Recent Bakes

Sharing with you my recent bakes….

1) Japanese Cheesecake: recipe from here

The only modifications I made was to replace the cream in sect A with milk and use 5 egg yolks and 5 egg whites.

It’s also important to beat the egg whites properly: see here.

I’m so glad to find out that my mini oven can brown the top nicely…Also, the sides are smooth…I didn’t use a springform pan to bake it, just an ordinary metal pan.

2) Junior’s New York Cheesecake: recipe from Junior’s Cheesecake Book

This is different from the Japanese Cheesecake, which is light and fluffy, and does not have a “heavy” cheese taste. It is also different from the Lime & Passionfruit cheesecake I baked earlier, which is light and yet creamy. This New York Cheesecake is the dense and creamy type.

One thing that I wished I had done better was to brown the top more evenly….

I made some modifications to the recipe:

  • Made a biscuit base instead of baking a sponge cake base
  • Used 750g cream cheese instead of 24oz
  • Reduced sugar to 170g instead of 1 1/3 cup (but brother commented that it tastes a little a savoury.…perhaps to try increasing to 200g)
  • Used 200ml whipping cream instead of 2/3 cup

3) Lime & Passionfruit Cheesecake

Although this has been mentioned in a previous post, I thought it would be good to put a pic here to show the contrasting textures of the cheesecake, resulting from the different proportions of cream cheese to whipping cream and the different methods of including eggs (Japanese Cheesecake requires an egg white meringue, while the other 2 just require eggs to be beaten in).

4) Cupcakes: from the Primrose Bakery Cookbook

Earl Grey Cupcakes

Cranberry & Orange cupcakes

These were baked in a silicon tray, but they were not cooked at the specified baking times…resulting in crusty tops and a dry crumb….:( need to experiment again….

5) Chocolate Chip Cookies: based on the New York Times recipe which was widely blogged about previously

I think these are the BEST I’ve tried to date although the choc chunks are a little too sweet for my liking….But these still become crunchy after 2 days although I kept them in an air-tight container (the lock & lock one)….Wonder whether is it because of the humid weather in Singapore.

I now honestly appreciate the quality of chocolate that goes into the cookie….No more Hershey’s or Nestle’s semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks….I’m going to look for better alternatives!

By the way, I replaced the cake flour and bread flour with all-purpose flour…wonder does that affect the retention of the chewiness. I’ve seen recipes that use bread flour only…perhaps I will buy some bread flour and use all bread flour….

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Lime and Passionfruit Cheesecake

My Da Jie was very kind in providing me with 8 passionfruits to bring back home when I visited her 😀 Paid homage to the passionfruit by baking a lime & passionfruit cheesecake. Da Jie, here’s a slice of the cheesecake dedicated to you 🙂

Used my new 9″ springform pan and was horrified to find out, after doing the crust etc. and just before filling the pan with the batter, that my usual roasting pan could not accommodate the springfoam pan! Luckily, I found another bigger round cake tin to hold springform pan, otherwise….sigh!

Anyway, I learned some new stuff while baking this cheesecake:

  • By greasing the sides of the pan, the chance of getting smooth sides is higher.
  • When adding cream into the mixture, make sure that the cream is lump-free too….otherwise the cheesecake mixture will have lumps – horrors of horrors!!

I fancy that using 500g cream cheese achieves a cheesecake that is too low for my liking…I prefer a much higher cheesecake :). But that’s a personal preference.

As for the verdict: it’s smooth and creamy. The tangy passionfruit complemented the richness of the cream cheese, making the confection not too rich. Glad that Hubby liked it, even though he’s not a fan of sweet stuff.

It seems like the texture of the cheesecake (light vs dense) is also dependent on the proportion of whipping cream to cream cheese: this recipe uses 200ml whipping cream to 500g cream cheese; I did another cheesecake which uses 200ml whipping cream to 750g cream cheese, and this cheesecake is more dense.

Here’s the recipe I used, which was adapted by combining the recipes from “In the Kitchen” and “Cheesecakes, Pavlovas and Luscious Desserts”:

Cake

150g digestive biscuits

60g melted butter

500g cream cheese

110g caster sugar

juice of 1 lime

zest of 1 lime

2 eggs

3 egg yolks

200ml whipping cream

100ml strained passionfruit juice (from abt 8 passionfruits)

Topping

1tbsp caster sugar

3tsp cornflour

passionfruit pulp (strained for juice earlier)

Method

1) Grease sides of pan with butter.

2) Place biscuits in a food processor and whiz to form small crumbs; add melted butter and process briefly. Press biscuits into the bottom of a 22cm springform cake tin. Wrap the outside base with foil, using 2 pieces to cover the base. This prevents water seeping into the cake during baking. Place in fridge to set, for at least 20 min.

3) Preheat oven to 170 deg C

4) Beat cream cheese until smooth, add sugar and beat. Add cream, lime juice, passionfruit juice and lime zest, stir till combined. Then whisk in eggs and yolks, one at a time.

