Sunday, November 30, 2008

November 2008 Daring Bakers Challenge #24: CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

I had a feeling that I won't have enough time to make it, this month challenge. I had a lot of doctor appointment (I went to a hospital every week, oh!). But at last, I finally found some time, and I made it (^_^). For this month, the challenge is Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon.

I never make it before so, it's a real challenge for me again. I separated the work into 2 days, first day, I made the cake and next day I made the frosting.

Anyway, I feel a little upset with the result, the cake and the frosting are too sweet for me. So, I write my own version for anyone who doesn't like very sweet cake. The frosting is quite easy to play with but due to a lot of sugar in the frosting it becomes hard after setting for sometime (I think the icing will be great for children party cake, yum.)

The best part is it's fun to make the caramel syrup, I don't have a chance to do it much, so I think this is the thing that I learned from this challenge.

Host of this month : with Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo:, Jenny of Foray into Food (


Makes 1 (9"cake)

10 Tablespoons

unsalted butter at room temperature

1 ¼ Cups

granulated sugar (if you don't like too sweet cake, I suggest using only 1 1/8 cup)

½ teaspoon

kosher salt


Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)


eggs, at room temperature

splash vanilla extract

2 Cups

all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon

baking powder

1 cup

milk, at room temperature

Candied fruit for decoration (you can see how to make candied fruit or flower here

Preheat oven to 350F
Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed.

Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


2 cups


½ cup


1 cup

water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


12 tablespoons

unsalted butter

1 pound

confectioner’s sugar, sifted (you can use only 14oz.-my own version)

4-6 tablespoons

heavy cream

2 teaspoons

vanilla extract

2-4 tablespoons

caramel syrup

Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)


1 Cut the cake into two layers, and spread the butter cream on top of the first layer.

2 Place another layer on top, frost top and side of the cake.

3 Decorate as you like.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Green tea Sponge Cake: Japanese style high tea!

I don't know why I love green tea so much, but a smell of green tea always give me a sense of tranquility. I always try any brand that I get an eye on, even sometimes they turn out to be pantry waste, haha. But how can you resist it, the lightly bitter taste of the green tea is its own charm too. For this time, the green tea sponge that has a clean taste of the green tea (and there are no oil or butter in the ingredients list), make it an ideal treat for a cup of hot green tea. The sponge is sweet and dry but it's a good companion when come with the bitter taste of the tea.
I really like the upper crust of the cake, which has caramel taste (due to the high portion of sugar in the cake).
Well, with this cake and a cup of tea, it's one of the best moment of the day.

Green Tea Sponge Cake
Makes 20x20 cm cake

Egg yolk
Caster sugar
Glucose syrup (or corn syrup)
Hot water
70 g
Cake flour
Green tea powder
Skin milk powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C
Line cake pan with baking paper , set aside.
Sift cake flour, green tea powder and milk powder together, set aside.

Mix hot water with glucose syrup and honey, stir to combine.

Put eggs, egg yolks and sugar into the bowl. Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water.
Beat until very light and puffy.
With the mixer running, gradually pour the honey mixture into the bowl. Beat to combine.
Take the bowl out of the pan.
Pour the flour mixture into the bowl, fold lightly until blend.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 160°C and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Note: you can let the upper crust more brown than mine, but if you don't want the crust to be brown, cover with aluminum foil after baking for 20 minutes.

Green tea Sponge Cake: Japanese style high tea!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Easy Layer Bread: Croissant!

After trying many recipes, I still want to have the easy one. I didn't say that this is the best recipe for croissant (and it's not a traditional recipe, I add the egg in the dough). The ingredients are similar to the danish bread but I shaped the dough into the croissant shape.

This recipe is an adaptation from many cookbooks and my own experience. I found it very easy too make, the rolling process is very easy and don't take too long. Due to the sticky dough, the leakage of the butter is less (but you might have to you a lot of flour to sprinkle the work surface in the first or second roll).

