Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rainbow Cake

Four years ago, I started blogging. I wasn't entirely sure why I did this but I just want to do it...

At first, I wanted to do something to commemorate and remember my yellow-flower-loving mum who passed away due to cancer in 10 years ago. And so, I baked cupcakes with yellow flower theme for Daffodil Day fund raising for my first blog post.

With the Daffodil Day theme in my mind, I baked an bittersweet orange flourless cake to celebrate my first blogging anniversary. At that time, little that I know that my blogging life is getting to be more exciting as I begin to know friends like Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings...

Joyce, Lena and I have been baking a lot together for our bake-along events. Then, I started Cook like a Star and subsequently, Little Thumbs Up with Doreen, from my little favourite DIY. My blooming yellow flower cupcakes and other baking seem to improve tremendously after my second anniversary of blogging.

On my third blogging anniversary, I was facing one of my biggest baking challenge... Egg tarts!!! I never know that these innocent-looking, yellow and simple egg tarts can be so difficult to bake but I never stop trying and eventually conquered this most difficult bake!!!

Four years has passed and interestingly, I'm still baking and blogging... Looking back, I'm extremely glad that I have started blogging. I have learned a lot from baking and cooking and have fed my family very well for all these years. Best of all, I have met many friends in my blogging journey!

Happy anniversary to Bake for Happy Kids!!! 

For my 4th blog anniversary, I like to bake something yellow... or perhaps something more than just yellow.

How about a rainbow cake for me?

rainbow cake
This is my rainbow cake!

Baking this cake reminds me of many feel-good songs, particular this one from the movie, Cool Runnings...

I can see clearly now by Jimmy Cliff in the movie Cool runnings!

Have you hear this lyrics before?

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshinin' day...

I really like the feel-good feeling looking at a spectrum of cheerful colours. It makes me feel like Spring is arriving.


Prior baking, I was deciding between this Martha Stewart recipe originated from a famous blogger, Whisk Kid and this BBC Good Food recipe. As usual, the loving-baking me analyse recipes a lot before baking.

Zoe's food for thoughts:

  • Martha Stewart / Whisk Kid recipe is super impressive but complicated. It requires SIX sticks of butter to make its Swiss Meringue Buttercream - Too much butter! Yuck! 
  • BBC Good Food recipe is straightforward and less complicated but requires 375g of butter to bake the cake and THREE tubs of 250g cream cheese to frost the cake - Too much fat too! Yuck! 
  • I keep telling myself... This is a feel-good cake. So, why not disregard the amount of butter, sugar and artificial colouring used? Just go ahead! Liberate myself and bake this cake! - LOL!
This is how I baked my happy rainbow cake... but of course with some moderation.


This classic white cake recipe uses reserve creaming method like how I made The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes
According to the recipe, the batter will look curdled.
The colourings that I used.
Like what the BBC Good Food recipe said, the colour of the batter is how your cake look, so be brave! :)
After baking...
Cooling my colourful cakes
Making this reduced fat frosting is easy!
Cake stand - checked! Spatula - checked! Frosting - checked!
Assemble everything together - HURRAY!
rainbow cake
I'm seeing a slice of rainbow here!
Mummy, this is super yummy! Thumb up!!!

Our rainbow cake tastes like moist butter cake, but with lots of colour! - LOL! With the light cream cheese frosting that I have used, the overall sweetness and texture is perfect for us!

Boy: Mummy, your cake is not a real rainbow cake! It has only six colours!
Man, staring and counting: Where is the indigo layer?
Boy: You failed!!!

As usual, my eyes rolled and remained speechless!
 

To bake this cake, I have combined the classic white sheet cake recipe adapted from the book, The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book and the rainbow cake recipe adapted from BBC Good Food recipe to form this following recipe.

Makes one 14 cm six layers round cake
(serve 6-8)

For the cake:
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
170g cake flour

150g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
175g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature

edible food colouring - red, orange (yellow + red), yellow, green, blue and purple

Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced. Prepare as many 14 cm round cake tins as you have (up to six) and line the bases and sides with baking paper. - I have two 14 cm round cake tins and baked six cake layers in three rounds.  

Whisk milk, egg whites and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter into the flour mixture until well combined like moist creamy mixture. 


Decrease mixer speed to medium-low. While beating, add in all milk mixture but gradually with 2-3 tablespoonful at a time. Beat until combined and the batter looks slightly curdled.

Weigh batter first to work out the total weight (Mine is about 630g). Then, weigh out exactly six equal portions of the mixture in six separate mixing bowls (Mine is about 105g each portion). Stir in each food colouring into each bowl of mixture. The colour of the batter is going to be quite similar to the finished cake. Like what BBC Good Food recipe said, be brave!!!

