve never come across frozen cranberries (probably in cold storage?) so i had to come up with something using dried ones.

the very nice lady who requested for this actually showed me a couple of recipes for the cranberry topping; i made a few modifications and it turned out fine. i just threw into a pot a packet of dried organic cranberries (i opted for this instead of craisins), water, sugar and a teaspoon of gelatine powder. the cranberries swelled sufficiently and the mixture was not too watery.

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there’s something so appealing about this cake. i think it’s the striking red hues! i deliberately spooned the liquid around the perimeter of the cake and let it drip down the sides.

sticky date cake with butterscotch sauce

September 15, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Posted in Cakes, Fruit | 8 Comments

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when i was younger, i used to balk at the idea of dates in cakes or any dessert for that matter. i even had issues eating dates on its own (it’s a good practice for muslims to have dates during break fast) but as age caught up, i’m starting to like it. i think it’s the cloying sweetness of some varieties of dates that puts me off, which is why i love a particular type called ajwa. it’s a bit drier than most types, hence the sweetness is a little muted. it doesn’t come cheap though – apparently it’s the most expensive of dates.

i only had sticky date cake (or pudding, depending on how it’s prepared) once earlier this year at the marmalade pantry and i was swept off my feet. it’s not a dessert you can readily find here. i was foodblog-hopping and came across a recipe, so i immediately called up my mum who was out shopping at geylang to get me some dates.

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the cake was sufficiently spongy and moist, and because i increased the amount of dates to nearly 400g instead of the stated 300g, the flavour really came through. the butterscotch sauce could have been a little thicker, but no major complaints about that. maybe next time i shall try the steamed version.

oh yes, while we’re on the topic of dates… try a date milkshake sometime. 🙂

buttermilk birthday cake

September 14, 2008 at 3:38 pm | Posted in Birthdays, Cakes, Cheese, Fruit | 7 Comments

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this cake was for a very dear friend. i wanted to try out a new cake recipe which was NOT chocolate, and i decided on nigella’s buttermilk birthday cake. baked the cake in two 8″ tins, and the layers were sandwiched with cream cheese frosting and diced juicy red strawberries.

the testimonial from the birthday girl was very encouraging – she claimed that her two brothers who are fussy about cakes wolfed it down, so i guess this recipe is a keeper.

from how to be a domestic goddess by nigella lawson:

1 2/3 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk (or 1/3 cup plain yoghurt mixed with 1/2 cup milk)
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup soft butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 eggs

1. preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside. pour the buttermilk (or yoghurt and milk) into a deep bowl and stir in the vanilla.

2. cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. reduce the speed if using the mixer and add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between additions. add alternative increments of the flour mixture and the vanilla-buttermilk, blending well after each addition; this should take 3-5 minutes.

3. pour into the prepared pan (i used two 8″ inch tins; a 9″ round or square tin would be fine too i guess, or you could even make it in cupcake form) and bake for about 30-40 minutes (depending on the pan you use; cupcakes should be done in around 20) until a cake tester comes out clean.

4. cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before unmoulding to let cool completely. use your favourite frosting – decorating possibilities are endless!

cakes & cupcakes

September 12, 2008 at 2:21 am | Posted in Birthdays, Cakes, Chocolate, Cupcakes, Orders | 6 Comments

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sponge, bananas and nutella ganache

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chocolate cake, peanut butter filling and chocolate ganache

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chocolate cupcakes, cream cheese and buttercream frosting

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chocolate cupcakes and buttercream frosting

dark double chocolate cookies

September 10, 2008 at 1:19 am | Posted in Chocolate, Cookies | 1 Comment

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this batch of cookies is for another friend whose birthday is coming up. this cookie is intensely chocolatey; having both cocoa powder and chocolate chips. it has a crispy exterior and a softer, chewy interior.

1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
115g butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (i used a portion of “duo-tone” chocolate chips)

1. preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. grease baking trays with oil/butter.

2. in a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

3. in a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. beat in egg, followed by vanilla extract. gradually, with the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour mixture, stopping when no streaks of dry ingredients remain. stir in chocolate chips.

4. place rounded tablespoons of dough (about 1-inch balls) onto prepared baking sheet. (alternatively, you could use your hands to roll dough into balls)

5. bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies begin to crack on the top.

6. cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

(makes around 50 cookies)

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chocolate chip and cranberry shortbread

September 8, 2008 at 11:54 pm | Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, Fruit | 5 Comments

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i made this for a friend as part of her birthday gift. it’s really simple – no need for a electric mixer!

adapted from: 500 chocolate delights by lauren floodgate (makes around 24 cookies)

140g plain flour, sifted
2 tbsp cornflour
55g caster sugar
115g butter, diced
90g chocolate chips
40g dried cranberries

1. preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. sift the flour and cornflour into a bowl, add the sugar and stir to combine. using your fingers, rub the butter into the mixture. add the chocolate chips and dried cranberries and stir well.

2. shape into balls (refrigerate for a while if dough is too soft) and arrange on ungreased cookie trays. bake for 10 minutes or until sides of cookies are brown. allow cookies to stand on tray for a couple of minutes before cooling on a wire rack.

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the beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can practically add anything – M&Ms, orange/lemon zest, diced dried apricots, chopped dark chocolate… the resulting cookie is really crisp and buttery.

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