Tag Archives: dessert recipes

Dark Chocolate Orange Mousse Cake

A lot of my favourite foods or flavours are associated with some fond childhood memories. The combination of chocolate and orange is one of them. Have you ever tried Jacob’s Club chocolate orange biscuits? Growing up in Hong Kong, it was such a precious and delicious treat for me as a kid and I would eat it as slowly as possible, trying to cherish every single bite ! This food nostalgia has also given me the idea to make this mousse cake ! I made them into three layers…. cake, mousse and a ganache on top. It does require more time and work, but it’s worth it. Not only do layered desserts look sophisticated, the different textures make every bite more enjoyable.

I made these in minis, but the recipe is good for a six inch cake too. If you don’t have ring molds, spring-form pans will work, but run a warm knife or spatula around the cake before releasing the spring, otherwise the cake may crack.

For the cake

Makes 4-5 three inch mini cakes

  • 150 g all-purpose flour
  • 150 g cake and pastry flour
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 6 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 3 g salt
  • 240 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 mL buttermilk
  • 120 mL vegetable oil
  • 60 mL fresh orange juice
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ml pure orange extract
  • 120 mL hot water

  1. Preheat oven to 350o F
  2. Lightly grease a 9″ x 9 ” square pan or a similar size baking tray and line the bottom with parchment paper
  3. Sift together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  4. In another mixing bowl, hand whisk together granulated sugar and eggs until frothy
  5. Mix in buttermilk, oil, orange juice, orange zest, and extracts
  6. Slowly combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients
  7. Add in hot water, a little at a time, mix until just blended, do not overmix
  8. Pour batter into baking pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes. (To help keep the cake moist, you can bake it on top of a cooking sheet filled with hot water, but handle very carefully)

For the Mousse

  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 375 ml cold whipping cream
  • 2 gelatin sheets (1 g each)
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 2.5 mL pure orange extract
  1. Chill the mixing bowl in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  2. Place gelatin sheets in cold water for a few minutes to bloom
  3. Heat about half a cup of whipping cream in a pot over medium heat until just starting to boil, turn heat off
  4. Squeeze gelatin sheets to remove excess water, add into heated cream and stir until dissolved
  5. While it’s still hot, pour over dark chocolate, stir until smooth
  6. Mix in extracts and let cool
  7. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk remaining whipping cream in the chilled mixing bowl until stiff peak is formed
  8. Gently fold in chocolate mixture, do not over mix

To assemble

  1. Trim top of sheet cake with knife or wire cake cutter to about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick
  2. Cut out individual cake using 3″ ring molds and place each, with the ring, on a small piece of parchment paper
  3. Pour mousse on top of cake and smooth with a spoon, do not fill to the top, leave some space for the ganache
  4. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours to set
  5. Prepare ganache when mousse is set

For the ganache

  • 90 g dark chocolate
  • 75 ml whipping cream
  • 2.5 ml pure vanilla extract
  1. Heat chocolate and whipping cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds (Since we only need a small amount of ganache, it’s easier to heat it up in the microwave)
  2. Stir until smooth, add vanilla and let cool
  3. Pour ganache on mousse cake and refrigerate for another 2 hours
  4. To serve, remove molds by using a kitchen torch and gently heat around rings or carefully run a warm knife or spatula around the cake

Mini Apple Walnut Loaves

When my kids were younger and were still in Scouts, we used to sell apples to raise money every September. It takes quite a bit of courage for a 6 and a 9-year-old to go up to strangers and ask for donations. It was such a good experience and I was so proud of them. Now that their interests have changed and we are no longer in Scouts, I really miss those years of fund-raising, camping, hiking and all the other activities that we have done….  

Fall is the apple season and there are so many different kinds of apple. Gala is my favourite ! It’s not too big, it’s sweet and has the perfect texture for eating or baking. And I made these mini loaves with walnuts the other day. They taste best when warm….and even better with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream ! I like to make them in mini loaves as you don’t need to bake them as long and can freeze them very easily for later.  

