Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Year!

How quickly time has flown by, it's another year. My cyber friend was surprised when I told her that I had to rush home to bake a birthday cake for my son. He turned 11 today and I baked him this super and wonderfully chocolatey cake. Admittedly, it is far too chocolatey for my daughter and I. Hubs and son both enjoyed the cake, though. On hindsight, perhaps I should have let it remain a chocolate banana cake or added something else, such as dark cherries, in the middle.

I am not complaining that the cake is too sweet, though. I had used Belgium couverture chocolate both for the cake, as well as the ganache. Perhaps that had contributed to the intense (son said it was bitter) chocolate sensation. I'm sure any chocolate lover would love this. To keep decoration to a minimum, I simply placed 2 Ferrero Rondnoir and 2 sticks of Bourbon cocoa crepe cookies at the top of the cake. For the sides, I broke up some chocolate transfer. It's also a small cake, just 6-inches in width.

I had learnt this from a baking class and I knew this was the cake for my son this year. Again, he had wanted a cake from the store but I managed to convince him to let mummy bake for him. Then I felt stressed, do mummies all feel this way? I'm glad it turned out ok.

In exactly 2 weeks' time, it will be my daughter's birthday. She had requested that her cake be "special", now, what happened to any cake baked by mummy would be special ... aren't children hard to satisfy these days?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pineapple Upsidedown Cake

Yet another attempt to practise making caramel. Sometimes I wonder why I bother practising when it is just sugar, which is not a big friend. It gets worse when the people who received the cake commented that it was too sweet. I had already reduced the sugar used in the cake and the caramel, let's just said it was a fraction of the original recipe.

Instead of making a big 10-inch cake, I made 3 loaves. I reduced sugar for the cake by one-quarter cup and made only half of the caramel. The syrup was then shared among the 3 loaves and it was still sweet for that friend. Guess her tolerance for sugar is way lower than mine, or have I began to accept more sugar now? :S The perils of baking, perhaps?

My brother, who also received one loaf, asked me to bake it some other fruit. I will bake him a Peach Upsidedown Cake, another day. Come tomorrow, I am committed to the community baking effort every other week. That would take away some weekend (home) baking time...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Working with Caramel

In a recent community baking event, I had the opportunity of making caramel on my own. After watching a few episodes (on cable tv) featuring caramel, I thought I could finally put that "knowledge" to test. However, I failed a few times. Thankfully, P and J were on hand to share their knowledge. Lo and behold, that attempt proved successful! It was such a joy to see the amber syrup. The downside of knowing this is -- I keep looking out for recipes that feature caramel! Gosh, it's nothing but sugar and butter ... I found this information really useful and close to what we did.

Since I've been wanting to try to make my family's favourite snack, I had invested in a packet of popcorn, the DIY kind, that is. From the instructions, it looked pretty easy. And it was! I didn't believe that the children would take the bland popped corn (while waiting for the caramel to be done).

I followed this recipe in making the caramel, which is slightly different from the method I had tried earlier. The popcorn didn't last very long, they were gone in minutes. One packet of popcorn will make many servings.