Archive | November, 2013

Braided egg buns

30 Nov

I’d say this is the best bread I have made so far! When they came out from the oven, they were nice and soft with perfect bright brown color, just like those you buy from a bakery. I was so proud of myself ­čśÇ

The original recipe calls for 2 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast, but I used the same amount of normal yeast and activate them in the warm milk for 15 minutes. It took quite a long time to get the dough rise, should use more next time.

Adopted from Anna Olson

┬ż cup milk, heat up to about 60┬░C
2 ┬╝ tsp dry yeast (try 3 tsp)
┬╝ cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
┬╝ cup vegetable oil
3 ┬╝ cups high grade flour
┬Ż tsp salt
1 egg yolk whisked with 2 Tbsp milk, for brushing
sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds for sprinkling

  1. Add the yeast and sugar in the warm milk to activate the yeast for 15 minutes.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Combine the dough until it comes together, about 3 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes*.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, roll into a log and cut into 12 equal pieces. To create the braided buns, cut each piece of dough in half and roll out each half into a thin rope about 12-inches long. Place one rope of dough over the second, creating a cross. Bring the ends of the bottom (vertical) rope over the top rope, crossing over completely. Repeat this with the horizontal piece of dough and continue crossing the ropes over until you reach then ends of the dough (the bun will be about 4-inches long). Tuck in the end pieces and place the bun on a parchment-lined baking tray. Repeat with the remaining buns, spacing them at least 2-inches apart on the tray. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and let the buns rise for about 45 minutes*, until almost doubled in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 175°C and brush the buns with the egg wash. Sprinkle the buns with sesame seeds and /or poppy seeds and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a rich golden brown.

* This is the time indicated in the original recipe, but it is just a guide. Fermentation and proofing really depends on the temperature. For me, I spent two and half hours on fermentation and one hour on proofing. That it, bread making is all about patience!

Before: braided egg buns

Before: braided egg buns

After: braided egg buns

After: braided egg buns

Richard’s soccer cake

23 Nov

I have made a soccer theme cake again! But this time it was in a larger scale. The story was Richard at my work is retiring, so the office manage approached me to see if I was interested in making a cake for his farewell party. Surely I was up for the challenge. Richard’s favorite soccer team is Manchester United. Therefore they wanted me to make a soccer field cake with a soccer ball and a soccer team on top. The soccer team was stored bought – non eatable.

I have spent a lot of time on this cake, especially the painted MU logo. I was relieved when I finally put everything together. It was a three-layer chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache, covered with fondant. The logo, soccer ball and T-shirt were made of fondant. The soccer field was piped by royal icing. His name was made of chocolate. This cake was many firsts for me: my first big scale cake (350mm x 240mm); my first cake was eaten by 50 people, my first cake was created on demand.

In the farewell party I received many thanks from the manager and Richard’s wife, what an honour! It was the best reward to see the joy on their faces. ­čÖé

Richard's soccer cake

Richard’s soccer cake

Manchester United logo

Manchester United logo

T-shirt and soccer ball

T-shirt and soccer ball

Italian Pine Nut Cake

11 Nov

The reason I like this cake is because it is easy to make, tasty and dairy free (perfect for me as I am lactose intolerant)!

From Anna Olson

Ôůö cup caster sugar
Ôůö cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg white
┬Ż cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsps finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ┬╝ cups all-purpose flour
┬Ż tsp salt
Ôůô cup lightly toasted pine nuts*
┬╝ cup untoasted pine nuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Whip the caster sugar, brown sugar, eggs and egg white by hand or in a mixer fitted with the whip attachment until pale and doubled in volume. Whisk in the oil, lemon zest and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt. Add this to the egg mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the toasted pine nuts and scrape the batter into the prepared pam. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the untoasted pine nuts and bake for about 40 minutes, until the top of the cake is a rich golden brown, with slightly darker golden edges. Cool the cake in the pan before turning out to serve.
  4. * To toast pine nuts, spread them on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake them for 10 minutes in a 175°C oven. Cool before using.

IMG_6761 IMG_6780

Dog theme cupcakes

3 Nov

My colleague Rachel has recently owned a Leonberger dog. This is a giant dog breed. Her dog is just a puppy at the moment but it is a huge and cute puppy – brown coat, big ears and dark face. ­čÖé Rachel was going to a Leonberger party so she asked me to make her some cupcakes. She suggested me making dog paws and dog bones, but I decided to bring it to the next level – make some Leonberger dog faces! I have made 24 chocolate cupcakes covered with chocolate ganache and fondant. Rachel loved the cupcakes especially the dog faces!

This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe, very easy and delicious.

Chocolate Cake (makes 1 big cake or 20 cupcakes)

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • ┬á2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup hot coffee
  1. Preheat oven to 175┬░C.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add eggs, oil, milk and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until combined.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add hot coffee and mix together.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan or cupcake liners bake until the inserted skewer comes out clean. Batter will be very liquid.
  6. Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Dog theme cupcakes

Dog theme cupcakes

Bones on the cakes

Bones on the cakes

Leonberger cupcake

Leonberger cupcake