Makes 4 mini loaves (dimensions of pans: 5.75 x 3.25 x 2.25 inches)

  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 4 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 3 g ground cinnamon
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 100 g demerara or brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 mL vegetable oil
  • 150 g sour cream
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 400 g diced apples, about 3-4 apples (I used Gala, washed, peeled and cored)
  • 120 g coarsely chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Lightly oiled and floured 4 mini loaf pans
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, set aside
  4. Whisk together eggs and sugars until frothy, mix in oil, vanilla and sour cream
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until just cooperated
  6. Stir in apples and walnuts
  7. Pour batter into 4 loaf pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes

 

Tools that I used 

Chicago Metallic 59440 Commercial II Non-Stick Mini Loaf Pans, Set of 4

You can get the mini loaf pans through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

Baked Matcha (Green Tea) Doughnuts

My family took a trip to Japan this summer and we had so much fun ! It’s a really fantastic country to travel. It’s clean, organized, modern yet traditional, there is so much to see. And the food was soooo good ! From fresh sashimi, ramen, to crepe, and everything matcha…..mmmmm, they were all super delicious !

fresh sashimi, teppanyaki, ramen, takoyaki octopus balls

creme brulee crepe, matcha parfait, soft cheesecake, pancake skewer

I think the only part we didn’t enjoy was the heat and the crowd. But we were actually very lucky, as Japan was hit by a powerful typhoon soon after we left, and also an earthquake in Hokkaido…just hope everything is ok…

Matcha (green tea powder) is really popular there, not only as a tea, but in many desserts ! Mochi, cake, cookies, ice cream, shaved ice, parfait, latte……the list is endless ! I wish I could bring all of them home….or I can try making them myself ! Here are my Baked Matcha Doughnuts ! They are as delicious as the fried ones but “matcha” more easier to make !

Makes about 8-10 doughnuts

For the doughnuts

  • 75 g all-purpose flour
  • 75 g cake and pastry flour
  • 60 g granulated sugar
  • 5 g matcha powder
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 1.5 g baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 150 mL buttermilk
  • 45 mL vegetable oil
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract

For the glaze

  • 90 g icing sugar
  • 2 g matcha powder
  • 15-20 mL milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF
  2. Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and matcha powder, set aside
  3. Whisk together egg and sugar until frothy, mix in buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract
  4. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until just combined
  5. Pour batter into lightly-greased doughnut pans
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then completely on rack
  7. To make the glaze, sift icing sugar, whisk in milk until smooth
  8. Sift matcha powder and add a little at a time into icing mixture, whisk until no more lumps
  9. Dip one side of doughnuts into matcha glaze, best to serve within one day

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake 

For Thanksgiving this year, I want to make something that I haven’t made before and is easy to put together. So I made this Pumpkin Cake ! I kept it light by using vegetable oil in the batter and just a small amount of butter in the frosting. I figured everyone might be running out of stomach space after a hearty turkey meal ! The maple walnuts are optional, but they are REALLY good and make the cake a lot more flavourful ! My daughter is usually my taste tester, but this time I got my mom to try it …..and she ate 2 big pieces of it, I guess that means it’s approved ! Happy Thanksgiving !

Makes one 8-inch square cake

For the cake 

  • 150 g canned or homemade pumpkin puree 
  • 200 g cake and pastry flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 5 g ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 90 mL vegetable oil
  • 90 mL buttermilk
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 

For the frosting 

  • 250 g cream cheese, softened
  • 60 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract 

Optional toppings

Mix about 60 g walnuts with a tablespoon of maple syrup and toast in a 350°F oven for about 8 minutes.

  1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Line bottom of baking tray with parchment paper, lightly grease and flour the sides
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking power, baking soda, salt and spices
  4. Mix in sugar
  5. In another bowl, mix together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla
  6. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until just blended
  7. Fold in pumpkin puree
  8. Pour into baking tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes, let cool 
  9. Evenly trim off top and sides with a serrated knife 
  10. To make the frosting, beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy
  11. Add icing sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth
  12. Spread over top of cake
  13. Top with toasted walnuts if desired 

Mango Pudding 

Mango Pudding ! One of my favourite Asian desserts and it’s surprisingly easy to make ! Many recipes that I found use mango-flavoured jello, but I think it tastes much better with fresh mango puree and it has no artificial colours or flavours. The two common types of mango that are seen in grocery stores here in Vancouver are Haden and Atualfo. Haden has bright orange and yellow colour and is more round in shape. Ataulfo, which I used, is yellow and skinnier. You can use either type for the pudding, I am just more used to Ataulfo. One fun thing about making pudding is you can make it into any shape you want ! Put it in a fancy glass like I did, or in some flower-shaped silicone moulds. It makes a nice dessert for summer or any parties ! Enjoy !

