Archive | October, 2013

Zucchini loaf with orange and raisins

27 Oct

Veggie cake – what a great way to be healthy (kidding :P)! It actually is an excuse to bake a cake. Adapted from Anna Olson’s recipe, but I added raisins instead of chocolate chips. Because the raisins have some natural sweetness, I reduced the amount of sugar. The cake turned out really well – perfectly sweet and moist. Zucchini added a wonderful color into the cake.

My version:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups loosely packed, coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup raisins, or more to your taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease a loaf pan with parchment paper so that it comes up the sides.
  2. Whisk the oil, eggs, sugar, zest and vanilla together in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the zucchini to coat it with the flour and add this to the wet mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in the raisins and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the loaf for 50 to 60 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan until turning out to slice.
Zucchini loaf with orange and raisins

Zucchini loaf with orange and raisins

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Tiger cake

13 Oct

It is Samuel’s birthday again, where has the time gone?! Last year I made him the airplane cake, this year I made him a tiger cake since I just learned the animal cake a couple weeks ago. However I didn’t plan it well. I just went along what I felt like. This is a lesson to be learned – always draw out a cake design first! I am not really happy with the mouth, it looks odd. 😦

I swear I remembered the instructor in the Planet Cake class said the chocolate ganache ratio is 1 part chocolate and 2 parts cream. As a result my chocolate ganache was very runny. I added more and more chocolate, it did thicken up but it was still not the right consistency. After the cake was completed, I determined to find out the recipe so I Googled it. I have found the ratio should be 2 parts chocolate and 1 part cream, what a huge mistake!

Well, I still have a lot to learn. Although this is not my best cake ever, I am posting here to keep me motivated. Watch this space. 🙂

Tiger cake

Tiger cake

Pumpkin pie

6 Oct

I have never eaten or made a pumpkin pie before, so I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to bake one. It turned out good. The pastry is crispy and the filling has just enough sweetness and with a hint of spice. Please check out Anna Olson’s recipe here.

I believe pumpkin pie is popular in US and Canada. It is a featured desert for Halloween. For me it is a perfect desert to say good-bye to winter and embrace a warm spring in NZ. 🙂

Anna Olson's Pumpkin Pie

Anna Olson’s Pumpkin Pie

Planet Cake course – Novelty 101

1 Oct

I have watched the Planet Cake tv show before, their art works were amazing. When I learned that Planet Cake course was coming to NZ I didn’t want to miss out this opportunity, so I signed up the Novelty 101 course. Honestly the cost is expensive, but they provided a cake, tools, materials, lunch and everything we need. When I arrived everything was ready to start.

Each student was given an 8 inch square chocolate cake. We needed to crave it into a balloon shape. It was my first time of craving and sculpting a cake, and my cake was crumbly, therefore it was frustrating and messy. The crumbs covered all my work surface and the floor. 😦 At the end I just molded the crumbs together by pressing and squeezing, it did turn out a smooth balloon shape! And then we covered our cake with chocolate ganache. This is a signature technique of Planet Cake. The ganache sets firmly, this is how they achieve their “famous razor sharp edges”. Back to my course, using this balloon shape we can decorate it into different animals. Most students agreed to make a money. We rolled out the fondant, covered and decorating the cake. While craving is tedious, decorating is the fun part because we used our imagination to make our own monkey, each one was different. My monkey wasn’t perfect (the fondant was dry out and tearing off), but I loved it! 🙂

Is the Planet Cake worth of the money? I’d say if you really enjoy learning and cake decorating, yes it is!

Monkey cake - surprise expression

Monkey cake – surprise expression

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