Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ube Macapuno Cake

Like most food bloggers, I have a long "to do" list when in comes to creating new desserts in my kitchen.  This particular recipe has many variations and is not your typical American cake.  It contains purple yam-which is not commonly found here.  The other unusual ingredient is the macapuno, or preserved coconut. Both of these ingredients can be found at an Asian Market.

Overall, I found the cake to have a wonderful light flavor with great texture.  It is not as sweet as most American cakes, but it was a nice change of pace. The whipped cream and cream cheese frosting was the perfect topper.  As you can tell by the above picture, the cake color is very eye catching which is an extra plus.  However, concerning the macapuno, I did not find it to be particularly appealing according to my tastes. If you have not tried it, it would be a good idea to try it prior to baking this cake. 

This cake, due to its appearance, would be a perfect finale to an Easter meal.

Ube Macapuno Cake
adapted from Heart of Mary  

7 eggs, yolk and white separated
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup cooked &/mashed purple yam/ ube
3 tbs baking powder
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
violet gel paste (optional)

1/2 cup sugar
1-12 oz jar macapuno
1-8 oz package of cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Prepare 2-9 inch round cake pans and 1 8X4 inch loaf pan by greasing and lining the bottom interior with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In one bowl, beat together mashed purple yam, egg yolks, milk and olive oil until smooth.  If you are using gel paste beat 1/4 tsp.  Continue to beat in gel paste until desired color is met.  Set aside.

In another bowl, sift together baking powder, cake flour and salt. Using a wooden spoon, fold flour mixture into egg batter until smooth and no dry streaks remain.  Set aside.

Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the egg whites.  Beat on high until foamy.  Then, beat in the cream of tartar.  Switch the speed of the mixer to medium and continue to beat. Slowly pour in a steady stream of the sugar.  Once all sugar is in the whites, switch blender back to high and beat until the whites reach a stiff peak stage.

Fold the whites into the purple batter until evenly distributed.  Separate and pour the batter into the 3 pans.  Place pans in oven and bake until tester comes out clean.  Bake time should be about 30 minutes.  Pans should be rotated at the 15 minute interval.

Remove pans from oven and place on rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Then invert cakes onto rack and let cool completely before removing parchment paper and frosting.

Using a food processor, grind the 1 loaf cake until it all becomes crumbs.  Set aside. 

To make the frosting, place the cream cheese in a small bowl and beat until smooth.  Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add sugar, vanilla extract and whipping cream.  Beat on high speed until mixture has a stiff consistency and all ingredients are thoroughly blended together.  Add the cream cheese and beat on low speed until smooth. 

Fill a sieve with the macapuno and let some of the syrup drain. Using 3 small bowls, divide the frosting into thirds..  Choose which of the two cake layers to use for the bottom and top.  Top the bottom layer with 1/3 of the frosting.  Then spoon on 1/3 pf the macapuno.  Place the second cake layer on top and frost top and sides with another 1/3 of the frosting. 

Sprinkle cake crumbs on top of the cake.  Then, using handfuls of cake crumbs, press into the sides of the cake until crumbs are completely used and cake is covered.  With the remaining frosting, pipe big rosettes around the top edge and small rosettes around the bottom edge. Lastly, spoon and smooth the remaining macapuno onto the top center of the cake.

Notes and tips:
1.  I found the amount of cake crumbs to be too much.  Use your own judgement when it comes to the batter amount for the loaf pan.  Bear in mind the less batter will mean less cooking time.

2. When using the gel paste for coloring, consider that the addition of the egg white mixture will lighten the color quite a bit.  It is up to you how dark or light you want your cake to be in color.

3. The cake is very moist, so when it is inverted onto the rack, invert again so parchment paper is touching the rack.  Otherwise there will be a lot of cake sticking to the rack.  Once the cake has completely cooled then your can invert again to remove the parchment paper.

                                **LAST YEAR: Chocolate Glazed Zucchini Cake Slice**

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Peach Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are more in the realm of healthy instead of indulgent.  If you crave a healthy treat, these cookies are quite satisfying.  If you crave something rich and chocolatey, this is not the recipe for you.

