... tackling one recipe at a time

Search This Blog

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Simply Red and White

My fridge was full of all kinds of food already, but I couldn't resist the temptation of making something after I got pre-made graham cracker crust from work. What did I make in the end? Follow my thought process below:

Fruit tart? Boring. Banana cream pie? Don't feel like it. Cheesecake? Hmm... Simple, but I can always use some cheesecake. I don't want a plain cheesecake though, what flavors work best in cheesecake? I want it to be fresh but indulgent, sweet but not too sweet, hmm.. White chocolate raspberry cheesecake it is, yummm!

That is how I usually decide on what I want to make :) Anw, I decided to make white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and then I faced the usual dilemma: to bake or not to bake. I was too lazy to deal with the drama of baked cheesecake and I still had some heavy cream left, so I went forward with no-bake cheesecake. I used my recipe for no-bake cheesecake in my post: "To bake or not to bake: Cheesecake dilemma" and I added some melted white chocolate into the batter. Poured the batter into the pre-made graham cracker crust, put it in the fridge until firm, put some fresh raspberries on top, and lastly drizzled melted white chocolate all over the raspberries, voila! Done!

I love how the red raspberries contrast with the white cheesecake and white chocolate. Simple but so pretty! When I bit into a spoonful, the fragrance of the raspberries immediately filled my mouth, then I tasted the sweet white chocolate and the velvety tangy cheesecake. Mmmm... sooo good.. Next time you have a party, make this and I'm sure you'll impress your guests with this easy, elegant, and tasty dessert :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Birds on a Wire

Remember Pixar's short animation "Birds on a Wire"? It was shown before a cartoon movie (don't remember what it was) and the birds in it were soooo cute! They were all frumpy and grumpy, and I really liked the simple yet funny story line. I'd been wanting to make a cake related to that animation and this weekend I thought of making Birds on a Wire cake pops. I searched for pictures online and this was the best one I found.
Look at the birds! Aren't they cute? I was so excited until I realized how difficult it was to make the cake pops to look similar to the birds in the animation. The shape was difficult to form, the color was not the same, and don't even talk about the expressions. My birdie cake pops turned out to be more similar to old men's faces than birds. You won't know that they are birds if I don't tell you. Gaaahhhh!! I was frustrated!! But after I took a few pictures of them, I thought they were kind of cute in their own way, just don't compare them with the animation. So, here are the pictures of the cake pops..
What do you think? Do they look like birds to you? Probably no -____-"  Oh well, I still kind of like them :p

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Time is Ice Cream Time

I love ice cream, especially during summer. I can eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked and end up wanting more. Luckily, there are a lot of great ice cream parlors in Minneapolis. Izzy's, Sebastian Joe's, Pumphouse Creamery, etc.. They all make unique ice cream flavors, such as summit oatmeal stout and Mexican chocolate,  and most of them are very delicious. However, sometimes I crave for the most unusual flavor for people from the western hemisphere: Avocado Chocolate.. Yes, avocado chocolate ice cream. Sounds weird? Well, not for me. See, we eat our avocadoes sweet Indonesia, not with onions and jalapenos. We usually blend avocadoes with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate/mocha syrup, and ice or mix those ingredients together to make ice cream. Trust me, it makes a superb dessert for a hot summer day. Despite the abundance of ice cream parlors in Minneapolis, none has avocado ice cream. One Chinese restaurant actually has avocado smoothie on its menu, but I feel like they put so much ice that the avocado flavor is kind of diluted. So, I decided to make my own!

Last weekend, I went to the farmers market with my friends and bought some ripe avocadoes for really cheap price. Another good deal that I found was a pint of organic blueberries for $2. Hmm... blueberry cheesecake ice cream, yummm.... I just bought a new ice cream maker and it came with 2 bowls, so why not? After I came home, I immediately started mixing the avocado and blueberry cheesecake ice cream base. They are so simple and you don't need egg yolks at all!

Avocado Chocolate Ice Cream

5 small or 3 medium ripe avocadoes
1 15-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Mashed the avocadoes and mix them with the other ingredients.
2. Chill the mix in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Put your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer for 24 hours as well.
3. Pour the mix into the ice cream maker and follow the machine's manufacturer's instructions.
4. Freeze the ice cream until firm or eat it right away as soft-serve.

*I used homemade chocolate ganache to make the chocolate ripple in the avocado ice cream. You can use store-bought ganache or make your own by mixing equal parts of hot heavy whipping cream and chopped chocolate. Swirl in the ganache before freezing the ice cream.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

11 oz (1 8-oz + 1 3-oz packages) of cream cheese
1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cup half-and-half
1 pint blueberries, chopped
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1. Beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar until fluffy and lump-free.
2. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and half-and-half and mix thoroughly.
3. Chill the mix in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Put your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer for 24 hours as well.
4. Pour the mix into the ice cream machine and follow the machine's manufacturer's instructions.
5. Fold chopped blueberries and graham cracker crumbs into the churned ice cream before freezing.
6. Freeze the ice cream until firm or eat it right away as soft-serve.

(top: blueberry cheesecake ice cream, bottom: avocado chocolate ice cream)

Yum yum yummmm!!! It is a bowl full of rich, decadent, creamy,  yummy goodness :) For those of you who are still skeptical about the avocado ice cream, try it once and you'll know what you've been missing out all this time. Alrighty, happy summer and ice cream time ^o^v

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reminiscing the good times.. Owl Cupcakes!