4) Place cake tin in a deep baking tray. Pour in cheesecake filling over biscuit base. Pour boiling water into baking dish to come halfway up the cake tin. Place carefully in oven. Cook for 1hr or until the cake is just set, still with some hint of wobble. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before refrigerating, preferably overnight.

5) To make the topping: Combine the sugar, cornflour and 2 tbsp water in a small pan over low heat. Stir until smooth, add 2 more tbsp water and passionfruit pulp and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Pour hot topping over the cheesecake, spread evenly and then leave to cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.

Marble Cheesecake: Orange and Dark Chocolate

Brother requested for a cheesecake…and he was certainly specific about what he wanted: a marble cheesecake flavoured with orange liqueur, streaked with dark chocolate. Orange and dark chocolate – a heavenly combination

I bought Cointreau for this purpose and added to the vanilla portion. I was in an alcoholic mood: added Tia Maria to the chocolate portion. Then, I found that the chocolate batter was not chocolatey enough….added more cocoa…Result: chocolate portion tastes a little bitter 😦

Also the chocolate batter was too heavy: I didn’t mix enough vanilla batter with the melted chocolate. As a result, instead of a marbling/streaky effect, there are 2 distinct layers: vanilla on the top and chocolate at the bottom. At least now I know how to create double-decker cheesecakes. Hee!

This time, I tried a different method: I separated the whites from the yolks; added the yolks into the cheese mixture; whisk the whites with some sugar till soft peaks; fold the whisked whites into the cheese mixture. The difference is in the texture: when the eggs are mixed in gently into the cheese mixture, the cheesecake is creamy and dense; whilst the cheesecake made with whisked whites was still creamy, it was lighter, not so dense.

(pardon the untidy cheesecake…I didn’t use a hot knife to cut the cheesecake)

(So sad that I can’t recreate the nice browning I previously had. At least the cheesecake didn’t crack….)

Calla’s notes

  • I used 65% chocolate. The batter didn’t taste chocolatey, I need to have faith….
  • Need to mix enough vanilla batter with melted chocolate, such that the vanilla batter and chocolate batter have the same consistency; unless the intent is to create 2 distinct layers.
  • To try baking at 150 deg C for at least 1.5h to 2h. Cheesecake seems a little too soft, no matter how long I refrigerate it….

Tiramisu Take 2

I tried making Tiramisu last Saturday. This time, I added more Baileys to the mascarpone cheese. Unfortunately, I can’t remember how much Baileys I added! I think I added about 150ml. The cheese mixture became quite watery… I was worried that the cream mixture would be too watery. Fortunately, it wasn’t. Perhaps that was because I increased the cream to 600ml. I bought 2 bottles of 300ml cream. As I didn’t want any left-over cream, I whipped all 600ml.

I just tried the Tiramisu tonight. I think the liquor taste is more pronounced this time, compared to the previous attempt. I’m happy the way it is, although I think I won’t mind if more liquor is added.

No pictures…as I was too excited to try…

Some notes:

  • I added approximately 150ml of Baileys to the mascarpone cheese mixture. Best to taste to check whether it is to personal preference.
  • I used 600ml cream. This could help in mitigating the mixture becoming to watery.
  • I only prepared half the syrup, and it was sufficient. There were left-overs, but it was more manageable than the previous attempt.

Where’s the itsy bitsy spider?

(My project to document my observations of past bakes)

Here’s the web, but where’s the spider?

Well, I was trying to display my artistic talents in decorating the cheesecake lol… This was achieved by pouring alternate layers of batter into the centre of the pan and then using a toothpick drawing lines from the centre to the sides to create a spider-web effect.

This is a cranberry swirl cheesecake that I baked for my mother-in-law who requested for a citrusy cheesecake. As I had Crabtree & Evelyn cranberry sauce, I decided to make use of that. I adapted a recipe on the Epicurious website which had good reviews.

Well cheesecakes are really capricious….One time it baked nicely without any cracks…another time, it cracked despite having the same temperature etc. Wonder whether I had overbeaten the mixture 😦

The above picture was my first attempt…smooth top and crack-free…but I wasn’t so fortunate for the second attempt…

The cross-section… pardon the untidiness….

This was also the first attempt…I didn’t manage to take pics of the cross-section of the spider-web cake…

Looks aside, the taste was great: smooth, creamy….yummy! Hubby, mother-in-law and sister-in-law liked it…I think I will use this recipe as my base for future cheesecakes…

Here’s the recipe I used, which is adapted from the Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake with Cranberry-Raspberry Compote recipe on the Epicurious website:

Base

200g Chocolate biscuits, without the crème (I used Oreo brand)

50g melted butter

Line the base of an 8″ springfoam pan with aluminium foil. Wrap the outside of the pan with another layer of aluminium foil.

Crush the chocolate biscuits finely. Mix melted butter with crushed chocolate biscuits. Press biscuit mixture onto the pan. Place pan in the fridge.

