Sunday, May 24, 2015

Earl Grey Lavender Cake with Lemon Vanilla ButterCream

I love baking for occasions. No matter how busy I am, I will try my best to bake a nice cake for the family. Frankly speaking, family matters most to me. No matter what you have done, or what you have not done, they still love you as much, haha! So doing little gestures like baking for them is really trivial I think. I always feel having a cake for any gatherings, puts a nice sweet ending to it. No matter how full you are, you will always have room for that slice of cake baked specially for you yes? And since I was particularly fond of the tea flavour Earl Grey Lavender from Gryphon, why not!

I was rather please with my first attempt. Used several different techniques here after reading up from books and recipes learnt from experience. I guess my only change next time is to lighten that frosting  by incorporating whipped cream into the buttercream and thus yielding a lighter texture and mouthfeel.

Tea floral mix powder:
2 tea bags amount of Earl Grey tea
5 g dried lavender (from Phoon Huat)

  • In a blender, pour both the earl grey tea leafs and the dried lavender in. Zap for a good 1 minute at high speed.

  • Sieve the blended mixture through a fine sieve. 

  • This step removes the chunkier bits and also the calyxes of the dried flower. Set aside for use later. 
Tea syrup
1 earl grey tea bag
1/4 cup boiling water
2-3 Tbsp full cream evaporated milk
3 Tbsp caster sugar
  • Place water, sugar and evaporated milk into a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from fire. Add the tea bag and let it sip for a good 30 minutes and stir it occasionally. 

  • After the tea is well soaked through and it has a good earl grey flavour, set aside to cool and for use later.
Ingredients for Earl Grey Lavender Cake
200 g unsalted butter, room temp
180 g caster sugar
4 large eggs
All of the above Tea Floral mix
200 g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line with parchment paper and grease again an 8" round  base removable cake pan.
  • In the mixing bowl, add in the room temperature butter and caster sugar. Start beating the mixture till light and fluffy which will takes about 4-5 minutes. Lastly add in the reserved Tea Flora mixture above and beat for another minute.

  • Next crack in one egg at a time and beat after each addition. Making sure the egg is completely incorporated after each addition.
  • Sift in the cake flour and baking powder in to the butter mixture. Then fold in gently, making sure it is well combined and no hidden lumps of flour.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Check out the creamy luscious batter!

  • Use a toothpick to give the batter a good swirl to remove any undesirable air pockets.
  • Then bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, rotate in between time to get even baking if necessary.
  • Once the cake tester or the toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the pan.

  • Next invert the cake on a cooling rack till it is cool to the touch. Slice the cake horizontally across so you get two equal thickness of cake discs.

Ingredients for Lemon Vanilla Buttercream
3.3 oz egg white (from three large eggs, ~95 g)
3.3 oz caster sugar (~95 g)
1/2 vanilla bean pod with the beans scraped out
300 g unsalted butter, cut into chunks and room temperature
zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Place the egg white and sugar in a heat proof bowl and place over a double boiler of simmering water. Base of bowl should not touch the water.
  • Stir constantly till the sugar melted. Then place candy thermometer to check on the temperature to make sure it reaches 115C (for sanitary and prevention of semolina). 
  • Immediately beat the egg whites at high speed till it reaches soft peaks.
  • Gradually add in the chunks of butter and beat at medium speed. It may look lumpy at first, but continue to beat and it will eventually come together.
  • Lastly, add in lemon juice and zest and continue to beat till all fluffy and light.
  • Chill the butter cream in a container in the fridge till needed later.
  • On a cake board, grease 1/4 tsp of the buttercream on top. Then place half of the cake disc on top. This will prevent the cake from sliding when traveling with it.
  • Next spoon small amount of the reserved earl grey milk syrup all over the surface of the cake disc. You should use half the amount of the syrup.
  • You then frost 1/3 of the vanilla lemon buttercream over the surface.
  • Place the other cake disc over and making sure the cut side is facing up. Repeat the drizzling of the remaining of the tea syrup all over the cake surface again.

