Sans Rival!

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

I know I’m a few days late for posting but nevertheless, better late than never right? I’ve always wanted to make Sans Rival and I was glad when I found out this was the challenge for November! Sans Rival is basically layers of crunchy nutty meringue and buttercream. Both crunchy and chewy, a bit sweet but hey, it’s delicious.

I decided to half the recipe and make a cocoa meringue with pistachio nuts instead of the traditional cashews since I had a loads of pistachios just laying around waiting to be used. I probably should’ve stuck with the more traditional plain meringue as adding the cocoa lowered the sweetness which is one of the factors in Sans Rival but nevertheless, the texture was good.

The recipe for the buttercream made just enough to cover the layers as you can see. So if you decide to make this, I suggest adding times 1/2 more.

Thank you Catherine for this wonderful recipe and for exposing Filipino desserts! :D

My very first fondant cake!

As a baker, one of the things in my to-do list was to try my hand at fondant. I was quite hesitant to do so since I was never good with clay/play-doh when I was younger and not to mention, I don’t like eating fondant.

A few years ago, I came across a blogger who used Marshmallow Fondant (MMF) who said it was tastier than regular fondant. I decided to make my own instead of buying since it would be a lot cheaper and it also looked fairly easy to make.. but very sticky and messy. Hahaha..

I’ve been seeing loads of really cute ruffle and gradient cakes that I wanted to make my own. I know the design is rather forgiving since it’s a bit rustic but I like rustic designs anyway so I decided to go for it!

As you can see, I wasn’t able to estimate well before cutting the bottom edges xD

Forming the rose and ruffles…

Ta-daaaa~!

It looks a bit rough around the edges (plus the cornstarch is still visible) but I’m quite proud of this creation ^^ Til next time ya’ll! :D

For the Marshmallow Fondant recipe and directions, please click here.

My first Daring Baker challenge entry + celebration

For a couple of years now, I’ve been meaning to join the Daring Bakers but, as I was studying abroad and didn’t have a kitchen, I had to put it off. Until now. Since I’m back home for good, I quickly applied, waited and got my acceptance email and read the recipe over and over again. Excited? Yes, of course!

This month’s challenge was hosted by Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes and she got us making Fraisiers! Which is absolutely delicious so thank you!

At first, I thought of using only mangoes (since we were allowed to use other fruits) and I wanted to use a local fruit as strawberries are hard to come by here and are rather expensive but as I visited the grocery the other day, lo and behold, les fraises were there! So I decided to use both fruits as we are rather known for our mangoes ;).

Coincidentally, I made this cake around the time my sister-in-law gave birth! I’m extremely excited to be an aunt to Vivienne Elise (Angelina Jolie much? xD)! She wasn’t due til August but she’s completely well and healthy. She’s also rather tiny at the moment but absolutely adorable :3

Mini birthday cakes!

It’s the 10th of April (Philippine time) as I type this which means.. IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! *cue imaginary horns and confetti* Yup, too excited to wait til I post on the ‘right time’ here in Switzerland but anywho, today/in a few hours, I turn 20. Twenty. 2 decades. 1 score. Damnnn.. I’m officially not a teen anymore :(

For the past 3 birthdays, I’ve celebrated it far from home. I do miss my family dinners, wearing red and baking cakes during someone’s birthday. Come to think of it, I’ve never even made my own birthday cake! But my friends here in Switzerland have taken it into their own hands and bought me cakes and gifts in our own little gathering which I’ll be forever grateful for. (Love you guys!)

This year, I bought myself some mini cakes from Lucien Moutarlier, a local patisserie here in Montreux which makes some of the best and most attractive cakes around town! It’s also a member of the Relais Desserts :O I make a point of going into the shop to at least twice per semester to buy and taste something new, to gawk at the pretty desserts and not to mention, grab a copy of Desserts which is a seasonal magazine from Relais Desserts! During this visit, I intended to just buy one however, as I was only bringing my debit card, they had a minimum amount required for it so I ended up buying 2. Not that I’m complaining ;)

I decided not to take something covered in chocolate and went for these two cakes:

Left: Epicea; Right: Anthares

First, the Epicea which is the cake to the left. I was instantly attracted (and curious) to it due to it’s whiteness and my friend S recommended it as well. It’s composed of a gianduja, hazelnut and 5 spice crust, sponge, apricot cremeux and milk chocolate mousse. I’m not exactly sure what the white layer covering the mousse is. The texture is quite sticky and it’s quite sturdy (for the lack of better word) and covers the cake like fondant. Any ideas? :\

Tastewise, I loved the nutty-spice flavor with the fruit and chocolate. And although the cake and base did separate, I still liked the smooth to crunchy texture. On a side note, I do realize that the base layer of the cake blends in with the cork board I used. Haha.