You can use this dough to make danish bread too. So, if you shy away from the laminated dough, start making an acquaintance now. You may find it's not hard to make and open the door to other kinds of laminated dough too.
Note: This bread is not very rich, the percentage of the butter block to flour is only 50 %, but I found it's easy to eat, haha.

Easy Layer Bread: Croissant
Makes 10



Bread flour


Cake Flour


Instant dry yeast










Egg (about 1 egg)


Unsalted butter

Butter Block


Cake flour


Unsalted butter

Egg Wash


Egg yolk

2 tbsp


Put the flours, the sugar and yeast in a bowl, whisk to combine, add and salt whisk again. Pour the egg, milk and water mixture into the bowl.
Use large spoon (or pastry scraper) to mix everything together, and knead briefly to bring all the ingredients together. Add the butter and knead to combine.
The dough will be very sticky.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours (or overnight).

Making the butter block:

Mix the butter together with the flour until smooth.

Shape into a 13cm square and refrigerate until firm.

Take the dough out of the fridge, the dough will be very puffy.

Sprinkle the work surface with flour.

Pull the corners of the dough out to make the dough square-shaped.

Roll the opened dough out to a square slightly thicker in the center than on the sides and slightly larger than the butter block (about 30x 30 cm).

Place the butter block diagonally within the square so there are 4 triangles around the sides. Fold the dough triangles in so they meet in the center. Pinch the edges together to seal in the butter block.

Start by pressing down the dough with the rolling pin before rolling the dough into a rectangle 1.2 cm thick (-this is my method to prevent the leakage if the butter You can see the picture here). Do not roll the dough wider than a sheet pan is long (about 40x30).

Give the dough the first single turns by fold the bottom third of the rectangle up toward the center, carefully aligning the edges. Brush off any flour. Fold the top third down to make a neat square and brush off any flour.

Give the dough another 2 single turns, refrigerating it for approximately 30 minutes between each turn. Be sure the dough is well covered at all times (I cover the dough with the wax paper then put the pan in the plastic bag).

After the last turn, refrigerate the dough for 1 hour before shaping the croissant.

Prepare the pan by lining with baking paper or silpat.

Roll the dough out to square about 55x30 cm. If this is difficult to do, refrigerate the dough for a few minutes to relax the gluten.

Cut the rim of the dough out into 50x25 cm.
Cut the dough into rectangular about 10x25cm/ piece.

Cut the center of the base of the dough and roll the dough into croissant shape. Then place the croissant in the baking pan.

Preheat the oven to 200°C

Making the egg wash:

Mix the yolk with milk, the strain the mixture.

Let the croissant raise until almost double in size (about 1 hour). Brush the croissant with the egg wash before baking.

Bake the croissant until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Then let the croissant cool on the wire rack.

Easy Layer Bread: Croissant!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lemon and Vanilla Pound Cake: Simple delicious treat !

I found one solution in my life, pound cake is the answer when you don't know what to bake, haha. Actually it happened when I baked about 3 batches of chocolate cupcakes (don't ask me which recipe that I use, I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT AGAIN !), and all of them were nightmare. I tried everything which I thought, adjust the heat the flour and then finally I had to accept that this recipe had to put back in the shelf (it's a goodbye time, ^ ^", so sad for me, this book is very lovely).

So, I had to find something to brighten me up after the failure and the pound cake came to my mind. I never had a problem with this kind of cake, it's a foolproof for me.
I choose the simple recipe but add a little twist. The lemon pound cake is my choice but I wanted a lot of fragrance to brighten me up, so here come the vanilla. In the original recipe, there is only the lemon zest that give the cake a lemon fragrance but I add the lemon juice to bring a little tangy taste to the cake.
The simple trick of put the cake bake in the oven after glazing with the icing is great too (I never done it before, haha). The glaze will dry and stick to the cake better.
Well, I might have a lot of recipe testing failure but I have some peace of mind, I know that pound cake never let me down.

