Cremes & Custards

Caffeine Spiked Tres Leches Cake

This past weekend we were invited to a surprise bithday party for a family member who is visitng from Australia.

Let me explain a little… the birthday boy who is a native Australian married my husbands niece a few years ago, they were living here in California until about six months ago, when he received a great job offer back in Australia, and he and his family decided to move back.

While here on vacation my niece decided to throw him a surprise birthday party and thanks to the Internet she was able to plan and organize the entire party while still in Austrlia.

Once she arrived in the US there were only a few loose strings she had to take care of. All in all the party was a HUGE success!

We weren’t planning on showing up to the party empty handed of course, and decided that dessert would be the perfect gift. Something he could enjoy right away and not worry about having to lugg back or pay excess luggage fees on.

OK, now take one good look at this pretty and innocent cake and be ready to experience it’s wrath. In it’s defense though, I will say it was SOOOOO worth it!

Here is a tiny glimps of what I had to clean up. It got so bad I had to stop whipping the eggs and cover my mixer with a towel until I finished beating them into submission.

Messy...
Coffee Three Milks Cake
from Dulce by Joseluis Flores

10 eggs
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons instant coffee
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup borghetti coffee liqueur

Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
10 egg shells

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the eggs on high speed until they are thick and light in color, about 5 minutes. Continue beating and carefully pour sugar and instant coffee into the mixture. Beat for an additional 8 minutes, until the mixture has tripled in volume.

Sift the flour into the egg and sugar mixture, fold to combine making sure you don’t stir or beat, to prevent the eggs from deflating.

Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and pour batter into the pan. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes. Cake is done when the cake springs back when lightly pressed, and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool, with a toothpick or skewer pierce the cake over the entire surface, this will allow the milks to be soaked in throughout the cake.

Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Whisk the milks, heavy cream and coffee liqueur together. Pour slowly over the entire cake. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until the liquid has been completely absorbed. The cake will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

1 cup heavy cream
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
8 ounces mascarpone cheese

Warm heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once warm remove from stove and pour chocolate chips, whisk until chocolate chips have melted and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Whip mascarpone on medium until soft peaks form, be carefull not to overwhip. Carefully fold the chilled heavy cream and chocolate mixture into the mascarpone.

Coffee Whipped Cream

1 teaspoon gelatine
2 tablespoons hot water
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon coffee liquoure (such as Tia Maria)

Combine the hot water and gelatine, still well, and let it cool.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Pour cooled gelatine into the heavy cream mixture and whip to combine, then add the instant coffe powder, powdered sugar and coffee liquore. Whip until stiff peaks form.

Cake Assembly

Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Carefully slice cake in half lengthwise place one slice over a serving platter. Pipe or with a spatula layer the chocolate mascarpone mousse over the top of the cake. Place the second layer of cake on top. With a spatula cover the cake with the coffee whipped cream.

Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Sorry I wasn’t able to take a better picture of the sliced cake, I quickly slid in to take the shot while it was being sliced.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Extravaganza Cake

This past Monday (Memorial Day) was our middle son’s 14th birthday.

The weather has been so beautiful these past couple of days that we just couldn’t resist a trip to the beach. We decided to get an early start and headed out knowing that it was probably going to get crowded later in the day.

Our first stop was Bonjour for breakfast, the birthday boy ordered french toast, my husband and his brothers all went with the ham, cheese and mushroom omelette, and I ordered the salmon crepes. Everything was delicious!

Breakfast at Bonjour in Dana Point
After breakfast, we drove a couple of miles down to the beach. The boys tossed around the football for a bit, we tried playing badminton but it was just too windy. I layed out on the beach and read a little while the boys braved the very cold Pacific – BRRRR. The only way I was going in was in a full wet suit.

Beach Time
Some people made sure they got the full beach experience, including bathing in what felt like ice cold water to me.

Fun in the sun
Later in the day we headed back home and rested a little then we washed up and got ready for dinner. The birthday boy chose our favorite local Sushi restaurant.

Everyone chose their favorites which included a rainbow roll, fresh oysters, a couple of snow drop rolls, seared ahi tuna, and an albacore garlic roll that was fantastic!

Birthday boy chose sushi for dinner
Once we were done with dinner, they dimmed the lights and brought out a softball sized Green Tea Mochi Ice Cream which was gone in a flash!

Birthday Dinner at Marui Sushi
After dinner we headed back home, sang Happy Birthday and ended the evening with a small slice of Peanut Butter Extravaganza Cake.

Cake Time
Peanut Butter Extravaganza Cake
The birthday boy’s favorite candy bar happens to be Butterfinger so while flipping through my cookbooks trying to decide what type of cake to make him, I came across “Peanut Butter Mousse with Milk Chocolate Chantilly, Peanut Brittle, and Chocolate Cake” in The Modern Cafe by Francisco J. Migoya and said aha! This is it!