  • 200 g fresh mango, pitted and diced (about 2 medium-sized mangoes)
  • 240 mL whipping cream
  • 1 envelope of gelatin powder (7 g)
  • 150 mL water (50 mL cold, 100 mL boiling)
  • 60 g granulated sugar (adjust to taste)
  1. Puree mangoes and press through a fine mesh with a spatula
  2. Mix puree into whipping cream until blended, set aside
  3. Put gelatin powder in about 50 mL of cold water to bloom
  4. Dissolve sugar in 100 mL of boiling water
  5. Add bloomed gelatin to sugar-water, stir until all dissolved then let cool to room temperature
  6. Mix together mango mixture and gelatin mixture
  7. Pour into desired containers and refrigerate until set

Frozen Banana Pops

I love bake, cook or do crafts with my kids whenever they are free, especially my daughter. Spring break is here and it’s a perfect time to have some fun together.  I love to do them with my son too, but I think he has “outgrown” that stage…Well, he would still cook some noodles for himself as he loves them. These banana pops are super easy and they made a great healthy snack. It can get a little messy with the melted chocolate but that’s the best part mom, right ?!  Our favourite topping is the maple roasted pecans,  you can find the recipe here…..Carrot Spelt Muffins with Maple Roasted Pecans

Makes about 12-16 pops

  • 300 g semi-sweet or dark chocolate 
  • 3-4 bananas (Do not use bananas that are too ripe, otherwise they will be too soft to work with)
  • Toppings of choice (sprinkles, roasted nuts, shredded coconut, etc) 
  1. Place toppings in separate dishes 
  2. Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, cool slightly 
  3. Slice bananas into big chunks 
  4. With the help of a fork, coat banana chunks with melted chocolate, tap off excess 
  5. Roll in desired toppings 
  6. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper 
  7. Insert popcicle sticks 
  8. Freeze until frozen 

Marzipan Cake

I never knew marzipan can be so tasty and so useful in baking ! My first encounter with it was eating some marzipan-filled chocolate. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it. Perhaps it was too sweet or perhaps I always prefer eating pure chocolate. But after I learned to make the Eisenbahner (Railroad) Cookies, I absolutely fell in love with it ! With high hopes for myself, I decided to make a cake this time…..but sadly…..I failed twice ! How frustrating ! The “failures” actually tasted pretty good. I realized the problem was the pans I used. For the first time, I used a 9 inch spring-form pan and the cake turned out too flat (It is a denser cake and it won’t rise very much). So I switched to a 9 inch x 5 inch loaf pan. But it took too long to bake through and the outside of the cake was dry and brown. So for the third time, I used an 8 inch cake ring and baked it in a hot water bath and…..Success finally ! I thought I would never make it !  Phew ! Now I get to sit down, relax and enjoy my cake after all that hard work !

Makes one 8 inch round cake 

  • 180 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 g marzipan, cut into small pieces and softened
  • 120 g granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 60 ml milk
  • 60 g honey
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • 180 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Icing sugar and almond slices for toppings
  1. Grease and flour an 8 inch cake ring  
  2. Wrap bottom with parchment paper, then 2 layers of aluminium foil and place on a rimmed baking trayCake RingCake Ring
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside
  5. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, marzipan and sugar 
  6. Add eggs, one at a time
  7. Mix in vanilla and almond extract, milk, honey and orange zest 
  8. Add flour mixture in two parts, mix until blended
  9. Pour batter into cake ring (it’s ok if batter is slightly gritty) 
  10. Pour about one inch of hot water in baking tray and bake cake in hot water bath for about 60 minutes  
  11. Cool and remove cake ring
  12. Top with icing sugar and almond slicesMarzipan CakeMarzipan Cake

Espresso Truffles 

2016 has been a pretty busy blogging year for me….Trying new recipes, participating in recipe round-ups, collaborative posts, Gastroposts, etc.  I also took a few pastry courses to improve my knowledge and skills. It’s been fun and rewarding. To treat myself and write my last post for the year, I made these Espresso Truffles with two of my favourite things, coffee and chocolate ! These little balls are so yummy, just one bite can already put a smile on my face and they are surprisingly easy to make ! Looking ahead, I hope to continue to learn, create and share more recipes.  Have a Happy New Year ! Espresso Truffles