Next up is the Anthares. Made with a chocolate sponge base, dark chocolate mousse, pistachio bavaroise then covered in pistachios, I have been wanting to try this one out. I happen to like pistachios and with the bright green colored cake, I knew I had to take it.

I was surprised as I sliced through it to find that it’s quite soft despite how it looks or perhaps because I still took a walk under the sun before indulging. The pistachio flavor is just right and the chocolate flavors as well. All in all, the cake was well balanced and light. I also liked how there’s texture from the tiny bits of pistachios outside and a layer inside as well.

Between both cakes, I’d have to say that the Epicea is the one I would go back for due to its blend of flavors and texture. So, if you happen to be around here, do visit Lucien Moutarlier and try their cakes! They have cakes available in 3 sizes, if I’m not mistaken as well as other goodies like macarons and chocolate.

Before I go, I have to say that turning 20 feels like a new chapter has begun. Although nothing has changed much as of now (except gaining a few calories), I feel like it’s the decade to accomplish something; to make a mark in the world or at least my world. Still not quite sure how that’s gonna happen but I’ll get there. *game face* Let’s do this.

Lucien Moutarlier
Grand Rue 44
Montreux

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I don’t know for you but the month of August happens to have the most amount of birthdays amongst family and friends. A total of 6 people celebrate their birthdays in this month.

This time around, my friend W celebrates her 19th birthday. My friends had planned a surprise birthday dinner for her and I wanted to bake a mini cake for her. When I asked my friend A on what kind of cake I should bake and she replied, “Chocolate. For sure she’s not allergic to chocolate.” Yes, W, poor girl, is allergic to tons of things.

Now, I’ve always wanted to try baking a flourless chocolate cake and so I did! I found this recipe over at Two Spoons, halved the recipe since I was using a 6″ round and it yielded 2 more extra ramekin-sized ones as you can see in the pictures here. I also made a few adjustments with the amount of sugar as I didn’t want it to be too sweet.

The end result was a light, moist, melt-in-your-mouth, chocolatey cake with a lovely rustic sunken cake look! I loved it. Everyone who tried it loved it. And most especially the birthday girl! I would definitely be making more of this.. soon. Too bad I didn’t have vanilla ice cream on hand because that would’ve been the icing on the cake, so to speak. ;)

Here's a picture of the actual mini cake; Photo taken with my friend Gio's camera

Love you W! Can’t believe we won’t be seeing each other soon. :(


Flourless Chocolate Cake

adapted from Two Spoons

125g dark chocolate
1/4 cup butter
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. icing sugar
3 egg whites
2 tbsp. granulated sugar

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 150C. Butter your baking pan or ramekins.
-Melt chocolate and butter over double broiler or in the microwave. Let cool.
-Mix egg yolks and icing sugar.
-Using a hand mixer, whip egg whites while gradually sprinkling the 2 tbsp. granulated sugar and beat until stiff.
-Fold egg yolks into the chocolate mixture until well incorporated.
-Fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture until no streaks are left.
-Pour mixture onto your pan/ramekins. Bake for 25-30 mins. Let cool or serve warm and top with vanilla ice cream.

*The cake will shrink and deflate during cooling. You can also dust with confectioner’s sugar.
*This recipe yielded enough for a 1″ inch high, 6″ round cake + 2 medium sized ramekins.

Mango Chocolate Mousse Charlotte

I’ve always wanted to do a Charlotte cake after seeing such pretty pictures at FoodGawker and Tastespotting and I finally had the opportunity to do so for my sister A’s 12th birthday.

Since she wanted a chocolate mousse filling, I wanted something fruity to accompany it and since we all love mangoes (Philippine Mangoes FTW!), it was a no-brainer. For the ladyfingers, I used the recipe from Desserts by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan which is really, really good, light and fluffy and I suggest you to try it if you haven’t! You can use it as a sponge cake layer instead of piping it in the traditional ladyfinger shape which I did for the cake layers.