However, someone at work did make the suggestion of ice cream with these.  Perhaps using these cookies and sandwiching vanilla ice cream between them may get closer to the mark for those that are wanting something more sweet.

After some of the decadent desserts, this is a nice change of pace.  The cookies are soft and chewy with an occasionally bite of dried peaches. These cookies, since they have molasses, bake up to a dark color, but the molasses is something I would not skip in the recipe. I am not a big fan of raisins, so the dried peaches were very suitable for my taste. This recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Peach Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Desserts from Loveless Cafe

3 oz dried peaches (1/4 inch chopped pieces)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs of molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/4 cup of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (room temp)

Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon.  Then stir in the oats and set aside.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the vanilla extract and the molasses and beat for 1 minute, scraping down sides of the bowl at the 30 second interval.  The end result should be a fluffy light batter.  Beat the egg into the batter, scraping down the sides of the bowl again to make sure all is blended. 

Using a wooden spoon, fold the dry oat mixture into the batter.  When only a few streaks of flour remain, add the dried peaches.   Stir until there are no streaks of flour and peaches are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Drop heaping tablespoons of batter two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. You can use a scoop or a spoon.  Place pans in preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes and rotate and bake for another 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cookies cool on pan for 2 minutes and then transfer to a rack to completely cool.

Tips and Notes:
1. The recipe states you can also use sorghum in place of molasses.  The end result will be the same dark cookie but sorghum has more sweetness than molasses.

2. When I baked these, they took about 12 minutes to get done so keep a close eye on your baking time.
                                   **LAST YEAR: Barista Brew Pie**

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chocolate Chunk Cream Cake

It has been a little while since I have posted here.  Friends and co-workers have been asking about some baked goods, so I wanted to make something different that was not too big of a project.

These are actually bars, even though the title states cake.  This recipe hails from a label on some gourmet chocolate bars.  The chocolate bars are the Julia Baker chocolate brand.  The idea of reserving chocolate bars for baking may be a difficult task, but the effort to resist eating the bars by themselves does pay off.  The chewy, tasty texture of the cream cheese in the batter paired with rich chunks of chocolate make for one tasty treat.

Chocolate Chunk Cream Cake
adapted from Julia Baker via

2 eggs
4 oz of cream cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbs melted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup plus 2 tbs cake flour
1 cup confectioners sugar
3-4oz chocolate bar, coarsley chopped

Prepare an 8x8 inch pan by greasing the interior. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Whisk in the granulated sugar. Stir in the melted butter.  Then add 1 egg and mix until all is smooth.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula or back of a spoon to making sure all is even.  Place 1/2 of the chocolate bar pieces on top of the batter.  The pieces should be placed so the coverage is even and no pieces touch the sides of the pan.  Set pan aside.

Beat the cream cheese in a small bowl on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Then scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for an additional 30 seconds.  The cream cheese should be smooth and fluffy.

Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar into the cream cheese and stir until no dry streaks remain.  Repeat this process, scraping down the sides of the bowl at each interval,  until all the confectioners sugar is blended.   Using a wooden spoon, mix in the egg and the vanilla extract.

Pour this mixture evenly over the first batter layer in the pan.  Then finish by placing the remaining pieces of chocolate on the cream cheese layer.  Again, take care not to have any pieces touch the sides of the pan.

Bake for 30-33 minutes.  Cake will have a deep golden hue when done.  Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Notes and Tips:
1. original recipe states that you can also use a 4X11 inch tart pan.  Since the removal of the cake does require a sharp knife to be run along the edges, do not use a tart pan with scalloped edges.

2. As stated above, the cake will not easily slip out the pan for removal.  The bottom has no issues it is just the sides due to the toasted edges.  The greasing helped a little, but it still needed a knife run along the edges.

3. I used caramel filled as well as regular dark chocolate bars.  Using the caramel filled bars caused  an occasional grit or crunch to the bite.  Based on that, I would use a plain dark or milk chocolate bar.
                                       **LAST YEAR:Fried Apple Hand Pies**