Jun 25, 2012

Drunk Chocolate Cake with Drunk Frosting


Last night I went to a cheese party and each of us are supposed to bring any kind of cheese or food that contains cheese. The first thing that came to my mind was cheesecake, but at that time I only have a few hours and making a good cheesecake requires a long time to prepare the batter, baking the cake, letting it cool, and chilling it for hours. I ain’t got no time for that. Then my lovely friend Pearl suggested me to make some cream cheese frosting. So I made some chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!
In fact, I made three kinds of chocolate cake that night because I had so much cake batter. I had to confess, I used a chocolate cake mix. I have an excuse though, my friend gave it to me as a present and I can’t give it away or throw it out; that’d be rude.
This time I played with the recipe I usually use and changed it a lot; and I’m really surprised and actually satisfied with it. The texture of the cupcakes are super soft and fluffy, which is the kind of cake I like.
I added Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur to both the cake batter and the frosting; it made the cake so moist and delicious!
Chocolate Cake
Ingredients:
1 (18.25oz) box chocolate cake mix
1 (3.4oz) package instant pudding mix
1 C milk; I used 2%, but any kind is fine
1 C freshly brewed coffee, cool to room temperature
½ C Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur
4 eggs, at room temperature
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a LARGE bowl, mix together cake mix and pudding mix; add in milk, coffee, and Irish cream. Beat with a hand held mixer or a stand mixer for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is incorporated. It’s better to use a mixer instead of a whisk; since you’ll get a large amount of cake batter, using a mixer will save you a lot of time.
3. Add in eggs, one at a time, and beat the batter on medium high speed for about 2 minutes.
4. Pour batter into cupcake liners or greased cupcake pans.
5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If you’re not using cupcake liners like me, an easy way to check if cupcakes are done is by looking at the sides of the cupcakes; you know they’re done when the sides start to pull away from the pan. Let cool completely before frosting them


Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
¼ C (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ C powdered sugar
2 Tbsp Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur
Directions:
1. In a bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth
2. Add in powdered sugar, ½ C at a time, until combined
3. Add in liqueur and mix well
4. Chill until needed
Just by adding a splash of Irish cream made the frosting ten times better, it’s unbelievable.
I made 24 cupcakes and still have a lot of batter left, so I went ahead and made two 9-inch cakes and a 8”x5” cake
For the 9-inch cakes, I drop dollops of peanut butter all over the batter; and then bake them for 18 minutes at 350F

For the 8”x5” cake, I first put a few large spoonful of cake batter at the bottom of the pan, and then put some banana slices over it; and then bake it for about 25 minutes.

I hate to say this, but this chocolate cake is amazing! Especially the banana ones; I ate half of it myself, and I’m not usually a cake person. In fact, I don’t like cakes, so I’m really surprise by how much I enjoy this cake.

Meet the lovely Pearl

rainbow nails! yup we went to the pride parade.

enjoy 

Perfect Egg Tarts


In the last post, I mentioned I made lemon cheesecake tart and egg tarts. Today I’ll share with you my favorite egg tart recipe. I’ve made egg tart twice, and this time I’ve combined the tart crust from Egg Tart I and the custard filling from Egg Tart II.
Perfection! In my opinion anyway.

Perfect Egg Tart
Ingredients:
½ C granulated sugar
¾ C water
4 eggs
dash of vanilla
1 C evaporated milk
Tart Dough, recipe followed
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a sauce pan, mix together sugar and water and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla and milk until mixture is well blended. When the sugar water has cooled down, whisk it into the egg mixture.
4. Pour custard filling into the mold to about ¾ full; I'm a greedy person so I couldn't help but to pour in as much filling as I could.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the center of the custard slightly giggles when moved. You don't want it to set completely

If you were greedy and clumsy like me, you'll end up with burnt egg custard filling around the tarts molds. but no big deal.

My Favorite Tart Crust
Ingredients:
½ C (1 stick) butter, soften at room temperature
a little less than ½ C powdered sugar
1 egg, at room temperature and slightly beaten
a dash vanilla extract
1 ¾ C all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
Directions:
1. In a bowl, beat softened butter until creamy and smooth.