Filling

750g cream cheese, at room temp

170g caster sugar

4 eggs, each weighing about 60g – including the shell, at room temp

230g sour cream (I used “light” with no adverse results)

60g whipping cream

1tbsp vanilla essence

Zest of 1 orange, finely grated

16 oz ready-made cranberry sauce ( I used Crabtree and Evelyn brand)

Cube the cream cheese. Beat it using a mixer at low to medium speed till the cheese flicks easily off the spatula. Scrape down the sides and bottom of mixing bowl frequently.Add in caster sugar and beat at low to medium speed. Make sure that there are no lumps.

Add in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla essence. Mix till just combined at low to medium speed and ensure that there are no lumps.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix till just combined at low speed.

Transfer 1/3 of batter into another bowl. Add cranberry sauce and mix till just combined. Add orange zest to the remaining 2/3 batter and mix till just combined.

Remove pan from fridge. To create the concentric effect shown in the first picture, pour in alternate layers of the cranberry and vanilla batters into the centre of the pan. When all the batter is poured into the pan, hit the pan on the kitchen counter-top to remove air bubbles. Prick any visible air bubble that rise to the top of the cake with a toothpick and smoothen surface.

Boil water. Place pan into a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan till it covers half the height of the cake pan. Remember to top up the roasting pan with boiling water during the baking.

Bake at 150 deg C for about 2 hours. To test whether the cake is done, shake the pan gently, the sides should be firm while the centre is still wobbly. Switch off oven and leave the cake in the oven for at least an hour (You may remove the water bath, or you can leave it in the oven). Remove the cake from the oven – the centre should no longer be wobbly – and complete cooling on the cooling rack and thereafter keep it the fridge overnight. Remove the cake from the pan the next day.

Bon appétit!

Note: The cooking time and temperature actually depends on individual oven. For my oven, although the dial is at 150 deg C, the oven thermometer indicates about 100 deg C – perhaps it’s due to the steam from the water bath. It took about 2 hrs of baking time for the cake to be done.

 

Tiramisu – Updated

I’ve posted an update on my attempt to make tiramisu yesterday….  See here.

Tiramisu

It’s the first time I baked after CNY. As my parents’ anniversary is approaching, I made one of my mum’s favourite cake – Tiramisu – today. Recipe was adapted from Cuisinette who posted in the Imperial Kitchen Forum.

Some pointers that I noted while I was making Tiramisu:

  • I found out that good logistics planning is required. Firstly, I checked whether the fridge could accommodate my mixing bowls. Next, I also had to plan what to whip first as the bowl and whip used to beat the cream should be well-chilled prior to beating the cream, and whipping egg whites require a clean bowl and whip.
  • Check out a you-tube video on how to whip cream to medium/stiff peaks – I find that it’s useful. For a link to this video, please see “Cooking Tips” on the left.
  • The syrup to soak the ladyfingers required 2 tbsp of melted chocolate. I used about 40g of 55% chocolate.
  • Next time, I would melt the chocolate prior to preparing the syrup.
  • I used an aluminium disposable tray and used 34 lady fingers. In the end I got excess syrup – think I used only 1/3! Not sure whether my ladyfingers are soaked to the extent that I like….will need to check it out.
  • The amount of cream was sufficient for the tray.
  • For the cream, I used 500g mascarpone cheese as I did not want to have any left-overs. I also increased the Baileys to 40ml.

The Tiramisu is now chilling in the fridge…can’t wait to check out the taste. Will post an update on the taste and photos…..

Update on 25 February:

  • I prefer a stronger alcohol taste. I will add additional Baileys and/or Kahlua to the mascarpone cheese.
  • I used a total of 100g of sugar in the cream mixture – sweetness was just nice.
  • I think the ladyfingers were sufficiently soft. Therefore I will reduce the syrup.
  • To seriously consider doing the tiramisu in smaller pans if the tiramisu is to be divided into portions to be given away….

Some pictures for you to enjoy….pardon the untidiness….

Bogged Down with Cranberry Sauce….

During the festive season, I received a bottle of Crabtree and Evelyn Cranberry Sauce with Orange. Well, I’m not a “cooking” person, i.e. I don’t really like to fry, steam, poach, etc.; but I like to bake! Strange huh….

As the sauce approaches its use-by date, I’m hard-pressed to find ways to use it in baking. Hence, I trawled the internet to look for ideas and found the following ideas/had the following inspiration:

I’m inclined to try the Cranberry Upside-down Muffins, any of the cupcake ideas and the Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake. I may even mix in the cranberry sauce into my muffin/cupcake batter and correspondingly reduce other liquids. Once done, I will share with you the results.

If you wish to have ideas on using cranberry sauce other than in baking, you may check out this site: http://www.musicbizadvice.com/15_ways_to_use_leftover_homemade_cranberry_sauce.htm. You could also check out Ocean Spray’s recipe database for more ideas.

Do you have other ideas?? Please feel free to suggest….