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cake

In Cake, Recipe on
April 26, 2018

Matcha Black Sesame Cake

From my many years of bringing in sweet treats for colleagues at the Chinese restaurant I used to work at, I’ve realised that there is only really one compliment that you can get:

‘It’s not too sweet’

Never mind the time spent icing the sides perfectly on the cake, or the effort put into getting the perfect texture for the mousse. It’s the sweetness that really matters!

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In Cake, Dessert, Recipe on
April 6, 2018

Ricotta Berry Cheesecake

Berry Cheesecake

I’ve made berry cheesecakes a number of times- infact my blueberry cheesecake recipe was one of the first recipes I posted on my blog all the way back in 2009! I’ve also written about how I’ve been on a quest for a very specific texture of cheesecake, so I won’t repeat myself here but it’s basically the texture of my favourite Cheesecake Shop cakes, which are like your typical baked cheesecake but lighter, yet not quite as light as a chilled gelatine cheesecake.

Berry Cheesecake

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In Asian Treats, Cake, Dessert, Recipe on
March 22, 2018

Mango Sponge Cake

Mango Sponge Cake

As summer well and truly over, mango season has sadly come to an end. And although it’s sad to say goodbye, I’m pleased to report that we did make the most while they were around!

Mango Sponge Cake

And yes, this included making plenty of mango desserts!

Our summer staple is our favourite mango pudding, a recipe we’ve used for years and years. It’s a simple mixture of mango jelly powder, evaporated milk and mango chunks. But for something a little more extravagant looking, this classic Asian bakery mango sponge cake is my pick! (probably because it’s the cake that I always wanted but couldn’t get because my birthday isn’t anywhere near summer)

Mango Sponge Cake

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In Recipe on
January 28, 2017

Chinese New Year 2017 | Water Chestnut Cake Recipe 馬蹄糕

Happy Chinese New Year!

This is why I love being Chinese. Not even a month since New Years and we’re celebrating again!

Being in Australia, and away from the majority of our relatives, Chinese New Year is not a huge thing for us, but we always do try to celebrate it, even if it only really involves the mandatory red pockets from our parents in the morning, and a nice Chinese New Year dinner at night.


And sometimes, if we have time for it and the weather’s not too hot, we get around to making some Chinese New Year snacks as well. I didn’t quite get around to making anything as involved as  honeycomb crisps, peanut filled pastries or smiling mouth cookies this year, so I threw together a quick water chestnut cake instead.

Whilst the classic New Year Cake (年糕) and Radish Cake (蘿蔔糕) are the more common cakes you tend to see around Chinese New Year, any type of cake can really be used to celebrate Chinese New Year because the word cake in Chinese is pronounced similarly to the word tall, therefore symbolising the promise of a better year.

For me, it’s just another excuse to have cake really.

Water chestnut cake is my favourite of Chinese cakes- essentially a simple sugar syrup mixture, thickened into a jelly-like consistency from chestnut flour. Chunks of water chestnut add some addition textural contrast- if you’ve never tried water chestnut, it is similar to the texture of a pear, although not nearly as sweet. Fresh water chestnuts make for an amazing snack, but you’ll have a hard time locating some in Australia so the frozen ones will do for this recipe.

We’ve been through a fair amount of water chestnut cake recipes and this is the one we ended our search at because it is the texture and the taste that we are after. The flavour mostly comes from the sugar, so it will vary depending on the type of sugar used, but the subtle taste of the water chestnut and the unique texture still remains regardless. I would definitely recommend this recipe for any water chestnut lovers!