Makes about 16 truffles

    • 180 g semi-sweet chocolate (finely chopped)
    • 60 g dark chocolate (70%, finely chopped)
    • 120 mL whipping cream
    • 3 g French Vanilla or other flavoured coffee beans (coarsely crushed)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • toppings of choice : unsweetened cocoa powder, melted chocolate for dipping (about 8 oz for 16 truffles), sea salt, crushed nuts, shredded coconut, etcEspresso Truffles
  1. Pour whipping cream and crushed coffee beans in a non-stick pot over medium heat until simmering
  2. Pour hot cream through a fine mesh and over chopped chocolate, let sit for about 30 seconds, add vanilla
  3. Stir until smooth
  4. Cool, then put in fridge for about 2 hours
  5. With the help of a melon scooper or a teaspoon, shape about 2 teaspoons each into balls
  6. Roll over desired toppings or dip them in melted chocolate 
  7. Keep in fridgeEspresso Truffles

Choux Pastry Puffs 

I was going to call these Cream Puffs, but my daughter insisted that these are cream sandwiches ! She said cream puffs should have a hole to fill the cream inside the puffs… OK, OK… So, now I call them Choux Pastry puffs ! Whatever it’s called, they look cute and are absolutely delicious ! (Actually I think Choux Pastry Puffs sounds fancier !) They will be a perfect dessert for your upcoming holiday dinners! 

Makes about 16 puffs 

  • 200 mL water
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 30 g  granulated or vanilla sugar 
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar, plus more for dusting, sifted 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 50 g semi-sweet chocolate (melted), for drizzling
    1. To prepare the whipped cream, place a mixing bowl into freezer for about 15 minutes 
    2. Using an electric mixer, whisk together whipping cream, 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and vanilla, in the cold mixing bowl, until stiff peak is formed 
    3. Refrigerate until use 
    4. To prepare the choux paste, heat together water, butter, salt and granulated or vanilla sugar in a pot over medium heat until just starting to boil
    5. Turn heat down to low, add flour all at once
    6. Stirring constantly, cook until a thin film of paste formed at the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes
    7. Transfer paste to a heat-proofed mixing bowl and cool down
    8. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF and prepare piping bag with desired piping tip
    9. Add eggs to paste, one at a time and mix well after each addition
    10. Transfer to piping bag and pipe into rounds on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, no bigger than 2 inches in diameter Choux Pastry Puffs
    11. Bake at 350ºF  for about 12-14 minutes until starting to brown, turn heat down to 325°F and bake for another 15 minutes until golden (if puffs are under baked, they will collapse after taken out)
    12. Turn heat off, leave puffs inside oven for about 15 -20 minutes with oven door ajar
    13. Take puffs out, let cool on baking sheets, then completely on rack Choux Pastry Puffs
    14. Cut puffs in halves, fill centres with whipped cream
    15. Drizzle with melted chocolate and dust with icing sugar, serve immediately Choux Pastry Puffs

Matcha (Green Tea) Mochi 

Mochi is one of my favourite desserts ! It’s sweet, soft, chewy….. just delicious. Traditionally, it is made by steaming a short-grain rice called mochigome, then it is mashed and pounded with wooden mallets in a mortar. I saw a video on YouTube on the fastest mochi maker in Japan. Wow !  It sure takes some serious skills and labour ! (Here is the link if you are interested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmSrULDVRPc).

Of course I don’t have those skills and tools. This recipe uses sweet rice flour and is very simple. The red bean paste matches so well with the green tea flavour.  With a cup of green tea, I feel like I am in Japan……I wish ! 

Makes about 8-10 pieces

  • 150 g sweet red bean paste (coarse or fine)
  • 180 g sweet rice flour (mochiko)  
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 60 g granulated sugar 
  • 300 mL water
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (for dusting) 
  1. Scoop red bean paste with a teaspoon into small balls (about 1/2 inch) 
  2. Place in freezer for about 15 minutes 
  3. Mix together sweet rice flour, matcha powder and sugar in a large microwavable bowl 
  4. Add water, mix well 
  5. Microwave on high for 1+1/2 minutes, remove and stir, then microwave on high again for about one more minute (each microwave oven is different, you may need to adjust the time) 
  6. Cool slightly for about 5 minutes 
  7. Place a piece of parchment paper on work surface and dust generously with potato starch 
  8. When dough is still fairly warm, spoon about 1-2 tablespoons each onto dusted parchment paper (dough is very sticky)
  9. Put a red bean paste ball in the middle, wrap and seal by pinching the edges together 
  10. Dust with more potato starch if needed to prevent sticking (you can dust off the extra with a pastry brush when mochi is cooled
  11. Place seal side down on a tray lined with parchment paper  
  12. Cool and serve. You can keep them in an air-tight container for up to 2 days at room temperature 

Matcha (Green Tea) Mochi