Add in powdered sugar and salt, beat until light and fluffy

2. Slowly add in the egg. Make sure you add in a little at a time, so mixture doesn’t curdle. Add in vanilla and mix well

3. Add flour in two additions.

At this point you don’t want to over mix the dough; mix until mixture just come together.
4. Chill dough in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

5. When it’s firm, divide the dough into 12 pieces and then press into tart molds.

pierce bottom of the crust with a fork; and then put them back in the fridge while you make the egg tart filling
enjoy 

Lemon Cheesecake Tart


Potluck baby! I love potluck! because I get to make as much food as I want and don’t have to worry about not being able to finish it. This time I made a lemon cheesecake tart and egg tarts!
Lemon Cheesecake Tart
Ingredients:
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
¼ C granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature, slightly beatened
¼ C fresh lemon juice (about 1 ½ lemon)
zest of one lemon
Shortbread Crust, recipe followed
Lemon curd, optional
Directions:
1. Lower temperature to 350F
2. In a bowl, beat cream cheese with a wooden spoon until creamy and smooth. Add in sugar and beat until incorporated. Gradually add in beaten eggs, a little at a time; don’t add it all in at once, the consistency of the two are too different that it’s too hard to incorporate them; by the time they’re mixed through, mixture will become over mixed.
3. Add in lemon juice and zest, mix well.
4. Pour in crust and bake for 20-25 minutes or until mixture slightly giggles when moved.


Let cool completely and then let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
5. If you like a more tangy lemon flavor for the summer, you can spread some lemon curd on top. Cover and chill until serve

Shortbread Pie Crust:
Ingredients:
1 C all-purpose flour
¼ C confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
½ C (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, but not melted; cut into pieces
¼ C ground almond
Directions:
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Toss in butter pieces and mix with a rubber spatula, or simply use your hands; they’re the best tool.


Mix the mixture until it comes together to form a dough; don’t over mix. If dough too soft and sticky to handle, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for 10 minutes.
2. Press dough into the bottom and the side of the pan, then spread ground almond evenly over crust.


Use a fork to pierce the bottom of the crust to prevent crust from puffing up (I used a 10” pan so the crust is thinner; use a smaller pan, 9” or 8”, for a thicker crust.) wrap crust with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 F
3. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Let cool completely before pouring in the filling

enjoy 

Jun 19, 2012

Espresso Fudge Cupcakes


Two days ago a friend of mine came to visit. I wanted to surprise her with some yummy treats, but didn’t have much time before she arrived, so I decided to make some cupcakes. I made the cupcakes in less than 40 minutes including the time of baking. However, I have to admit I used a store bought frosting. I have an excuse though; I didn’t have time, forgive me. I’ve never used store bought frosting, please believe me...
Anyways, the cupcakes are very delicious. They were not the light and fluffy kind; they were rich and dense, almost had the texture of pound cake, without the large amount of butter.

Espresso Fudge Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Ming Makes Cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 C all-purpose flour
½ C cocoa powder (I used 1/3 C)
2 tsp espresso powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 C granulated sugar (I used 2/3 C)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature and slightly beaten
¾ C milk
½ C chocolate chips (I didn’t add them)
(I also added a splash of chocolate liqueur because booze makes everything better)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside

3. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the beaten egg and vanilla and mix well.

4. Add milk and flour mixture alternately while mixing. Finally mix in the liqueur.

5. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake for 15-18 minutes*

Let cool completely before frosting them.
* When baking cupcakes, you can usually tell they’re done if the edges start to turn light brown. However, that’s not the best way to check the cupcakes with darker colors, like chocolate or burnt sugar cupcakes. I have a way of checking those kinds of cupcakes; it works every single time!
* My dear friend who came to visit thought the cupcakes were a bit too sweet, even without the frosting. I thought they had the perfect sweetness. Next time I make them, I’ll definitely stick with 2/3 cup sugar and omit the chocolate chips. If you want chocolate chips in your cupcakes, I’d suggest reducing the amount of sugar to ½ cup.

enjoy 

Jun 18, 2012

Cookie Bars



Two nights ago I made some cookie bars; mandarin cookie bar and banana Nutella cookie bars. They’re both very yummy, especially the banana Nutella one; it has become one of my favorite cookies. Banana Nutella Cookie Bars. The combination of banana and chocolate is amazing. Definitely give this a try if you’re a fan of Nutella!
I got the cookie recipe from here. I love allrecipes; it’s awesome.