Lemon and Vanilla Pound Cake
Makes 18 X 8X 6 cm cake

100 g
Unsalted butter
90 g
Icing sugar
100 g
Cake flour
20 cc
Whipping cream
1 tsp
Lemon juice
Baking powder
A pinch of salt
bean from half pod of vanilla
zest from half of lemon
Apricot glaze
50 g
apricot preserves

Icing glaze
100 g
Icing sugar
10 cc
15 cc

Line the baking paper in the pan, set aside.
Preheat oven to 170°C.

Scrap the beans from the vanilla pod and put them into the sifted icing sugar.
Sift together flour with baking powder, set aside.

Beat together butter and the icing sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and beat to combine. Add egg in thin stream, beating well. Add half of the flour mixture then add the cream and lemon juice milk, beating well.
Add the rest of the flour mixture fold to combine.
Pour batter into prepared pan
Place pan in the oven. Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out with a few crumbs adhering, about 40 minutes.
Take the cake out of the oven and place it on the wire rack until cool completely.

Finishing touch
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Make the Apricot Glaze:

Heat the apricot preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid. Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.
Brush the cake with the glaze, then let the cake dry slightly.

Make the Icing Glaze:

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth.
Brush the cake with the icing, then put the cake on a wire rack that place over the baking sheet.
Put the cake in the oven for 2 minutes.
Take the cake out of the oven and place it on the wire rack until cool completely.

Lemon and Vanilla Pound Cake: Simple delicious treat!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Light Meal Breads: Sausage, Tomato and Cheese Bread

Sometimes large portion of food can be a nightmare, especially when you will have a big dinner (or you already have a big breakfast, haha). This bread can be an answer. I got the recipe from ............... You can see inside of the book, ............. And I must say I fall in love with her books, even they don't contain many recipes (most of them base on the basic recipes), but many of her ideas are great.
I love this kind of bread as you can see that you can use any filling that you like, it looks like a small pizza. The only down side is due to the softness of the bread, this bread can't be kept for too long or the base of the bread will become damp. But I won't believe that these bread will last long as the size is so small, you can eat two pieces without feeling heavy (believe me ^ ^").
You can make this bread and put in your lunch box, and have a light and tasty meal.

Sausage, Tomato and Cheese Bread
Makes 10

200 g
Bread Flour
3 g
Instant dried yeast
20 g
3 g
20 g
Unsalted butter (soft)
140 g
whole milk

Tomatoes (cut into small dice)

Mayonnaise and Ketchup

Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Put the flour, the sugar and yeast in a bowl, whisk to combine, add and salt whisk again. Pour the milk into the bowl.

Use large spoon (or pastry scraper) to mix everything together, and knead briefly to bring all the ingredients together.

Take the dough out of the bowl and knead, you will see the dough will be elastic after about 2 minutes.

Add the butter and knead by using the heel of your hands to compress and push the dough away from you, then fold it back over itself. Give the dough a little turn and repeat. Put the weight of your body into the motion and get into a rhythm. Keep folding over and compressing the dough. Knead for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is soft, pliable, smooth and slightly shiny, almost satiny.

Or you can also try stretching part of the dough, if it can stretch into a thin sheet without breaking, you've kneaded enough.

Put the dough into a light buttered bowl. Let the dough rise in a warm place until double in size (can be 1 hour or 1 hour and a half check often depend on the temperature).
Take the dough out of the bowl, deflate by touch it lightly.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Butter 10 small tart pans (9 cm.).
Divide the dough into 10 pieces , rest for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough into circle 12 cm., and place the dough into the tart pans.
Use your finger to press the dough until the dough is up to the rim of the pan (without shrinking back).

Brush the base of the dough with the ketchup, put the sausage on top and sprinkle with cheese.
Place the diced tomatoes, sprinkle again with cheese.
Squeezes the mayonnaise over the bread.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the breads are golden brown.

Light Meal Breads: Sausage, Tomato and Cheese Bread


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