Tag Archives: food

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 
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Blueberry Galette 

Can’t believe summer is half-way through already ! I have been really busy, driving the kids around to different activities, keeping them occupied. If you are a parent, you would know, summer is actually busier than school days ! But they are having so much fun…..swimming, trampoline park, bowling, sleep over…..Although I am exhausted at the end of the day, seeing their happy faces makes it all worth it. Hey, kids are supposed to sleep in, play lots and eat lots during the summer, right ? With all the activities, meal times for us may not always be as regular and as healthy as I’d like. To balance that out, I make sure I stock lots of fruits at home. Luckily my kids are not picky eaters and love the summer fruits…blueberries, cherries, watermelon, peaches, etc.  And of course I use them to make desserts, like this blueberry galette. It’s basically a rustic blueberry pie and you don’t need to worry about making the crust neat and tidy. It makes a perfect summer dessert with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream !

Makes one galette

For the crust 

  • 90 g unsalted butter (cut into small pieces and chilled)
  • 100 mL ice-cold water
  • 200 g cake and pastry flour, sifted
  • 15 g granulated sugar
  • 2.5 g salt

For the filling 

  • 200 g fresh blueberries 
  • 30 g granulated sugar 
  • 7.5 mL lemon juice 
  • Zest of 1/2 small lemon 
  • 7.5 g cornstarch 
  • 10 g graham cracker crumbs 
  1. To make the crust, combine flour,sugar and salt
  2. Rub in chilled butter with hands until resemble coarse crumbs, there should be pea-sized lumps of butter
  3. Add cold water and mix until dough just starting to form
  4. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, and press dough together (Do not knead)
  5. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight (I actually doubled the amount of ingredients and kept half of the dough in the freezer for later) 
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F 
  7. Gently mix blueberries with sugar,lemon juice, lemon zest and cornstarch 
  8. Let sit for about 10 minutes 
  9. Roll dough out to about 0.5 cm in thickness 
  10. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs in the middle leaving about 5 cm from the edge, the crumbs help to prevent a soggy crust 
  11. Spoon filling on top  
  12. Fold and pleat edges over part of the filling
  13. Brush edges with water and sprinkle with vanilla sugar or granulated sugar 
  14. Bake for about 60 minutes until golden and filling is bubbling (you can cover it with aluminium foil for the last 15 to 20 minutes to prevent crust from getting too brown)
  15. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream 

Classic Madeleines 

Madeleines are something that have been in my mind for a long time. These elegant looking mini cakes are so buttery and tasty. They are not difficult to make, you just need a little patience as both the batter and the molds have to be chilled before baking. And yes, you do have to buy the Madeleine pan to get that shell-liked shape, but for about $20-$30, it’s worth it. Well, I guess that’s from a baker’s point of view ! My kids often tell me I spend too much on my baking stuff, but hey, these are my toys, plus I don’t buy expensive clothes, handbags or jewellery like other people do ! Most importantly, I am doing something that makes me happy ! And when mom is happy, everyone’s happy ! 

Makes about 22-24 

  • 120 g unsalted butter + 30 g for greasing tray, melted 
  • 90 g all-purpose flour 
  • 90 g cake and pastry flour 
  • 3 g baking powder 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 g vanilla sugar or granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • Zest of one lemon 
  • 15 mL lemon juice 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • Icing sugar for dusting 
  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan or microwave, cool slightly 
  2. Brush madeleine moulds with about 30 g of melted butter, coat with flour, tapping off excess
  3. Place coated pan in freezer for at least one hour 
  4. Sift together flours, baking powder and salt, mix in sugar, set aside 
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla until frothy, about 5 minutes 
  6. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture 
  7. Gently mix in 120 g of melted (and cooled) butter, 2-3 tablespoons at a time until just blended 
  8. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight 
  9. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F
  10. Drop about 1 tablespoon of batter into each mould without spreading it out
  11. Place madeleine pan on another large baking tray and bake for about 12 minutes until edges are golden 
  12. Cool in moulds for a few minutes then completely on rack 
  13. Dust with icing sugar, best to eat within 2 days 

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman, “How to Bake Everything” 

Tools and Books 


  
Chicago Metallic 26631 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan

How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking

You can get the Madeleine pan and the cookbook through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

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

Orange Cranberry Scones 

The weather here in Vancouver has been very rainy and windy lately. Often, I just feel like staying home all day. I made these scones a few days ago to warm and lift myself up.  Orange and cranberry is one of my favourites.  The two flavours just work together like magic ! With a cup of coffee….Mmmmmmmm, so comforting and delicious ! Scones are actually pretty easy to make, they freeze well too, so you can make and cut the dough ahead and bake later.  You don’t need to thaw them, just take them out when you are preheating the oven.  But keep in mind, the baking time will be slightly longer. 

Makes about 8 scones

  • 360 g all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 120 g granulated sugar 
  • 120 g unsalted butter (chilled and cut into small pieces)
  • Zest of 1/2 small orange 
  • 60 g dried cranberries 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 30 mL orange juice 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract 
  • 50 g melted dark chocolate for drizzling (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Mix in sugar
  4. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in by hands until resembles coarse crumbs
  5. Add orange zest and cranberries 
  6. Add egg, buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla and orange extract, mix until blended
  7. Transfer dough to a floured surface, and press together to form a round disc about 1/2 inch thick
  8. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 to 2 hours
  9. Cut disc into 8 triangular wedges Orange and Cranberry Scones
  10. Bake on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about 20 minutes
  11. Serve warm with butter or drizzle with melted dark chocolate Orange and Cranberry SconesOrange and Cranberry Scones

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