green tea opera cake

5.28.2008

This is my first daring baker's challenge. In light of celebrating spring, we had to keep to non dark colors. So I chose green tea- what other than green reminds you of the springtime. It's not as pretty as those bakery opera cakes, but it will do as my first.  

green tea opera cake  
joconde ingredients
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature 
  • 2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar 
  • 2 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted 
  • 6 large eggs 
  • ½ cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour 
  • 1tsp matcha 
  • 3 tbsp. (1½ ounces; 45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
directions
  1. Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425F. (220C). Line two 12½ x 15½- inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside.
  4. If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar, eggs, and matcha on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).
  6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
  7. Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven. Place one jelly-roll pan in the middle of the oven and the second jelly-roll pan in the bottom third of the oven.
  8. Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.
  9. Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.
syrup ingredients 
  •  ½ cup (125 grams) water 
  • ⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar 
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. of vanilla directions
  1. Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
buttercream ingredients
  • 1 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar 
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) water 
  • 1 tsp matcha 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1 large egg yolk 
  • 1¾ sticks (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
directions
  1. Combine the sugar, water and matcha in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225F (107C)6 on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.
  3. While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
  4. When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment.
  5. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
  6. While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.
  7. With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny. At this point add in your flavouring and beat for an additional minute or so. Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).
glaze ingredients 
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped 
  • ½ cup heavy cream 
directions
  1. Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
  2. Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake.8 Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.
  3. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

lemon drops

5.25.2008

Birthdays at our office are usually celebrated with cupcakes. For a while they were from Buttercup Bakeshop but recently we've moved onto Magnolia's. With the start of spring and coming close to summer, it is the time for birthdays galore. This past week we had a few on our floor alone. I decided to make cookies for one of my coworkers since we had our usual Magnolia's cupcakes.

lemon drops
ingredients
  • 1 cup butter 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 large egg yolk 
  • 1/3 cup sour cream 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest juice from half a lemon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt  
directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  2. Sift together flour, lemon zest, and salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture.
  3. Fill cookie press with dough, then form circular cookies on ungreased cookie sheets. Lightly brush oil on rubber stamp, imprint onto pressed cookies. Reapply oil onto stamp after 3-4 cookies.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

orange chocolate cupcakes

5.19.2008

Happy Birthday to my good friend Anh, who just turned 30 last week. Not only is she an extraordinary rock climber, and a talented yoga teacher, she is also a great chocolate lover. To celebrate Anh's birthday along with spring I added my little twist of citrus to these chocolate buttermilk cupcakes. 

orange chocolate cupcake with orange buttercream 
ingredients 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted 
  • 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract 
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest 
 directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugars until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, the orange extract, and the orange zest, beating after each addition until smooth. Divide the batter between the cupcake liners.
  6. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 15-18 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans and cool on rack.
  7. When cupcakes has cooled, ice tops of cupcakes with orange buttercream.
orange buttercream 
 ingredients 
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, very soft 
  • 8 cups confectioner's sugar 
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
directions
  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the juice and the zest. Beat until the smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. Use and store at room temperature.

roses for mother's day

5.16.2008

For Mother's Day this year I decided to make flowers instead of buying them. Truthfully, two hours into cutting petals, 80 to exact, I was thinking buying flowers would have been a less painful experience. These paper crepe flowers are from a handy kit from the Martha Stewart craft line. However, don't be fooled, although it is a kit from Martha, it doesn't mean it is going to be easy. It took me about 6 hours or so to complete these 6 roses. It was worth every second when I gave it to my mom. She couldn't believe it was paper at first, also it will last throughout the year.

pandas

5.10.2008

Another creation from The Cute Book. I made a pair of pandas for my friend who just graduated from graduate school this past Friday. They are frolicking in the flowers Gary got me.

kitchen aid

I did it! I gave in and bought myself a kitchen aid mixer. Isn't it the prettiest thing you've ever seen? I'm excited for all the things I'll be making with this.

banana bites

5.03.2008

I was hanging out at Gary's and found myself confronted with some very ripe bananas. When this happens, I want to make banana bread. However, a boy's apartment doesn't usually have the usual ingredients for my banana nut bread recipe. Instead, I looked through his cabinets and put together what I can.

banana bites
ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of margarine 
  • 1 cup all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 ripe banana mashed 
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1 egg milk chocolate sprinkles
directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar together. Add in egg, milk and vanilla. Combine and mix in mashed bananas.
  3. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda together. Mix wet with dry ingredients.
  4. Divide batter into mini cups. Bake until tester comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes.
  5. Cool cake.
  6. Melt milk chocolate in microwave. Dip mini cupcakes into melted chocolate. Decorate sprinkles.
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