9/14/14

The Wedding Cake!



One of my friends from culinary school asked me if I could make her wedding cake, and I said yes. I was nervous even though I've made many cakes already, I've never made a wedding cake for anyone (except once while I was still in culinary school). Working on a wedding cake can be really stressful, luckily we had the same mind about how the cake should be and look. So she decided on the look, and I made it happen for her. I always set my goal high when I do something. When my friend is a pastry chef, the goal is even higher.

I've heard most people don't eat the cake because it's either tasteless or dry or both. So I wanted to make a beautiful wedding cake that people will enjoy and eat it too. I spent three days making this cake. I baked all the cakes on the first day, filling and icing on the second day, and covered them with fondant on the third day. Since the base was really thick and heavy, I decided to assembling the cake at the venue. Everything went well. I had two friends helping me at the dessert table. One friend made carrot cupcakes and lemon tarts. They were tasty.

The wedding was yesterday. It looked like everyone enjoyed the cake and dessert. My job was completed!










9/1/14

Happy Labor Day!



Different shades of blue


I've updated my calendar online from September to January. If you're looking for new classes, check it out Bonbini Baking Class.

For your information, the kitchen will be closing for a month in November.




8/15/14

Best Banana Bread Recipes

I've been baking banana bread for the past two months, and it comes down to these recipes that I'll keep them on hands whenever I need to bake a loaf of banana bread.

Although I do love walnuts and chocolate chips, I don't like them in the bread. So I only add them on top. These banana breads are moist, tender and not too sweet. They're slightly different amounts of ingredient and mixing methods, but the results are subtle in flavor and texture.

Here are the three different mixing methods:
1. Creaming Method. it's done with sugar beaten into butter, eggs are added. Then add flour alternately with the liquids.
2. Two-stage Method. The dry ingredients (including sugar) are mixed with fat, then eggs and then liquids.
3. Muffin Method. Mixing dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then combine them together.


Creaming Method

Recipe #1 Creaming Method

Ingredients:
makes 1 loaf

- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup mascarpone
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Leaving an overhang on long sides.
2. Sift flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream sugar, mascarpone and butter together over medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add extract.
4. Lower the speed to low, add flour and mix until just combined.
5. Add banana and mix until just combined.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with walnuts.
7. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
8. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely before slicing.

NOTE: The baking time will be vary, depending on the size of the loaf pan you're using. My loaf pan is 8 x 4 x 2 1/2 inch (4 cups).


Two-stage Method

Recipe #2 Two-stage Method

Ingredients:
makes 1 loaf

- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes
- 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tbsp. chocolate chips

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Leaving an overhang on long sides.
2. Sift all dry ingredients (including sugar) together in a medium bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, add butter into dry ingredients and mix on low to moisten all the ingredients. Then beat on medium for a minute to develop the structure of the batter.
4. Add bananas, then egg. Mix until just combines.
5. Add buttermilk and extract. Mix for a few seconds.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with walnuts and chocolate chips.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
8. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely before slicing.

NOTE: The baking time will be vary, depending on the size of the loaf pan you're using. My loaf pan is 8 x 4 x 2 1/2 inch (4 cups).


Muffin Method 

Recipe #3 Muffin Method

Ingredients:
makes 1 loaf

- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Leaving an overhang on long sides.
2. Sift all dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
3. Whisk all wet ingredients (including sugar and bananas) together in a medium bowl.
4. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with walnuts.
6. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely before slicing.

NOTE: The baking time will be vary, depending on the size of the loaf pan you're using. My loaf pan is 8 x 4 x 2 1/2 inch (4 cups).







7/24/14

Brownies


It's hard to believe I'm getting closer to a half-century mark today. Luckily, I've never been one to worry about getting older. I like birthday. Birthday is an excuse to eat cake and not feel guilty about it.

To celebrate another year of my life, I made lots of brownies to share with my friends, neighbors and students. These brownies are made from Valrhona Unsweetened Chocolate. They are dense, gooey and intense in flavor. This recipe is adapted from Joy of Baking.

Did I tell you chocolate is my favorite ingredient to work with. It makes everything taste better. :)

Ingredients:
makes 8x8 baking pan

- 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 4 oz. salted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup roasted walnuts, chopped
- 1/8 cup roasted cocoa nibs

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour the pan.
2. Melt chocolate and butter together in a medium pot over medium-low heat.
3. Remove from heat, whisk in sugar.
4. Whisk in eggs, extract and flour.
5. Fold in chocolate chips, walnuts and cocoa nibs.
6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

More brownie recipes :
Brownies with cocoa powder
Brownies with hazelnut flour
Nutella brownies



7/20/14

Happy National Ice Cream Day!



Since It's a national ice cream day, I want to share with you a homemade coconut ice cream recipe. I used coconut puree, but you can also use coconut milk.

Inspire by fried banana ice cream (a Thai dessert) that you see in Thai restaurants, I pair this coconut ice cream with pan-fried sweet plantains.

Ingredients:
makes 2 pints

- 1 cup half and half
- 4 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup coconut puree, room temp
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 tsp. salt

Preparation:

1. Make creme anglaise : In a medium pot over medium heat, bring half and half to a boil. Whisk yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream. Add the yolk mixture back to the pot. Bring the mixture back to 165 degrees over medium heat.
3. Strain the custard over an ice-bath. Immediately whisk in the rest of ingredients. Let cool completely in an ice-bath.
4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
5. Transfer to an ice cream maker, churn for 15-20 minutes.
6. Pour into containers and freeze.










7/15/14

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes



These cupcakes are super lemony, super moist and super tasty. You won't need a boxed cake because this recipe is so easy and everyone can make it. You'll get better flavor using fresh ingredients like fresh egg and fresh lemon.

Pink lemonade cupcakes are perfect for summer. I topped them with pink lemonade swiss meringue buttercream. You can also use lemon cream cheese frosting or lemon meringue frosting.

Ingredients:
makes 12

- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 egg
- 1 cup cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1-2 drops pink food coloring

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the cupcake pan with liners.
2. Place butter into a medium microwave-safe dish. Heat the butter for 15 seconds on high. If you still see solid butter, heat for an additional 15 seconds.
3. In order, whisk in lemon juice, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, zest and egg.
4. Sift all dry ingredients together, then whisk all dry into the batter. Add food coloring.
5. Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, fill about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes.









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