Sunday, September 30, 2012

Plum Cake with Burnt Brown Butter

 Plums were cheap in the supermarket yesterday. They were going for S$1.55 for 6. Grabbed some immediately and my thoughts went to Limoncino or rather Limoncello Plum Tart that I made quite some time ago for a friend.

Sunday is usually a bake day or a cook day for me. I planned to start the morning with Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes, then set the dough to rise for a Sourdough Bread, bake a Limoncello Plum tart and then Roast Pork. All the ingredients were fine and in order except that I discovered that my remaining cream in the carton went sour! Oh no! I need cream in the Limoncello Plum Tart! I was too lazy to drive a few kilometres to the shops to get cream. I will not make do without the cream.

So I had to get on the net to see what I can make out of the plums. I came across Dinner with Julie's Brown Butter Bliss. It uses plums and I had all the ingredients and look very easy to whip up. It was a custardy batter quickly poured over plums and baked to a crusty gold. This recipe is very good for beginners, almost foolproof. In fact, you can use up any fruits for this recipe. I am glad I found it.

It is a pity that my Limoncello Plum Tart has to wait again. Well, the cake was nice, best serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Plum cake with Burnt Brown Butter
Adapted from Dinner With Julie


6 plums, thickly sliced
168g (3/4 cup) + 2 Tbsp. sugar (or to taste, according to the sweetness of the fruit)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
125g (1/2 cup) butter
2 large eggs
225g (1 cup) plain or all purpose flour, sifted


Preheat the oven to 180 C (350°F) and grease and line an 20 cm (8 inch) cake pan.
Toss the fruits in a bowl  with about 2 Tbsp sugar, the ground cinnamon and the nutmeg then spread onto the cake pan.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and keep stirring it, swirling the pan occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until it turns golden.
Pour  the burnt butter into a the mixer. Turn it on medium speed.
Mix the 3/4 cup of sugar into the butter, let the sugar dissolve in the mixture.
When the most of the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is cooler, add the eggs and mix thoroughly.
Then add the flour at the lowest speed. Just mix until even.
Pour the mixture over the fruits in the cake pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden and crusty, and the juices ooze from around the edges. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or thick vanilla yogurt.
Serves 8.

While I am finishing up for this blog, I can smell the heavenly Roast Pork in the oven. Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blue Velvet Cupcakes with Blueberries

After the hassle and the acquiring of the new IPhone 5, I can at last do some writing and posting on this blog. Last week my good friend S mentioned that her daughter and her friends have never seen any Blue Velvet Cakes in Singapore and wonder how it would look and taste like. So to make them happy, I made some for them.

I followed the recipe for the Red Velvet Cupcake and added some fresh blueberries to the cupcakes. Everything else remains the same. It is not easy getting the right kind of colour for this Blue Velvet Cupcakes. Too little colouring, the batter will have a tinge of green, too much of it will turn it dark blue. I read somewhere that you need to add violet colour to it, so mine turned a bit too dark. I will not add any violet colouring the next round.

This recipe is straightforward and resulted in a really velvety and delicious tender sponge and the frosting is good with the correct level of sweetness. It is suitable for both adults and children.

Blue Velvet Cupcakes with Blueberries

 60 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter (room temperature)
150 g (3/4 cups) sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

125 g (1 1/4 cups) cake flour, sifted
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 g (1 tbsp) regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
120 ml (1/2 cup)  buttermilk
1 tbsp liquid blue food colouring
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda
100g fresh blueberries
2 tsp blue sanding sugar (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
227 g (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
60 grams (1/2 cup) icing (confectioners') sugar, sifted
160 ml (2/3 cup) cold whipping cream

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F) and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.
Beat the butter for 2 minutes in an electric mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
In a smaller bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the blue food colouring. With the mixer on the smallest speed, alternately add the flour mixture and coloured buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a small cup, combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz up and then quickly fold into the cake batter.
Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin lined cups (about 2/3 full) and smoothen the top of the batter. Add in a few fresh blueberries on the top of the batter, push the fruits down. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Cool the cakes on a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting. Use a large 1M Wilton open star decorating tip to pipe the frosting. Sprinkle blue sanding sugar to decorate.
Cream Cheese Frosting
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and icing sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. (stand by and make sure the cream is whipped) Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.
Sanding Sugar
Put the 2 tsp of sugar in a small bowl, add 1 or 2 tiny drops of blue colouring and stir until all the sugar changed colour.
Makes 12 cupcakes.
For Red Velvet Cupcakes, substitute and add in red food colouring instead of blue. Omit the blueberries.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Apple and Cinnamon Tea cake

