Apr 27, 2009

Lilikoi cheesecake

This month's challenge for Daring Bakers is Abbey's Infamous cheesecake. I love cheesecakes and for once I did not procrastinate on my baking. I made this cheesecake for my sweetheart's 30th birthday. He loves lilikoi (passion fruit), so I decided to make a lilikoi flavored cheesecake topped with some lilikoi sauce. Instead of using a graham cracker crust, I used a shortbread crust.

We shared the cheesecake with friends at a birthday dinner, and a friend exclaimed, "I want to marry this cheesecake". heehee =P I thought this cheesecake was very delicious, very creamy and not too heavy...but I have to say my heart and taste buds are still with the Mascarpone cheesecake.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. Here's the recipe.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake
makes one 8" cheesecake
total time:

For the crust:
125g butter
40g sugar
150g flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Mix the flour and sugar together. Using fingertips or a pastry blender, work butter in the flour mixture until coarse meals form.

3. Lightly work mixture to form a dough. Press the dough into the bottom of a 8 inch springform pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
½ cup of passion fruit puree

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla and passion fruit puree and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Passion Fruit Sauce
from Diana's desserts

1/4 cup water
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup passion fruit pulp
Juice of 1/4 lemons

1. Boil water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add passion fruit and lemon juice and boil for a further 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Serve cooled sauce over slices of cheesecake.

  • To prevent cracks, make sure your of your ingredients are room temperature. Cheesecakes tend to crack when you over beat the mixture. Another reason for cracked cheesecakes is when they're overcooked.

Apr 24, 2009

Streusel creamy bread

I need to bake! This has been such a weird week for me...I feel all out of whack and the only time I feel semi-normal is when I'm baking. I've baked almost everyday this week, and until I'm in sync again, I will probably keep baking to keep my sanity. Is this strange?

Since I have been making so many cakes lately, I wanted to make bread. I found this recipe for creamy bread from Grace's kitchen corner, a wonderful blog that I read all the time. She really liked the bread, so I knew I had to make it too.

Results?? This bread is so good...so good!! The bread is soft and full of flavor and the streusel topping just puts it over the top. It's a really delicious bread, you really really have to try it! Here's the recipe.

Creamy bread
adapted from Grace's kitchen corner
total time: 3 hours

200g bread flour
30g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
18g egg yolk (about 1 extra large egg yolk)
3g yeast
100g half and half (see note)
40g milk
15g butter, room temperature (see note)

Streusel topping: (see note)
15g powdered sugar
25g all purpose flour
2.5g milk powder
20g cold butter

1. Mix bread flour, sugar and salt together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Combine the half and half and the milk and heat until it's warm (about 25 seconds in the microwave). Add the yeast to the milk mixture and allow to rest until foamy, about 5 minutes. Combine the flour mixture with the milk mixture and knead until no longer sticky. Smear the butter into the dough and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

2. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling wrap to proof for 80 minutes.

3. While waiting for the dough, mix the ingredients for the streusel topping with finger tips until the texture is crumbly. Set aside.

4. Take the risen dough out of the bowl and gently flatten the dough into a rectangle. Roll the dough to out to a 6" by 12" rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 12 equal strips (appx 1" by 6").

5. Take three of the strips and braid them together. Continue with the rest of the strips. Seal the ends together by pinching the three strips together. Cover the braids with plastic wrap and allow to rest for another 30 minutes. (see note)

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

7. Brush some egg wash on the dough and sprinkle the streusel topping on the dough. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden brown

  • The original recipe uses heavy cream, I substituted it with half and half because that's all I had at the time.
  • The original recipe calls for 20g of butter, I only used 15g.
  • The original recipe made way too much streusel topping, I only used about half. The above recipe is a half portion of the original recipe.
  • The original recipe makes two larger rolls. I decided to make four smaller rolls. The original recipe also tells you to divide the dough into six equal pieces, shape them into balls, and then roll them into strips. I always have a hard time rolling strips, so I use the above method. Hope it works for you too! =P

Apr 22, 2009

Chocolate cupcakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

Today is Administrative Professionals' day. I wanted to show my appreciation for the two wonderful assistants who work at my office, so I baked up some chocolate cupcakes for them. I used an old fashion chocolate cupcake recipe that I found at Chockylit's cupcake blog. Instead of using vanilla buttercream, I decided to make a peanut butter frosting and found this recipe on All recipes that everyone was raving about...over 300 people can't be wrong, right?!

The result is a yummy cupcake that's light in texture, but oh so rich in chocolate flavor!! I'm so very very happy with the chocolate cupcake itself. I'm not usually a frosting girl, but the peanut butter frosting was actually very good. I had to stop myself from "testing" the frosting too many times. It's rich with peanut butter flavor, not too sweet, and it's nice and fluffy. Try it now!! Here are the recipes.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes

from Chockylit's cupcake blog
makes 14 regular cupcakes
total time: 40 minutes

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.

4. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine.

5. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine

6. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.

7. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full (see note). Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Fluffy peanut butter frosting
from All recipes.com
enough to frost 12 cupcakes (see note)
total time: 15 minutes

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

  • A few tips from Chockylit, these cupcakes bake up flat. Take care not to overfill these cupcakes (not more than 2/3 full) because they will sink if there's no room for them to expand.
  • The original recipe for the frosting is doubled. I halved the recipe because I didn't want any leftover frosting...it would be too tempting.

Apr 11, 2009

Strawberry Mascarpone Cake

I had a lot of mascarpone left over from making the Tiramisu and did a search in my folder of recipes. I found this recipe for a Strawberry Mascarpone Cake from Rabbit sims that I bookmarked a loooong time ago. I'm so glad I found this because I had forgotten all about it.