Scrape the coloured batter into the prepared pan. Spread and smoothen the top, and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake at 180°C or 160°C fan forced for 12 mins or until a inserted skewer comes out clean.

Transfer cakes onto wire racks and allow them to cool completely. Clean baking tins and repeat to prepare the tins and bake the other coloured batters accordingly.

For frosting:

350g cream cheese, 30% fat reduced, 22g fat per 100g
120g icing sugar

Using an electric whisk, beat cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy. Please do not over-beat the mixture as mixture might split.

To assemble:

Place 4 strips of baking paper surrounding the edges of a cake stand or a plate. Start by placing the purple cake onto the cake stand or plate. Spread 2-3 tbsp of cream cheese frosting evenly on the cake and right to its edge. Place the blue cake on top of the purple cake and repeat to spread icing on the blue cake.

Repeat layering of cakes and spreading of frosting with the rest of the green, yellow, orange and red cakes. Spread the remaining icing thickly all over the sides and top of the cake. Happy now that you have your rainbow cake? Wait till you slice and serve!

Note: To avoid baking with too much butter and cream cheese, baking a small 14 cm cake is my best option. If you need to bake a 20cm cake to serve 10-12, all you have to do is to double the amount of this recipe. Simple!
You might also wish to consider using the cake recipe from Martha Stewart / Whisk Kid as their 20 cm cake requires only 250g butter. Honestly, I reckon that this classic white cake from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book is pretty good!

Happy Baking


This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe at this post.

 

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is FLOUR for August 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st August 2014.

If you are wondering what kind of flour you can use to participate this event, please check out this message from Diana...

"Flour is an essential ingredient in my (and I am sure, many of your) kitchen. It is the base of pastas and noodles, cakes and biscuits, or even as thickening agents in the making of a roux. The list of food items made using flour is endless. As such, we will be limiting the theme to mainly Wheat Flour, namely:
  • All-Purpose (also known as Plain) Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Cake Flour
  • Self-raising Flour
  • Pastry Flour
  • Wholemeal Flour
  • Hong Kong (also known as Waterlily) Flour
  • Superlite Flour
  • Top Flour
You must use one of these flours in its raw form in your recipe and you must use at least 1 tablespoon or 10g of these flours in your cooking /baking.

What after August 2014? Kit from I-Lost in Austen will be the next hostess of September 2014 and her theme is APPLE! Her Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday of August 2014 (2nd Sep) until the last day of the month.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe. For more details, please see this.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Taste of Spring: Asparagus and Spring Onion Tart (Gordon Ramsay)

It is late August now and also the end of our down-under winter. We just had two beautiful mild sunny days on the last Friday and Saturday. I'm seeing kids running in their tees and shorts and flowers are blooming everywhere. I can't wait for Spring and Summer to arrive...

The arrival of Spring is often seen with lots of Asian greens, artichoke, snow peas, spring onions and asparagus in our local market. When I saw this asparagus and spring onion tart recipe from the book, Gordon Ramsay's Great British Pub Food, I know that this vegetarian tart is perfect to eat at this current season.

Vegetarian tart!? Fully loaded with greens!? Knowing me and my family, I know that this is clearly the kind of food that I always like but not exactly sure how my meat-loving husband and fussy son will react having this very green tart for our dinner. Finger-crossed...


asparagus and spring onion gruyere cheese tart Gordon Ramsay
Asparagus and Spring Onion Tart (Gordon Ramsay)
Yippee! I can link this post too to Little Thumb Up with Flour theme!
Seeing greens!!! Exactly! This is the taste of Spring!
No wastage! I used the green part of the onions to cook this...
... and saved the roots to grow more spring onions.
My Aussie friends laughed at me whenever I said that I peeled the lower part of asparagus. Don't laugh! I'm doing this under the instructions of Gordon Ramsay! - LOL!
The pastry contains no eggs at all and can be quite fragile to handle.
The inside became flaky after part of the pastry stick on the baking paper after removing it.
Assembling the tart...
... is like making a quiche mixture.
The assembling continues and bake...
The cheesy mixture puffed up when it is freshly baked and shrunk when it cooled...
Ops! See how crumbly this pastry is... This piece went into my mouth :p No wastage!
Every slice of this is delicious!

I'm very happy and surprised that my husband and son were enjoying this tart very much. The recipe says that it serves 6 but the three of us finished this tart all in one meal. Aren't we ferocious?... LOL!

