Sunday, 23 November 2014

My Latest Addiction to Baking and Introduction to My New Mixer

If you have been following my Instagram @m0nice, you are probably aware of my addiction for baking. I think it's just something that I have become really passionate about over time. And during these few months, I have upgraded 2 mixers and also bought several new equipments.

The kitchen is gonna be full of my baking supplies.

On September, I got a new stand mixer because it was really tiring to use a hand mixer and whisk the batter continuously, and sometimes the batter becomes inconsistent as well.

But I realized that this wasn't very good as well and I sold it off at a lower price, and got a new one as my Christmas gift! Will be introducing that later on!

Meanwhile, I still continued to bake with this mixer. After all, it's still more convenient than a handheld one!

P.S. I'm still in the midst of practicing my baking skills, some of these cakes/ pastries are my first attempts, so please do not expect perfect results

Chocolate Pinata Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 

This cake is baked specially for my bf for his birthday. Knowing that he likes basketball, chocolate and cream cheese, I decided to bake a 3-in-1 cake for him! In case you are wondering how to do a Pinata cake - which gives surprise candies/ chocolates when you cut the cake, you can refer to these photos.

Sorry for the lack of illustrations!

1) Bake a cake and slice the cake into 3 layers. Alternatively, you can bake 3 different portions, but I was lazy (This also explains why the cake wasn't very straight).

2) Stack one on top of another with cream cheese frosting spread in between.

3) Cut a hole for the bottom 2 layers, and fill it up with desired candies or chocolates, cover it with the top layer.

4) Finish frosting the cake and when you cut the cake open, TADAH!!! Loads of mini surprises inside the cake.

Bf had a lovely surprise when he cuts open the cake!!!

Strawberry Cheesecake Cups

I used fresh strawberries for the cheesecake mixture and decided to make two different portions - Strawberry and vanilla.

I guess bite-sized cheesecakes are also more fun and easy to eat.

Matcha Cheesecake Tart with Whipped Cream Frosting

I have been making normal-looking cheesecakes all these times (Cheesecake and digestive biscuits in a boring rectangular tin). 

And after baking a huge fruit tart, I was inspired to make this Matcha cheesecake in the shape of a tart. Only difference is that the tart base is made of digestive biscuits and melted butter (Just like in most cheesecake recipes), rather than a shortbread crust. 

Cross-section of the cheesecake.

Decided to play a little with dual colours again, and I made two flavours - Matcha and Vanilla to give the colour tone effect. Will be reducing the matcha powder on top of the cake though - it's really too bitter :/

Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Cream Rosette Frosting Topped with Fresh Strawberries 

Each and every time I browse through cake photos and see rosette piping techniques on cakes, I always tell myself that I gotta try it some day. And so I did a turquoise ombre rosette cake topped with strawberries. (It's quite embarrassing, as I underestimated the ingredients and there wasn't enough frosting to frost the whole cake)

Still glad that it turned out looking decent, and the colours resembled the mint green instead of a light sky blue. Love it!

Only regret is that the buttercream wasn't as smooth as I wanted it to be. 

Mille Crepe Cake

Cooking crepes are quite a tedious job as you would have to flip and turn over 20 pieces of crepe. And also to be extra careful not to torn the delicate piece apart.

I've always loved eating crepes but I never thought of making one myself! And maybe now I wouldn't have to be so desperate looking for a crepe stall anymore. 

The crepe tasted quite sweet, just as I like. But I realized that it didn't have a very light texture and it was a little hard to cut the cake. (Maybe my worries of breaking the crepe apart were redundant after all)

I haven't quite figured out what was the problem yet though.

But I might remake it some day and top it with my favourite whip cream, chocolate sauce, strawberries and banana! 

Mixed Fruit Tart

One of the more beautiful creations I have. 

But I got to give credit to the colourful fruits, and maybe a little to my decorating skills? It's not perfect yet though. And my shaky hands broke the crust a little while I was removing it from the tin ): 

Strawberries, blueberries, peach and kiwi are the most common fruits to fruit tarts and it really adds much colours to it! Especially because the colours are so contrasting to one another.

I haven't had any advanced plans to the decorating side, but I admit that it was the best part of baking fruit tarts. Such a long process though. Especially for the waiting time to cool everything, including the custard cream. For those who don't really fancy custard cream, you can consider cream cheese! I had an equal vote on both! I personally prefer the custard, but cream cheese works really well on the peach!

Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips

It might be one of the easiest recipes to follow, given that there is no requirement of mixers, just mix the dry and wet ingredients separately, then fold the ingredients together, and be careful not to overmix. 

But in fact, it's not easy to get the right texture and consistency as any over-mixing would ruin the muffins. 

And say HELLO to my new KENWOOD Stand Mixer! Check out that beautiful machine there~ It looks so awesome! I was so ecstatic the moment it was delivered to my place. Guess what I love about it?

1) It has 6 turbo speeds, including a minimum speed (which means really super slow mixing to get the ingredients together), and in between every speed (e.g. 2-3), you can adjust the speed gradually. It's not like the rigid speed 1, speed 2 and so on. 

2) There are 3 attachments included - K-beater, whisk and dough hook. Gone are those days where I have to depend on the 2 small whisks to whisk up my batter or cream. 

3) It might seem insignificant to some, but the cover lid makes a huge difference to my baking experience. No more sugar or powder or cream "flying out" of the mixing bowl. Everything is now kept within the bowl and I can just pour in stuff from the small opening at the side.

4) And there's probably quite a few more benefits but these are the top few, and of course, great things are worth the money!

If you're interested, this is the KENWOOD Cher Premier KMC570. Be prepared to spend about $500+ if you are getting this. 

Meringue Cookies

Whipping the egg whites are now much easier, faster and almost effortless. Only thing that I might want to be concern with is the time. I haven't quite got there yet, but it's a huge difference from what I usually get from the old mixers. 

At least it looks so smooth, velvety and glossy. I just wasn't sure when to hit the stiff peaks. And I'm still practicing to get there. 

Do you like the paddlepop rainbow colours of my meringues? 

Angel Cake

Angel cake might be the name for this cake because of the less sinful ingredients - egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract and cake flour. 

As you can see, there's no butter. No wonder it's called the Angel Cake haha. 

The texture came out a little like bread, but my mum asked me to make this for her in the future as it's less fattening and therefore more healthy. If you're interested in making this cake, I think the key factor is the texture of the egg whites! 

Rainbow Cupcakes with Lychee Buttercream Frosting

If you did take notice, I'm one who likes playing with different colours and decorations. Rainbow cake can be a rather tedious job, so I decided to start off with rainbow cupcakes instead. Turns out it's also quite tiring because I have to separate my batter into 5 bowls and add colouring to it. It's not easy to get the correct colour on first try, as it might be too light or too dark. And then you might worry over-mixing your batter. 

It's not necessary to use piping bags, you can just a spoon, but the levelling might not be so nice. 

This was my first attempt, I loved the pastel colours, but I decided to be a little more bold and I took on a second try. This time, I explored with more piping techniques for the frosting as well. Which are your favourite ones?

A pleasant surprise when you cut open the cupcake!

Hope you enjoy the little introduction to my bakes! 

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