Last Month’s Baking (August)

NO more excuses. I haven’t had any new posts for the longest time and the procrastination has just got to stop. I figured I’d write a post that summarized the baking I did last month (August).. and yes, before this month ends. Ok, I give up. I do have excuses. Work. Stress. Laziness. And new projects. Ahh, I got you there, didn’t I? I have been working on a new project with a friend recently and of course a post on that will come a little later. You will see what I have been up to this whole month. Pretty exciting stuff. Just wait!

But for now.. this baking post! I actually made different types of goodies last month. Though I have my project on finding the best cupcake recipes, I still made sure to try out new recipes and experiment.

1. Red Velvet Cake
Made this for the newly weds of the family, my brother and my sister-in-law, Jaymee. Check out my post about the food from the reception and watch the cutest wedding video ever! For the cake, I wanted to make red velvet since it’s Jaymee’s favorite. I wanted to make it extra special since it was my wedding gift to them. After finding this recipe, I stumbled upon another blog that gave me the cutest idea: using stencils to put letters on the cake (oddly enough, the same initials). And fortunately, I had just those! Stencils, which I bought a while back at MUJI. I was given the perfect opportunity to use them. Soo as you can see, it wasn’t perfect but I do consider it a labor of love, literally since it is heart-shaped. Carving the cake to the shape of a heart wasn’t as bad as I expected. Crumb coating though, was somewhat tricky. The crumbs need to be fine, I wish I had a food processor (still saving up for this). And sticking it on the frosted cake is just a whole other challenge I’ve never encountered. Taste wise, people said this wasn’t too sweet but it did dry out after a couple of days in the fridge. Maybe more frosting would have been better, I do tend to skimp on frosting..

2. Mango Bread
I’ve made this several times before but have never blogged about it. We harvest our own mangoes here in the province and so I started looking for ways to use them in baking. I’ve also made mango muffins before but I particularly like making mango bread more. I always spice up this recipe by adding dried fruits (mangoes or pineapple) and just reduce the sugar by a bit. I learned my lesson to soak the dried fruits in warm water before mixing it in the batter to avoid having to bite into hard chewy chunks in the bread. I also use half whole wheat flour, half all purpose and that is why the color tends to be browner. People always ask about the color, how it turns out having that caramel color for a finish, and that is the secret! Plus, I think whole wheat flour adds a natural nuttiness to the overall flavor.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
If you guys were already readers of my blog from the beginning, you might remember that I already made something similar.. Pretty much the only difference with this one is the crust. With the cheesecake I made before, the crust is made with the same cookie dough found inside the cheesecake. These cheesecake bars are made with a graham cracker crust mixed with tiny chocolate chips. Cookie dough lovers are going to love these bars since each slice pretty much is cut with one ball of dough right smack in the center. That inside a cheesecake.. I mean, I just don’t know if I need to say more.

4. Cupcakes
Experimented with filled cupcakes. Made my own concoction for chocolate creme filling made with dark chocolate ganache and eggs to make somewhat of a pudding like consistency. Also played around with the chocolate cream cheese frosting.. I am actually somewhat depressed I didn’t take notes when I experimented with this one because it was just velvety smooth chocolatey goodness all found in this frosting. As for the lemon filling, I used the same old lemon curd for the lemon cupcakes.

Results? Dark chocolate: chocolate flavor was definitely there. Experimented whether use of cake flour made a big difference on texture. Not really. Save up and use regular all purpose if the recipe doesn’t specifically call for the use of cake flour. Tops cracked a bit but soon discovered it is because our oven needs to be calibrated, lucky me. Vanilla: filled it with the same chocolate filling. This had a dense texture which I didn’t particularly like along with the eggy taste that I got.. Tasted more like a yellow cake, which might not be necessarily bad but it wasn’t the vanilla cupcake taste I was looking for. Lemon: better texture than the first ones I made. Still dense but lighter. Lemon flavor was undeniably detectable, of course with the help of the tangy delicious curd. Again, if I could eat lemon curd everyday, I think I would. 🙂

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