Water Chestnut Cake 馬蹄糕
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Ingredients
  1. 320g water chestnuts (I used frozen)
  2. 320g water chestnut flour
  3. 480g cane sugar (I used 300g)
  4. 1T lard (I used vegetable oil)
  5. 5.5 cups water
Instructions
  1. Wash the water chestnuts and cut into small pieces
  2. Mix water chestnut flour with 1.5 cups of water to make a paste
  3. Boil the remaining 4 cups of water with the cane sugar until melted
  4. Add lard and water chestnuts. Boil breifly and turn off heat.
  5. Wait for 3 minutes and then quickly pour in mixed water chestnut solution in the boiled sugar solution. Mix quickly to form a paste
  6. Pour into a greased cake tin and steam for 30 minutes until cooked
  7. When cold, cut into slices and pan fry in oil until gold on both sides before serving.
Notes
  1. The recipe can be tweaked, but I would recommend keeping the ratio of chestnut flour to water the same- this is what gives it the correct texture.
  2. Because water chestnut does not have much of a flavour, the flavour mostly comes from the sugar so you can change it to suit your tastes. We tend to use Chinese brown sugar (which results in a darker cake), but in this instance, I used rock sugar (cane sugar) for a whiter result.
The texture of the cake can vary considerably depending on how it is mixed
  1. In the method described in the original recipe, the water syrup mixture (step 3 and 4) is set to cool for 3 min before the flour solution is added. When this method is used, the resulting cake is smooth and attractive.
  2. The method I prefer is to add the flour solution immediately tot he boiling syrup mixture. This 'cooks' the flour and immediately turns the mixture into a thick paste. This results in a chewier cake, although not as smooth.
Adapted from Hong Kong Snacks Cookbook
Berry Nutritious http://berrynutritious.com.au/
In Cake, Recipe on
January 23, 2017

Cakes of 2016

As I mentioned in my first post this year, as much as I want to introduce a bit of nutrition onto this blog, I will still be posting some sweet treats. Because yes, they can be had- in moderation.

And because we really struggle to finish full sized cakes between our family of four, I find birthdays a great excuse to bake cake without having to worry about how I’m going to finish it off!

2016 was a bit of an exciting year for me, in that I think I’ve finally started to get the hang of decorating cakes. Not to a professional level by any means, but for the first time in my life, I achieved straight and slightly smooth sides on a cake and I could almost get away with saying that these cakes were purchased and not homemade. Almost.

These were originally going to be a separate post each, but it’s 2017 now and it’ll probably be 2018 by the time I get around to writing about each individually, so here’s a little bit of indulgence in one post!

My coconut lemon cake was the first of attempts and far from perfect. The butter cream curdled multiple times on me and I had to use chocolate everywhere to cover the cracks but it was definitely a good learning experience. The combination of the coconut poke cake layers and lemon curd filling were deliciously good match, although much too sweet.


I thought I’d try  something similar, this time with chocolate cake (which tends to have less of a failure rate for me) along with a chocolate drip not because it’s popular these days, but because it covers all the boo-boos. That, and everyone likes chocolate cake right?

I used my current favourite chocolate cake recipe, filled it with chocolate crémeux, and iced with coffee swiss meringue buttercream to make a decadent mocha drip cake. We only got through half the cake because it was much larger than I thought it’d be, but it was definitely a winner.

Because we struggled to finish a 20cm cake between 12 people, I thought I’d start downsizing to 14cm for my white chocolate vanilla cake, which I made with my trusty sour cream pound cake recipe for the cake layers and iced with whipped white chocolate ganache, which I found much more difficult to work with than my usually dark choc ganache. I really liked the watercolour effect for the icing, it really gives it the ‘wow’ factor, although the drip wasn’t as thick as I had hoped.

And lucky last, and quite a different cake for me, a vegan chocolate cake, using a recipe I had bookmarked about 7 years ago. It was rather challenging because of the limitations for the ingredients I could use. I had considered playing around with aquafaba but wasn’t sure if that would turn into a complete disaster, so I played it safe and covered the cake in Nuttelex buttercream and a dark chocolate drip. The chocolate cake turned out surprisingly well, although not quite as nice as my usual recipe. I probably won’t be turning to vegan baking any time soon but it was definitely a fun experience!

And that’s a wrap for 2016- here’s to more exciting and delectable cakes for 2017!