I really really love the sponge cake in this recipe. I will now use this in all of my future cakes. I love the texture of this cake, it's really soft and taste so yummy!

As for the strawberry mascarpone part, eh..it's so so. Before putting in the refrigerator to set, I tasted the cream and thought it was delicious and very creamy. But after refrigeration, I thought it got kinda grainy. I think it's because of the gelatin, so I'm going to omit the gelatin for the next time or at least reduce it by at least half. Here's the recipe.

Strawberry Mascarpone Cake
adapted from Rabbit Sims
makes one 7" cake
total time: 2 hours

1 1/2 lbs fresh strawberries, cut some in halves, and the rest in cubes
250 ml Whipping cream
20g Dark chocolate
one 7" Vanilla chiffon cake (recipe below)
250 g mascarpone
6 tbsp icing sugar
3g of gelatin powder (see note)

1. First prepare the cheese filling: Whip the cream until stiff peaks are formed. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Sprinkle the gelatin in 3 tbsp of cold water and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Melt the gelatin in a double boiler or in the microwave for 15 seconds.

3. In a bowl, whisk the mascarpone and icing sugar till sugar is dissolved. Take 3/4 of the whipped cream and fold into the cheese mixture. Then fold in gelatin and strawberries cubes. Chill the cream in the refrigerator.

4. Line the cake tin with parchment paper. Take the baked chiffon cake and slice the cake in half. Place one of the cake slices on the bottom of a 7" springform pan.

5. To decorate the side of the cake, line the side of the pan with strawberries which were cut in half. Pour in the mascarpone mixture and top with the other piece of chiffon cake. Press slightly to remove air pockets.

6. Spread the remainder of the whipped cream on top. Smooth with a palette knife.

7. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and using a spoon drizzle over the cake to decorate. Chill in the fridge till set.

Chiffon cake
makes an 8" cake (see note)

50g milk
40g sugar
40g vegetable oil

80g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites
40g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat the oven to 338 degrees.

2. Combine milk and 40g of sugar. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vegetable oil and whisk until emulsified. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until completely combined.

3. Sift the flour and the baking powder together and fold into the egg yolk mixture.

4. In an oil free and water free bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the egg whites. Add the sugar in three batches and continue to beat until stiff peaks are formed.

5. Take a third of the beaten egg whites and fold into the egg yolk batter to loosen it. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites in two increments.

6. Pour into an ungreased 8" cake tin. Bake the cake until a toothpick or thin skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.

  • The recipe for the chiffon cake makes an 8" cake. The recipe for the Strawberry Mascarpone cake calls for a 7" cake. You can either make the 8" cake and trim the edges to fit in a 7" pan, or you can bake the cake in a 7" pan and bake the rest of the batter in another pan (muffin tin?).
  • As I said above, I think it would be best to reduce the amount of gelatin or omit it all together. I haven't experimented with a smaller amount of gelatin, so I can't give you an exact number.

Apr 5, 2009

Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Charlotte

My friend from college just came to visit me recently and we did a drive around the island. On our way home from the very yummy Giovanni's shrimp truck, we stopped by the cutest fruit stand. The lady there is so nice, and she had so many different exotic fruits. I bought some lilikois (passion fruit), some guavas, and this unusual fruit that she described as a creamy apple.

I can't for the life of me remember what she called this "apple", but it was delicious. I would not call it an apple, because it does not resemble an apple at all. It has a semi hard skin, that's about 1/4 inch thick and it's green. On the inside, there are these soft white wedges with black seeds. It is very creamy and has a very mild sweet flavor. It kinda reminds me of a mangosteen. Any idea what I'm talking about? I will have to hunt down this fruit again and take a picture.

Anyway...because of these lilikois that I have, I decided to make a lilikoi charlotte for my friend's husband's birthday. I have never attempted to make a charlotte (also known as charlotte russe) before and did quite a bit of research before proceeding. Before I started baking, I thought charlotte russe is the name of the clothing store...heehee. What I found out is, charlotte russe is a dessert that is lined with ladyfingers on the outside and a bavarian cream on the inside.

My take on the charlotte is not a bavarian cream, but a lilikoi mousse. I didn't get to taste the cake as a whole, as it was a gift. But I did try the components and I was happy with the results. I found the recipe for the ladyfingers at Bonbini. I love how she made her ladyfingers slanted, I thought it was so pretty, so I borrowed the idea! Here are the recipes.

Lilikoi (Passion fruit) Charlotte
adapted from Bonbini
makes one 7" cake
total time: 2 1/2 hours

for the ladyfingers:
4 yolks
1 1/2 oz. sugar
4 egg whites
2 1/4 oz. sugar
3 oz. cake flour, sifted
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Whip the egg yolks and 1 1/2 oz of the sugar until it is thick and pale yellow. Set aside.

3. Whip the egg whites and 2 1/4 oz of the sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. Fold 1/4 of egg whites into the egg yolk mixture to lighten the batter. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites in two increments.

5. Sift in the flour and fold until just combined.

6. Fill the batter into the pastry bag with # 4 plain tip, pipe approximately 24 three inch long ladyfingers. Also pipe a spiral into a circle that's approximately 6 1/2 inches in diameter, this will be used to line the bottom of the cake.

7. Lightly dust them with powdered sugar bake for 8-10 minutes. You can tell that they're finished when they're golden in color. Also if you press lightly on the ladyfingers, they should spring back instead of leaving an indentation.

For the lilikoi mousse, refer to this recipe.

1. Line a 7" springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Take out enough ladyfingers to fit your pan (I used about 15 ladyfingers for a 7" pan). Trim the bottom edges of the lady fingers for a smooth edge. Line the edges of the pan with the ladyfingers. Place the spiral cake on the bottom of the pan.

3. Fill the cake with lilikoi mousse and decorate as you please.

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