Cake, Chocolate

Another Happy Birthday and a Crepe Cake

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2 days ago was my cousin’s 27th birthday, and she requested the same cake I made her last year: a nutella crepe cake.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a cross-section photo of the cake, but it’s 25 paper-thin crepes layered with nutella filling and enrobed in white chocolate chantilly. Needless to say, I was very pleased with the outcome, and the cake also managed to last the 2-hour drive in the humid 95 degree weather, which I was also very pleased with!

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Bread, Breakfast, fruit, Recipes

Cherry, Almond, and Cream Cheese Brioche

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If I had to pick my favorite kind of bread, brioche would definitely be up there at the top. There’s no question as to why I would want to make these rich, buttery babies. At work we make brioches that we top with almond cream and either peaches or pears. Today I wanted to make use of what was left of our summer fruits, so cherries it was!

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The brioche I made today are quite similar to cheese danishes, and just as buttery. I used a recipe from one of the books we used for school, and the dough is really wet, so maybe next time I make it I would reduce amount of butter (sigh, I know).

Brioche dough

recipe adapted from Professional Baking, 5th edition

makes 14

65 g milk

15 g yeast, fresh

60 g bread flour

150 g eggs (3 large, plus more for egg wash)

240 g bread flour

15 g sugar

6 g salt

210 g butter

Heat milk until it is lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in milk, then mix with 60g bread flour. Keep in oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and let ferment until doubled in volume.

Place dough in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On medium speed, paddle in eggs one at a time, until eggs have been fully absorbed. Add 240g flour, sugar, and salt to dough, and mix until combined. Switch out paddle and change to dough hook attachment. Knead dough in mixer 3-4 minutes, then add butter a little at a time with mixer running, and mix until dough is completely uniform. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Divide dough into 14 even portions, roll out each portion into a ball, and keep rolls about 2inches apart on a oiled and lined sheet pan.

For cream cheese/almond filling:

227 g cream cheese

115 g marzipan or sweetened almond paste

fresh cherries, halved and pitted

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and marzipan until ingredients make a smooth paste, then keep creaming until mixture looks light and airy. Use your fingers to make a small well in the center of each roll, and with the filling in a piping bag, pipe a small amount of filling into the wells of each roll. Top each with half of a cherry, lightly pressing on the cherry to keep it secured in place.

Let dough proof until it almost doubles in size, then egg wash. Bake 350F for 25-30 minutes.

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Cake, Petit Four, Recipes

Coconut and Brown Sugar Tea Cakes

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I once took an international cooking class, and one day a woman from South Africa came in and made the class a yellow cake that she had soaked in a syrup made from milk and sugar; I can’t for the life of me remember what that cake was called, but the taste definitely lingered in my mind and on my tongue.

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That is where most of the inspiration for these cakes came from. It had some very simple flavors, but it really just reminded me of something my grandma would make (who by the way, is most definitely not from South Africa); it’s simple but undeniably good. I proceeded to use some flavors that I know she would appreciate, and coconut and brown sugar were the answers!

The coconut adds a nice chew to the cakes and the brown sugar gives them a deeper flavour than regular sugar could provide. I also love that these cakes remind me of little snowballs! They’re a tad sweeter than I would normally make a cake by itself, but they make the perfect compliment to a bitter cup of tea or coffee.

Coconut and Brown Sugar Tea Cakes

makes 50 1-inch cakes

110 g cake flour

1 g salt

55 g dessicated coconut, unsweetened, plus more to coat cakes

90 g unsalted butter

125 g brown sugar

2 large eggs

For soaking syrup:

170 g coconut milk

70 g brown sugar

Preheat oven to 380F, and lightly oil mini (1″ round) silicon molds. In a bowl, whisk together cake flour and salt until there are no more lumps, then whisk in dessicated coconut until combined. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine unsalted butter and 125g brown sugar, and cream together well on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture is very fluffy and pale. With mixer running, add eggs one at a time, until eggs are absorbed in the butter; make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Mix until everything is combined.

Reduce speed to low, and slowly add in flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Pipe batter into oiled molds 3/4th of the way up, and bake about 8 minutes, or until cakes are firm and golden brown around edges.

While cakes are baking, make soaking syrup: combine coconut milk and 70g brown sugar in a small saucepan, and heat just until sugar is completely dissolved. Stir well with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching. While both cakes and syrup are still warm, brush syrup over each cake, making sure that cakes are soaking up all the syrup; think tres leches cake. Let cakes cool a bit, then toss in dessicated coconut to coat. Keep refrigerated, and enjoy!

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Cake, fruit, Recipes

Happy Birthday [To Me!]

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Today I hit the ripe old age of 22, so of course I had to make my own cake! This one is green tea sponge cake with passion fruit cream and marscapone chantilly (instead of buttercream).

It’s amazing how much can happen in one year, and I’d say that this was a very eventful one; in the past year I’ve:

  • gotten engaged and am currently planning our wedding (woot!)
  • graduated from culinary school
  • got a new job (which I am soon to be promoted at! yayy!!)
  • began painting again
  • started this blog!
  • learned some amazing things about pastries and about myself and just life in general
  • met and made friends with some amazing people

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The list goes on and on. It’s crazy how much one can change in just 365 days, or in any moment, for that matter, and I know I’m grateful for all of those moments given to me.

For an amazing sponge cake recipe I used The Little Teochew’s recipe, doubled it, and added 5 grams of matcha powder (green tea), although next time I will probably double that amount for a stronger flavor. For the marscapone chantilly I just whisked together 250g marscapone, 250 g heavy cream, 65 g sugar, and about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until all the lumps were gone, and then whipped the mixture until it was fairly stiff. And last but not least, inspiration for this cutie-pie cake comes from Cupcake D’lights, where I go to be jealous of all the amazing cakes she makes!

Here’s to another amazing year for the both of us!

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Chocolate, Cookies, Gluten Free, Petit Four, Recipes

[Gluten-Free] Faux Milanos

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Milanos were one of my favorite cookies as I was growing up. I mean, crisp and light wafers with chocolate sandwiched in between? Where can you go wrong? Pepperidge Farm definitely knew how to hook me in as a kid (and sometimes still as an adult!).

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With a little extra time on my hands, I decided I wanted to make a gluten-free version of these babies, and I’ll admit that I indulged in quite a few of them before deciding to give the rest to the neighbors (sigh..). They are best enjoyed the day of baking, as they will stay crispier.

[Gluten-free] Milano Cookies

Makes 32 sandwiches

205 g almond flour

2 g salt

9 g baking powder

135 g butter

130 g sugar

75 g egg whites

3 g vanilla extract

For ganache filling:

150 g dark chocolate, chopped very finely

80 g heavy cream

2 g orange zest

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together almond flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl until it is lump-free, then set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until mixture is light and airy (2-3 minutes). Scrape bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula and with mixer running on medium speed, slowly stream in egg whites and vanilla extract until all liquid is absorbed by the butter and mixture is completely  emulsified.

Scrape bowl again, then with mixer running on low speed, slowly add almond mixture and mix just until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Using a piping bag with a medium tip, pipe batter into 1-inch logs on a sheet pan lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper, keeping cookies 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart, as they will spread quite a bit. Bake at 350F for 9 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown around edges but still slightly pale in center. Let cool completely on sheet pan before removing.

For ganache: Bring cream to a boil, then pour over dark chocolate. Whisk together until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth and glossy. Whisk in orange zest.

When cookies are cooled, match cookies together by size and shape, then spread a thin layer of ganache on one side and sandwich with the other. Cookies are best enjoyed the day of baking.

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