Mandarin Cookie Bars
Ingredients:
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C rolled oats
¼ tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
½ C packed brown sugar
½ C unsalted butter, softened
½ C mandarin jam
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8x5 pans, or one 8x8 square pan
2. In a bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt and sugar.

Blend in butter with a spatula, or mix it with hands, until they have a crumbly texture.

Press enough mixture to cover the bottom of the prepared pan.

Spread the jam to within ¼” of the edge

and then sprinkle some crumb mixture over the top

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If using 8x8 square, it will take longer, maybe about 30 minutes.

"Yeah, we're jamming, jamming
I wanna jam it with you
We're jamming, jamming
I'm jammed, I hope you're jamming too"
- Bob Marley

Banana Nutella Cookie Bars
Ingredients:
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C rolled oats
¼ tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
½ C packed brown sugar
½ C unsalted butter, softened
¼ C Nutella, or as much as your little heart desires
1 banana, sliced vertically
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8x5 pans, or one 8x8 square pan
2. In a bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt and sugar. Blend in butter with a spatula, or mix it with hands, until they have a crumbly texture. Press enough mixture to cover the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread Nutella to within ¼” of the edge

place banana slices on top;

and then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If using 8x8 square, it will take longer, maybe about 30 minutes.


enjoy 

Jun 17, 2012

Lemon Tarts


A wonderful treat for summer time! I love love love the tangy lemon curd with the honey crust.

I’ve been making lemon curd with only egg yolks; it tasted good and many people loved it, but I personally think it’s too eggy and rich. I think it was good for macarons or desserts that only has a small amount of lemon curd per serving. However, for those lemon tarts, I used about 1 ½ tablespoon for a tart and I thought the recipe with only egg yolks might make it too rich; I wouldn’t be able to finish one by myself. I changed the recipe and I love this new recipe so much more! I will definitely stick with it from now on.

The crust I made for these tarts were amazing! Kind of tasted like graham cracker crust, but better!
Lemon Curd
Ingredients:
½ C granulated sugar
2 eggs
½ C lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
½ C (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes; softened but not almost melted.
Directions:
1. In a saucepan, whisk together sugar and eggs, and then lemon juice.

Cook over low heat until mixture thickens.

Try to cook it at the lowest heat possible so you don’t want to scramble the eggs.
2. When the mixture thickens, remove from heat and stir in lemon zest butter cubes, one at a time.


Stir until each butter cube has melted before you add in another. It takes awhile but be patient; it’s wroth it.

3. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the fridge while you make the crust.
* Many people use the double boiler method to make the lemon curd because it prevents the eggs from being over cooked. However, it can also be done without using the double boiler; you just have to watch it and stir mixture constantly while cooking on the LOWEST heat. You don’t even have to strain it

Honey Tart Shell
Ingredients:
2 C all purpose flour
½ C ground oats/ oat flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ C unsalted butter, softened
¼ C packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
¼ C honey
Directions:
1. In a bowl, sift together flour, oat flour, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

2. Cream the butter until smooth; add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.

Mix in honey until well combined.

3. Stir in flour mixture, in three parts, mixing well before adding the next part; but don’t over mix.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or until firm.

4. Press about 2 Tbsp of dough into each tart mold, and then poke holes with a fork all over. Chill the tart shells for another 15 minutes before baking.

Mean while, preheat the oven to 350 F
5. Bake tart shells for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Let it cool in the mold for about 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle; and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Pipe or scoop lemon curd into shells.



* I didn’t think the crust would rise so I used a bit too much dough. Good thing all of my friends like crust. But next time I will definitely use less dough. About 1 ½ Tbsp or enough to cover the tart mold completely.

enjoy 

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