Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cheesecake Survey

For the past few days I've been trying cheesecake from many different places including cafes, bakeries as well as supermarkets.  Prices ranged from S$3.20 to $5.60 per slice.  So far I've not found a good one, although some are not too bad.  Here's my survey:

1.  Do you like/love cheesecake?  If you do, what makes it WOW for you?
2.  Do you usually buy from cafes, bakeries or supermarkets?  Which is your favourite cheesecake shop and why?
3.  When you buy cheesecake, what do you look for?  Presentation?  Taste?  Fruits/toppings?
4.  If I baked a cheesecake for you, what would you like it to taste and look like?
5.  Are you prepared to pay slightly more for a good quality cheesecake?  How much more?

Your comments will help me as I plan to bake my cheesecakes.

Please leave your comments on my blog.  Everyone who leaves a comment will be eligible for a lucky draw.   Last comment by next Saturday midnight!   Your gift will be a cake baked by me!

Monday, October 18, 2010

First Order for the Week Done!

I had an order of 4 desserts for 50 people today.  Started baking the American Carrot Cupcakes and Cookies n Cream cheese cupcakes yesterday and left them in the fridge to chill.  This morning I woke up early to make the Apple Cinnamon Struesel Cupcakes and the Decadent Chocolate Cakes.  My kitchen was filled with the amazing smells of cinnamon and chocolate!

The weather started heating up and by lunch time it was so hot I was wondering how on earth I would be able to keep the frosting cool.  I had to refrigerate all the desserts and they took up 80% of the space in my regular sized fridge!  I ended up freezing my cheesecakes which was an excellent idea.

I didn't take process photos but I did take the finished products.

American Carrot Cupcakes, taller than usual just to be a bit whimsical! 

The Decadent Mocha Chocolate mini cakes with mocha cream cheese frosting.

Cookies N Cream (aka Oreo) Cheese Cupcakes.  Doesn't she look great?  Alethea and I each "tested" one!

Apple Cinnamon Struesel Cupcakes. It's low fat and healthy with apples and raisins in the cake.  The topping is butter (okay, a little bit unhealthy...), cinnamon and sugar.  Smells divine!

Here are the cakes all packed and ready to be picked up.  I hope the folks enjoy the desserts for supper tonight!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm Back and here's a fruitcake recipe!

Phew!  It's been such a hectic two weeks for me.  Last week I helped my son to pack up his room (thank goodness no painting required!) which took about 4 days and 4 black trashbags of junk.  Then this week my daughter went to Indonesia with her school for an Overseas Immersion Programme in dance and I took the opportunity to help her spring clean her room.  It was such a mess it took me quite a few days to get organised, with the help of my Mum and son.  After painting 4 coats of wall paint and 8 black trashbags later, the room is looking decent again.  She's coming back tomorrow.  I really miss her.

One of you asked me for a dark fruitcake recipe.  Here's one I used for many years and really liked it because it's quite simple to make. Have fun! 

This is for a 6-inch square tin or 7-inch round tin.  Please note that this is a dense fruitcake.  For this reason, it will not be wise to change the weightage of any of the ingredients otherwise you may end up with a crumbly cake from too much fruit and too little cake which is needed to bind the fruits together. 

Some of my friends request for less sugar in their cakes from time to time.  Sugar is very important to provide flavour and colour, as well as weaken the gluten strands in the flour thus having a softer cake.  Sugar also serves as a preservative and acts as a foaming agent since there's no baking powder in fruitcake.  So if you don't like sweet things, this is not the cake for you!

Glaced cherries(red and green)             75gm
Plain flour                                         200gm
Currants                                           175gm
Sultanas                                           250gm
Raisins(I use 2 colours)                      75gm
Mixed peel                                        50gm
Chopped nuts(I use almonds               25gm
Butter                                              175gm
Brown sugar                                      175gm
Weight of eggs                                  175gm     

Vanilla essence, almond essence, lemon oil, orange oil, dark Jamaican rum (the real thing!), ground mixed spice, Glad wrap, aluminium foil and airtight plastic container.

Halve and wash cherries, weigh the fruits and put in large container.  Soak the fruits and nuts in about 4-5 capfuls of rum, preferably a few days before or overnight (no need to use too much because you will have to throw away the excess).

On day of baking, heat oven to 150 degC (for my oven I use only 140 degC). Grease and line cake tin.  Sieve flour with mixed spices.  Make sure the rum soaked fruits do not have excess liquid in them.  Add flour and mix, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs which have 1/2 tsp of the assorted essence in them.  Beat well after each addition.  If the mixture starts to curdle, add a little of the flour mixture.  Mix the rest of the flour/fruits and butter mixture using a wooden spoon.  Put in cake tin and use a spoon to level the top of the mixture.  The cake will rise only a tiny bit.  Put cake tin in oven and reduce the heat to about 140 degC.  Cook for about 1-1.5 hours.  If the cake browns too quickly, turn down heat only a little and put a piece of aluminium foil loosely on top of the cake tin.  You will know the cake is done when it is firm, a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, the fruits look plump and the cake smells great!

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin.  Remove cake and pour about 2 capfuls of rum over the top of the cake.  Make sure you get the whole top of the cake.  Wrap in Glad Wrap and then aluminium foil and keep in the airtight container, leaving it in a cool, dark place.  Check every 2-3 weeks, adding more rum if necessary (usually I don't because I don't like an overpowering taste or smell of rum!).  The cake will be ready to eat in about 8-10 weeks.