I'm not in a good mood today. First, I worked like crazy and didn't get to sit down until 4 pm. Second, my boyfriend of 4 years and one of my best friends went home to Indonesia for good this morning. Gosh... I'm soooo sad!!!! I can't stop thinking about the good times we had and gosh... tears, please stop rolling down... I had to find something to do to take my mind off the sadness of bidding farewell. One thing that immediately came to mind was the owl cupcakes that I and my best friends made. It was about a year ago and as usual we were bored during one weekend, so we made owl cupcakes from "Hello Cupcake".
(my best friend who went  home for good took this picture, left: me, right: my other best friend who's in NYC now)

Since I was reminiscing the past, I decided to make the owl cupcakes. I had all the ingredients I needed for the cupcakes, which were cake mix, frosting, Oreos, and M&Ms.

Owl Cupcakes

Cake mix (baked into cupcakes)

1. Frost cupcakes with frosting.
2. Attach two Oreo halves (the sides with the cream filling) onto the cupcakes as the owls' eyes.
3. Stick one brown M&M onto each Oreo half.
4. Put one yellow M&M in between each Oreo halves for the owl's beak.
5. Cut the Oreo halves without the cream filling in half and insert one on each side of the cupcake for the owl's ears.
6. Pipe feathers using leftover frosting on the owls' ears, foreheads, and cheeks.
7. Done!

I didn't have much chocolate frosting left, so I covered the cupcakes with vanilla frosting and piped the feathers using a mix of chocolate and vanilla frosting. The result...

Cute aren't they :D Sighhh... too bad my boyfriend is not here to enjoy them with me :( Oh well, at least I still have these little owls to accompany me.. Until then...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sunny Sunflower Cupcakes

It was unbelievably hot today. Seriously, my skin was burning. The sun was sooo huge, I felt like I could see the craters on its surface. I'm glad we have air con in our apartment, otherwise my sweat would have formed one of the millions of lakes in Minnesota. Anw, as always, I was bored after I came home from lunch with my fellow interns. Sitting on the couch and looking at the sun, I thought.. hmm.. sun.. sunny... sunflower!! I still had a lot of cake mixes and yellow and green frostings leftover from making the burger cake, so making sunflower cupcakes was a no brainer. I ran to the nearby grocery store and bought Oreos and M&Ms, now I was ready to make some cute sunflower cupcakes :)
Sunflower Cupcakes

Cupcakes (baked from scratch or boxed mix)
Chocolate frosting
Yellow frosting
Green frosting

1. Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting on the cupcakes.
2. Attach one Oreo on each cupcake.
3. Using a leaf piping tip, pipe out leaves with green frosting at the perimeter of the cupcakes.
4. Using a leaf piping tip, pipe out 2 layers (bottom layer all around first, then build another layer on top of it) of sunflower petals around the Oreos with yellow frosting.
5. Attach a red M&M on one side of each Oreo with chocolate frosting and pipe the ladybug definition on the M&M also using chocolate frosting.
6. Done! Easy right?

What a nice way to kill time and celebrate the sunny weather! The cupcakes didn't taste that good though, since I used canned frosting and boxed mix. If you want them to taste better, just make everything from scratch (not the Oreoa and M&Ms of course) and use good quality ingredients. They still looked pretty regardless, so I was pretty satisfied :) Alrighty then, now go make your own sunflower cupcakes (^.^)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Not So Creative Burger Cake

I should be ecstatic that I get to make and bake different doughs and batters everyday at work, but surprisingly that's not the case.. It gets a little bit boring when baking has to be done scientifically with exact calculations, thorough measurements, and strict procedure. Don't get me wrong, I love my project and am excited about it, but sometimes I long to bake something different, fun, and possibly creative. Arghhh, I miss baking macarons, mousse cakes, and Asian breads sooo muchhhh!! I wish I have my KitchenAid mixer, molds, pans, ingredients, and baking books here :(

Whatever, I just have to make do with what I have here. Okay, I have tons of cake mixes, canned frosting, and many other General Mills products. What can I make with these ingredients? So I google cake recipes and find a not-so-creative (because a lot of people have made it) but still interesting cake: Burger Cake. I've never made a Burger Cake before since my boyfriend and I don't like brightly colored frosting on our cake. Well, now I get the chance to make it.. My version of burger cake is very simple, you don't need any specialty pans or ingredients to make it. You can buy all the ingredients in your local grocery store and if you ever bake, you should have 8-inch round cake pan. Here it goes..

Burger Cake


1. Bake yellow cake mix according to manufacturer's instructions in 2 8-inch round pans for burger buns.
2. Bake brownie mix in the same size pan for burger patty.
3. After the cake and brownie are cool to the touch, spread frosting (any flavor and color) on the first cake layer.
4. Stack the brownie layer on top of the first cake layer.
5. Spread yellow frosting on top of the brownie layer to mimic melting cheese.
6. Unroll and stack 3 fruit rolls together and cut rounds out of them. Cut the rounds in halves and arrange on top of the "cheese" to mimic sliced tomatoes.
7. Squeeze strings of green frosting on top of the "tomatoes" to mimic shredded lettuce.
8. Put the second layer on top of the "lettuce" and squeeze dots of white frosting on top to mimic sesame seeds.

Easy right? And the result? Jyang jyang jyang jyang....

You can make it fancier by using fondant and forming it into onion rings, bacon strips, or pickles. For the shredded lettuce, you can color some shredded coconut with green food coloring (mix a drop of green food coloring and shredded coconut in a ziploc bag). Also, you can bake the top bun in an oven-safe bowl, cover the buns with colored frosting, and sprinkle the top with real sesame seeds. Anw, enjoy making your own version of Burger Cake v(^o^)v