I switched it up a little and kind of pieced together my own version of this amazing cake.

Peanut Butter Mousse
adapted from Stephanie’s Kitchen

3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cups creamy peanut butter
2 cups heavy cream(cold)
1 tablespoons vanilla extract

In a bowl combine the heavy cream and vanilla with a hand mixer whip until stiff peaks form. Place in the refrigerator while you move on to the next step to keep the whipped cream chilled.

In a bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar, milk and peanut butter. With a hand mixer beat until smooth and creamy.

Place a 9″ x 6″ round ring mold over a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap. Pipe the chilled mousse into the mold and smooth top with an off-set spatula and freeze.

Refrigerate until very cold.

Peanut Butter Mousse

Peanut Butter Mousse

Peanut Butter Mousse

Milk Chocolate Chantilly
adapted from The Modern cafe by Francisco J. Migoya

500 g heavy cream
160 g milk chocolate

Bring the heavy cream to a boil Pour over the chocolate blend until uniform then refrigerate. Once chocolate is cool enough beat until stiff peaks are formed. Pipe whipped cream into 9″ ring frame (I didn’t have a second ring frame so I used my 9″ tart pan which has a removable bottom), then top with chopped pieces of homemade butterfinger carefully pressing them down into the chantilly level off with an off-set spatula if necessary and freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.

Chocolate Chantilly

Here’s the recipe for the Homemade Butterfinger Candy

Homemade Butterfinger Candy

Chocolate Cupcakes Cake
adapted from A Year In Chocolate by Jacques Torres

3 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 cups cake flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a bowl combine the chopped chocolate and the cocoa powder. Pour the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool at room temperature.

Chocolate cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

In a bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.

Add the brown sugar and continue to beat until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and continue to beat just until incorporated.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in the sour cream, and vanilla until blended.

Add the sifted flour and melted chocolate mixture in thirds alternating each one and beating only until combined.

115
Pour cake batter onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove pan from the oven and place over wire rack to cool. Cake can be frozen once cooled.

Chocolate cake

Cake Assembly
1/2 cup melted/tempered milk chocolate

When ready to assemble, remove the peanut butter mousse and the chocolate chantilly round from the freezer.

Place the frozen chocolate chantilly round on top of the peanut butter mousse with the candy pieces facing the mousse. (I made mine the other way around, but I think this would work even better)

Using the same size ring mold cut out a piece of the sheet cake and brush the top with tempered chocolate to create a thin layer. Then place the chocolate covered side of the cake facing the chantilly. This is will act as a bonding agent between the chantilly and the cake. Press the cake into the mold to avoid any air pockets and return to freezer.

When ready to serve allow cake to thaw out in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Place your serving platter over the cake and flip, the ring should slide off easily.

Chocolate cake

Peanut Butter Extravaganza Cake

Josh

Final note, the birthday boy loved his cake! As did everyone else…

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This month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Cat from Little Miss Cupcake.

I can’t tell you how excited and freaked out, I was when I logged into the The Daring Kitchen website to see what the Daring Bakers’ challenge was going to be for the month of May and found out it was going to be Croquembouche.

Some people find macarons intimidating… well, I found this challenge completely and utterly intimidating.

For starters up to this point I had never made Pâte à choux (Choux pastry) and the thought of having to make close to 100 profiteroles in order to create a decent size Croquembouche sent shivers down my spine.

Nonetheless, deep down inside (way deep…) I’ve always wanted to make one, and now thanks to Cat… the perfect opoortunity presented it self.

Croquembouche
Up to this point you might be asking yourself why in the world would the title of this post be Pièce Tombée (fallen piece) if the top most pictures look like it’s well put together?

So, I will try to explain my adventures in Croquembouche making using the Cliff Notes version.

  • Started making cream puffs about a week and a half ago
  • Stored them in freezer
  • Made coffee flavored pastry cream
  • Thawed puffs and filled them with pastry cream
  • Made Caramel Glaze and started putting together the Croquembouche
  • Took a couple of pictures Wednesday night ( the two you saw above)
  • Had plans to drizzle Croquembouche with a dark chocolate glaze and take final pictures for post the following morning
  • Thursday morning ran into pantry looking for chocolate, and realized I had none
  • The night before I went to the store and was going to pick some up; decided I shouldn’t because I was certain I had plenty at home
  • Dissapointed in my lack of memory I got ready, left for work and decided I would continue working on it once I got home
  • Once I got home, I was informed by my husband that when he got home he found a bunch of “those things from the dessert I was working on” on the floor


So there you have it… THE END.

PS: This isn’t the last of battle Croquembouche, you can bet there will be a rematch!

Just in case you want to attempt this little battle yourself below are a few recipes that you might find useful.

