December 28, 2008

Santa Claus Cake!

Hello! I hope everyone had a very excellent Christmas last week, with lots of food, laughter, and love. Did you get a lot of presents? It snowed in Boston a few days before Xmas come, so the 'white Christmas' was ruined by all the cars making puddles and dirty snow. :( And it became icy too.

I didn't do much, and didn't make this cake until the day after Christmas really. That wasn't laziness, I planned it that way. ^-^

Anyway, this cake has been on my "To-Bake List" forever, since I first saw it here. I was waiting so long for Xmas to come to bake it!

In the demo video, the instruction said to use white chocolate curls for the beard, but I don't have any white chocolate on hand. It would be weird for Santa to have a milk chocolate beard! That's why I used whipped cream for the beard too. It kinda looks like a scruffy beard. ^o^

What's different about this cake (from the regular recipe I use) is that this time I added orange zest to the cake batter, to lighten the flavor up more. It does taste good! I also added a thin layer of chopped milk and dark chocolate on top of the strawberries and cream filling.
Yay! Cake for lunch!! Yum yum!

Someone made a big mess in the kitchen! Booo!

December 24, 2008

Whole Wheat Honey Yogurt Loaf

100% Whole Wheat Bread

I'm so excited! I finally found a recipe that is a soft 100% whole wheat. A bread that is not hard as a brick after a few days! This one is very soft, like store-bought breads, except without all the artificial things.

One thing that I regretted doing the most when baking this bread was the decorative braiding on top. When it came of the oven... it reminded me of hair too much. But when I sliced it, the slices look better! Phew! :) This would be my go-to recipe when I want to bake a whole wheat bread, and a recipe that I'll play with more too.

The recipe below is my adapted recipe from this adapted recipe here. You can experiment, and make changes to get the texture of the bread that you like.

Whole Wheat Honey Yogurt Bread

400g whole wheat flour

1 beaten egg

94g vanilla yogurt (a bit less than 1/2 cup)*

6 oz whole milk (180mL or about 3/4 cup)
40g honey (about... 1/4 cup honey)

1 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

2 tbs vital wheat gluten
(see photo at the end)

(*Note: I used plain European-style yogurt from TJ's, thinking it'd give the bread more flavor from the sourness.)


1. In a very large bowl, combine flour with salt and vital wheat gluten. Mix well, then add in yeast.

2. In another bowl, warm up the milk a bit- warm to the touch, not boiling. Then add in honey, yogurt, and beaten egg. 3. Combine the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well and knead it for about 10-15 minutes. It'll be a sticky dough, but try kneading it. Add the olive oil on top of the dough at this point, and it'll help make the kneading to be easier. Or, you can also add the olive oil to your hand and this will also help you knead easier- less sticky dough.

4. After kneading, put a plastic wrap on top of the bowl (or you can also put the dough in a big oiled container with a lid, like a Tupperware.) Place the dough in the fridge overnight- about 8-12 hours.

5. The next day, take the dough out and let it come to room temperature (About 1 0r 2 hours). Then punch down the dough and spread it out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Give it a business letter fold first, follow by another business letter fold.

6. Oil your loaf pan to make sure it doesn't stick. Then gently shape your dough into an oblong shape and place it in the loaf pan. (Another way of forming the loaf bread is to divide the dough in half and shape each half into a long rolls and place each roll side by side in the loaf pan. When baked, it'll appear to have a slit in the middle.

7. Oil the top of the dough a little and cover with a plastic wrap. Or you can also spray the plastic wrap and place it on top of the dough. Let the dough rise until it goes over the top of the loaf pan a bit. But when the dough has almost risen to the top, preheat the oven to 375F.

8. Boil some water and pour that in a large oven safe pan (up to about 1/3 inch of pan). Place the loaf pan in the larger tray with boiling water and bake for around 35-40 minutes on the middle rack. Remove the tray that is underneath the loaf pan in the last 15 mins of baking. The tray of water is there to create steam, to give the loaf a crusty top. Tent the bread with an aluminum foil if the bread is browning too much.

9. Carefully take bread of oven and let it cool on a cooling rack completely (about 1 hr) before slicing.

Box of Vital Wheat Gluten

I know I lack some photos in the directions, but it is hard taking photos with sticky-doughy hands. I tried to keep one hand clean to take photos, but somehow both hands were sticky with dough and flour in the end.

December 18, 2008

Hurrying = Bad Cake Decorating

This was a birthday cake for my sister back in November. I was busy the whole day and didn't have much time to decorate the cake- no writing name, no candles, no pretty decorations... The peaches were also laid out half-thought through.

Overall, everyone loved it because the inside had a thick layer of durian. I used twice the amount of durian I'd normally use. Yum yum. Well, almost everyone. One of my nephews ran up afterward to put in a request for the next cake: NO durian. ^_^

My only disappointment was that the kiwis I bought did not ripe in time. They were still sour. I wish I had some sweet strawberries like in the summer. Le sigh...

December 17, 2008

Bunny Bread

I made this awhile ago... Being in a hurry, I didn't shape the bunny ears very well.