I have some apples sitting around in my fruit basket and nobody seems to be eating it at all. I have to use it up before it lands into the dustbin. The apples still looked good enough to make a dessert out of it. I quickly flipped the pages of my Donna Hay magazines to get some ideas on what to do with these apples.
There it was staring at me from the April/May 2012 issue of Donna Hay magazine was the exact or rather perfect recipe to use up my three big Fuji apples.
You can use 4 smaller green apples but not soft and powdery apples for this recipe. Apples and Cinnamon go hand in hand and again they make good partners here. The only thing is that you bake this cake in a lower temperature and longer hours in the oven compared to the other cakes. Maybe because of the apples used I suppose. It taste good.


Apple and Cinnamon Tea Cake
Adapted from Donna Hay
185g unsalted butter, softened
200g sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
225g plain flour, sifted                     
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, sifted
125ml sour cream
Apple and cinnamon topping
3 Fuji apples or 4 green apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Lightly grease a 22 cm round loose bottom pan and line it with baking paper.
Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in the mixer and beat till pale and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add in the sour cream.
Now add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon mixture to the batter. Beat on low speed until just combined. Make sure the bowl is scraped down.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Cut a row of deep slits in each apple quarter and arrange on top of the cake batter.
Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Serves 8 to 10.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Scones, Strawberry Jam & Chantilly Cream

Instead of tea time, I made this for breakfast. This is a good recipe and it is barely sweetened, very tasty, flaky and tender. You can make the dough a day earlier, put it in the freezer and bake it whenever you need it. For this recipe, you do not need to defrost the scones, bake it rock hard straight from the freezer, it IS that easy. I bake this whenever I run out of ideas for breakfast for the family.

The Scone is a small British quick bread, traditionally hailing from Scotland. They are usually made of wheat flour, with baking powder as a leavening agent. It is similar to but different from both a cake and a current bun.

The pronunciation of the word within the United Kingdom varies. Most of the British and Scottish pronounce it as "con" with the 's' in front. This is also the pronunciation of Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders. Other regions, particularly the United States, pronounce the word as " cone" with the 's' in front. British dictionaries usually show the "con" form as the preferred pronunciation, while recognising that the "cone" form also exists.

I like to eat my scones with Chantilly cream and homemade strawberry jam. They are a perfect match.

Scones (makes around 18)
60g raisins
470g flour
1 ½ tbsp sugar
1 ½ tbsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
170 chilled unsalted butter
320g chilled whipping cream

For egg wash
1 egg yolk
30g cream

1.     Preheat oven 200 C
2.     Soak raisins in warm water for 15 minutes, drain and pat dry.
3.     Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together.
4.     Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
5.     Toss in cut chilled butter and mix till fine crumbs using a pastry blender.  Add
6.     Make a well in the centre, pour in cream until it comes together.
7.     Do not over mix, as long as it comes together, stop mixing.
8.     Pat dough well using hands onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough into   
      half then to a quarter. This is to create layers in the scones.
 9.  Once again pat the thick dough into one inch thick.
10. Use 5 to 6 cm round cutter to cut scones.
11. At this point you can store the unbaked cut scones in a covered container in the 
      freezer between plastic wraps and bake it whenever you feel like it and there is
      no need to defrost first.
12. You can of course bake it straight away by putting the scones on a baking
       tray lined with baking paper or Silpat after step 10.
13. Mix the egg yolk and the cream together.
13.   Brush egg yolk mixture onto scones before baking.
14.   Bake for 20 min. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with Chantilly cream and
       strawberry jam.
Chantilly Cream
Chantilly cream, or crème chantilly in French is to use to impress your friends, it is simply sweetened whipped cream flavoured with vanilla.
180 ml whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Whip cream at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, add icing sugar and continue to whip till soft peak forms.
Strawberry Jam
250g fresh strawberries (hulled and cut into halves)
100g sugar
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Mix all the ingredients except the rose extract in a small pot over a small flame.
Stir often and cook till jam consistency.
Remove from flame and cool. 
                      Pastry Blender



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