Unfortunately, when we sliced the cake, the mousse wasn’t chilled enough as I had hoped (since I made it on the afternoon the same day) so I took this cross-section shot the next day, just to give you guys a visual of how the cake looks inside. As you notice, we love mangoes so much that there aren’t any left on top anymore.


The mousse was really good, tasty, not too sweet and I’ll definitely be making it again in the future. Overall, the cake was great! Slightly bitter from the chocolate mousse and sweetened by the mangoes.

So to my young minion sister, enjoy your last year as a kid for you’ll officially be a teen next year! I’ll be leaving soon and won’t see you til next year and God knows you’ll be taller than me by then (NOO!!!). I love you to bits and remember to keep your feet on the ground and think before you do. OK?

For the chocolate mousse recipe, click here.

So basically, the layers went on like this (from top):

Mango, chocolate mousse, ladyfingers, chocolate mousse (just enough to cover the mangoes), mango, chocolate mousse, ladyfinger.

Ladyfingers

from Desserts by Pierre Herme by Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Herme

Makes enough for 2 9″ discs or one 9″ disc and about 30 or so ladyfingers
Ingredients:

6 egg whites

2/3 cup granulated sugar + 2 tbsp.

5 egg yolks

1 cup minus 1 tbsp. all purpose flour

powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions (shortened by me):

  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
  2. Whip egg whites while gradually sprinkling the 2/3 cup of sugar until stiff.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 2 tbsp. of sugar and egg yolks until well mixed.
  4. Fold 1/2 of the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Fold the rest in.
  5. Sift the flour over the egg white mixture and fold until flour is well incorporated.
  6. Using a 1/2″ round tip, pipe into ladyfinger shapes or 9″ discs if you wish. About 1/2 – 3/4″ high and 1″ width for ladyfingers.
  7. Dust ladyfingers with powdered sugar and let stand for 15 minutes. Dust one more time until sugar is absorbed. (No need to dust the discs.)
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.

happy birthday to my grandma!

Two years ago, after I graduated high school and picked up baking, I’ve been baking each of my family members their birthday cakes. Each birthday allows me to experiment with different kinds of cakes, textures and layers. But whenever my grandma’s birthday comes along, I always bake her favorite kind of cake, a yellow butter cake. but this year when I asked her what she wanted, her first answer was, to my surprise, chocolate!

Normally, I’d jump at any opportunity to bake anything chocolate [who doesn't? ;)] but since my family is very conscious with sweets and do try to lay off them, I’ve decided to combine both butter and chocolate cakes. I know it sounds weird but I decided to have 2 layers of butter cake and a layer of chocolate in between them and frost with something light.

The cake turned out to be pretttttty good (I’m still eating it and it’s already midnight!)! Although, I would use another recipe for the chocolate layer instead of adding cocoa powder using the same yellow cake recipe. But the yellow cake was great! The frosting however, wouldn’t hold up as I would’ve liked maybe because it’s pretty hot in this part of the world but it was still quite okay.

Now I gotta admit two years on and I’m still a noob an amateur when it comes to cake decorating, being not exactly the most creative person on Earth which is ironic since I’d really like to open my own patisserie/cafe business in the future but hey, I like to think that my perseverance will pay off in the long run. ;)

Do you like the basket weave pattern? :3 I’m very happy even though it’s not perfect because this is my first try doing the pattern! The frosting started to melt towards the end though, but I’m still happy! Excuse the giddy person.

Buuuuut enough about me.

I’d like to dedicate this post to my Grandmother; a beautiful, caring, hardworking, loving and smart woman who’s achieved a lot and worked hard for her family. I hope you liked your cake this year or at least pretend to! Haha! Love you Ama*!

As for the recipes, I used Deb’s (of Smitten Kitchen) recipe for the yellow cake and for the frosting, I found this recipe for a Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Frosting from allrecipes.com, which is really light. You can find the recipe for the chocolate whipped cream filling here, wherein I used just half a teaspoon of the espresso powder and used melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder.

*Ama means grandmother in Hokkien, a Chinese dialect. :)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 32 other followers