  • Do not worry, you are not gonna make your cake mushy with the syrup. I guarantee you that this step is essential to keep the cake moist and gives it that extra tea flavour. So please don't skip it.
  • Next frost up the whole cake nicely.
  • Chill the cake in the fridge for a good 30 minutes before you bring it out for decorations.
You can decorate your cake however way you want. With chocolate, with more buttercream, drizzle with ganache or topped with mixed fruits. I like mine with fresh flowers and berries this time. And my family actually loved this simplicity of it too.

Nothing is more satisfying when your bake is enjoyed and loved by the family. :') I wish I have made a better cake, but with only 4 hours at hand, I had to settle with this. 

Overall a success, but I would have made a taller cake next time. Perhaps up the egg ratio to 5 instead of 4. 

With this in my bag, I am ready to try out other flavour combinations. ;) Hopefully something nicer. Salted Caramel with Peanut butter? Or Holicks with Chocolate? We will see... ;)

Until then, have a good week ahead all!
Happy baking!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

One Pan Pizza using HappyCall Pan

It always amazes me whenever I discover a new dish that one can cook out of a HappyCall Pan. I myself have cooked a whole chicken in the pan for a good 20 minutes and it turn out perfect. I have also seen people "baking" a cake out of it. The last attempt was cooking a one pot pasta meal in the pan. Yes, all in the pan including the dried pasta! Quite fascinating I must say. And now I have discovered that I can cook pizza with it!

Thin crust with slight crunch on the edges, covered with creamy topping. I actually made two different pizzas, one seafood, one breakfast...let's see how I make them shall we?

Ingredients for One Pan Pizza (Using Happycall Pan or any non stick pan)
Pizza Dough
130g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant active yeast
190ml water
1 tsp honey

Marinara Sauce
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
200 g tomato sauce (I use Hunts)
1 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Seafood Toppings
200g salmon slices
3 large prawns, peeled and deveined 
1/2 zucchini, sliced
2 portobello mushroom, sliced
5 cherry tomatoes, cut half
100 g shredded mozzarella cheese

Breakfast Topping
2 hash brown, pan fry till crunchy
1/2 zucchini, sliced
3 bacon strips, 
1 large egg

  • Heat up a sauce pot over medium low fire with 1 tsp of olive oil. Add in the onion and cook till soft and translucent. Add in minced garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. 
  • Pour the tomato sauce into the caramelised onions. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook till it simmers. Continue to cook for another couple minutes, remove from fire and set aside for use later.

  • In a bowl, weigh out the flour, yeast and salt, set aside.

  • Next, heat up the HappyCall pan at low fire. Add in the flour mixture, water and honey in to the pan. Stir together till it becomes a sticky soft dough.
  • Spread it evenly over the pan surface.

  • Next spread on the reserved tomato sauce over the dough.

  • Now add all your toppings. Remember to season you salmon and prawns (light soy sauce, white pepper and a dash of sesame oil) 

  • Lastly, sprinkle salt and pepper for additional seasoning, a little olive oil if desired. Then sprinkle that mozzarella  cheese.
  • At this point with the fire still at low, cover the pan to cook for 5 mins. HappyCall pan will seal tight which allows better circulation of the heat and thus cooks are evenly and faster. 
  • After 5 minutes, open the pan just a little with a small gap. And cook for another 10 minutes.

  • After 10 minutes, open the cover and you have the pizza cooked and ready to be eaten.

  • Remove from pan and slice up to serve. Enjoy!
  • If you are trying out the Breakfast Pizza, repeat the same steps as above to make the dough at the bottom. Spread the marinara sauce and then put all the toppings over it.

  • Cover to cook for 5 minutes. Then open the pan cover, sprinkle the cheese and crack the egg over it.

  • Now cover but leaving a small gap, cook for another 10 minutes. And then open up, you'll get this:

  • Slice and serve while still warm. Enjoy!

A delicious Italian meal that the kids love ready within minutes~! Literally ! Okay maybe the preparation takes awhile, but the cooking time and everything in a is really easy! If you have a HappyCall, you gotta try this. Else head on down to TANGS to get your pan since they are having this 12% rebate on the 21st to 22 nd May. And there's an early birds offer available too from 8.30am to 10.30am. Don't miss out!

And of course a closer look at this pizza. Thin crust checked, creamy delicious toppings checked....less cleaning up? Checked!

Do try this out and let me know how you like it! 
Happy day and cooking ahead all!