To my surprise, I didn't hear any complains and comments like "where is the meat?", "too much vege for me!", "I don't this" or "I don't like that". Everyone was happy. The tart pastry (without any egg) is very short... melting in our mouth and being so delicious but I find it a little too crumbly to handle. Apart from the pastry, assembling and baking this tart is super easy. Despite that the tart is over-loaded with greens, it is very well-balanced with cheese and eggs with minimal seasonings, maximizing the taste and beauty of Spring.

After enjoying this delicious meal, my son and I were excited watching the spring onion roots growing and saw this happened on the next day... My husband had transplanted these into pots. Finger-crossed...

Our Spring-ing spring onions :D

Here's the recipe from the book, Gordon Ramsay's Great British Pub Food or here
(with my modification in blue)

For the short crust pastry:
200g plain flour plus extra for dusting
1/4 tsp salt
100 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
egg white from 1 egg (to glaze)

For the filling:
1 bunch spring onions (trimmed)
50 g butter
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
salt to taste
250ml pouring cream (35% fat)
100g cheese, grated (I used 125g Gruyère)
350g asparagus spears (trimmed and lower parts of stalks peeled)
(I used 2 bunches of baby asparagus)

To make the pastry:

Put flour and salt into a bowl, add chopped butter and rub in until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add 3 tbsp of ice cold water and mix with a butter knife until the dough just comes together.

If it seems too dry, add a little extra water, but try not to make dough too wet. Lightly knead into a smooth ball, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 mins before rolling out.

Roll out onto a lightly floured surface to a large round, to the thickness of 1 pound coin / 5mm. Use to line 23-24 cm round tart tin (or 11.5 x 34 x 2.5cm loose-based fluted tart pan) leaving a little excess overhanging the rim. Chill again for at least 30 mins.

Heat the oven to 200°C / 180°C fan forced. Line the tart case with baking paper and dried or ceramic baking beans and bake blind for 15 mins. Remove the paper and beans and bake for further 5 mins. Leave to cool slightly, then trim off the excess pastry around the rim. Brush the inside of the tart case with egg white to glaze. Leave to cool while prepare the filling. Reduce the oven setting to 180°C / 160°C fan forced. 

To make the filling:

Slice the spring onions on the diagonal. Melt the butter in a pan, add the spring onions with salt and pepper to season and cook gently over medium heat until soft but not browned. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

Blanch the asparagus in a pan of boiling water for 2 to 3 mins; they should still retain a bite.

Drain and refresh under cold running water, then drain well. Cut the asparagus spears in half lengthwise - I didn't have to do that because I used baby asparagus.

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and cream together in a bowl. Reserve a good handful of cheese for sprinkling, and the rest of the cheese to the creamy mixture and season well with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Sprinkle half the remaining cheese (I used just a small handful as I like most of it to be on top) in a thin layer over the pastry base and scatter over the spring onions. Arrange the asparagus on top, then carefully pour on the creamy mixture to just below the rim of the pastry. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 35 to 45 mins or until the filling is set and golden - I baked mine for 40 mins. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before unmoulding.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Happy Baking

This post is linked to Cook like a Star (Gordon Ramsay) organised by me, Bake for Happy Kids, Yen from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake


Wanna cook or bake like Gordon Ramsay? To join, simply cook or bake his recipes from websites like LifeStyle FoodBBC GoodFood and Channel 4, or his cookbooks and link with us at this Zoe's, this Yen's or this Mich's post for the whole of Aug 2014.

To use this linky tool, please make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post. (2) Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to us at Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Yen from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake Cheers! For more details, please see this.

Here are my blogging friends that have joined me cooking for this event. Please visit their blogs for more of their 5-stars cooking.

This post is also linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe at this post.

 

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is FLOUR for August 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st August 2014.

If you are wondering what kind of flour you can use to participate this event, please check out this message from Diana...

"Flour is an essential ingredient in my (and I am sure, many of your) kitchen. It is the base of pastas and noodles, cakes and biscuits, or even as thickening agents in the making of a roux. The list of food items made using flour is endless. As such, we will be limiting the theme to mainly Wheat Flour, namely:
  • All-Purpose (also known as Plain) Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Cake Flour
  • Self-raising Flour
  • Pastry Flour
  • Wholemeal Flour
  • Hong Kong (also known as Waterlily) Flour
  • Superlite Flour
  • Top Flour
You must use one of these flours in its raw form in your recipe and you must use at least 1 tablespoon or 10g of these flours in your cooking /baking.

What after August 2014? Kit from I-Lost in Austen will be the next hostess of September 2014 and her theme is APPLE! Her Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday of August 2014 (2nd Sep) until the last day of the month.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Diana from Domestic Goddess WannabeFor more details, please see this.