Oh, and if you are in need of a little Culinary challenge be sure and visit The Daring Kitchen for great cooking and/or baking adventures.

Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)
from

¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Preparing batter:
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.

Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Eggs
Butter & Water
Pate Choux
Pate Choux
Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly. Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny.

Pate Choux
Pate Choux
As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes. It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.

Pate Choux

Pate Choux

Pate Choux

Piping:
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide.
Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.

Croquembouche

Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.

Coffee Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 Tsp. instant espresso powder disolved in 1 1/2 Tsp. boiling water

Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.

Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.

Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking.

Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla and disolved instant espresso powder.

Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.

Coffee Pastry Cream

Hard Caramel Glaze
1 cup (225 g.) sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice

Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a metal kitchen spoon stirring until the sugar resembles wet sand. Place on medium heat; heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pan and the center begins to smoke. Begin to stir sugar. Continue heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar is a clear, amber color. Remove from heat immediately; place bottom of pan in ice water to stop the cooking. Use immediately.

Caramel Glaze

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I know it’s a little late, but better late than never right?

For Mother’s Day I thought it would be a great idea to drive into LA and visit The Getty Center, since no one in the family had been there before.

The Getty Center
Well, we didn’t get to the center until about 2pm and there was a bit of traffic, go figure. We were lucky enough to find a parking spot at the very bottom of the parking structure, seven stories underground, the further down we drove the more I prayed for no earthquakes.

In a way it was a good thing we ended up at the very bottom, the elevetor kept stopping on every floor on the way up but no one else could get on because it was completely full.

My Favorite Pieces
I really enjoyed the museum. You can just imagine how crowded it was, so we didn’t really take too much time admiring each piece. We definitely have plans to pay it a follow-up visit.

View
The boys and I stepped outside to enjoy the views of LA, Santa Monica, and of course LA traffic.

Eye Candy
We enjoyed a very yummy dinner at Samba in Universal City, to my surprise both mom and dad enjoyed a little eye candy. Not sure why but all of a sudden I got this really strong craving for Jarlesburg Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

Dessert
After dinner we went exploring (dessert hunting) down City Walk, the boys felt like having donuts. Oh and don’t let that picture fool you, dessert sharing is a very rare event for those two.

My oldest and I chose to have ice cream… go figure.

Chocolate
After dessert we wondered into Mercado Chocolate, they have pretty much a little of everything, from the yummiest treats to the freakiest.

Crepes

And finally we arrive at the last photo taken that fine Sunday afternoon at the crepe shoppe (I can’t remember the name of the place), here we are just staring through the window as these very talented teens whip up perfect little crepes in a matter of minutes.

Now to today’s recipe, since I am no where near as talented as those teens were, nor have I yet to acquire a “proper” crepe pan. I bought my crepes pre-made, hence the “Quick” in the title. Who knows how many batches of crepe batter I would have had to go through to get 1 decent crepe.

Quick Berry Crepes

10 crepes
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blackberries
powedered sugar & additional berries for garnish (optional)

Pour the heavy cream into a medium sized bowl, and whip to medium peaks.

Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Fold berries into the whipped cream carefully.

Place approximately half a cup of the whipped cream with berries down the center of each crepe, then roll up carefully.

Top with powdered sugar and a few berries.

Quick Berry Crepes

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Please don’t judge, to tell you the truth… and I’m almost embarresed to admit it. I had no idea nor had I heard of Donna Hay, until Mardi from Eat Live Travel Write invited me to participate in this event – Hay Hay it’s Donna Day (HHDD).

Isn’t it funny as soon as someone points something out to you, you seem to come across it more often then ever before? Like a coworker’s bad habbit, or tick. You just hear white noise until someone point it out, then unfortunately it’s there… for ever present.

So, like I said I haddn’t heard of Donna Hay until just a couple of days ago. Then, just this week I was at Barnes and Noble, I made a quick stop just to pick up my daily Americano fix.

As I was browsing through their endless magazine racks in the, what else? Culinary section I stumpled upon, yep you guessed it. A Doona Hay magazine, I did a double take once I saw it and I was about to pick it up and browse through it when I heard my coffee order was ready.

I was running late and didn’t have time to look through it. I do however intend to go back and take a quick gander, becuase now I’m just intrigued ‘cmon I hear she is the “Australian” Martha Stewart?!?!

Before we move on to the recipe I would like to quickly thank Denise of Chez Us for being our facilitator and for keeping the HHDD tradition going. – Feel free to invite me anytime dessert is involved! :)

Donna Hay's Blackberry Cheesecake Pots


Mardi picked a great dessert for us to share with you, it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s tasty, and… it’s perfect for summer. So enjoy!

Donna Hay’s Blackberry Cheesecake Pots
adapted from

Ingredients

250 grams cream cheese
1/4 cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 grams fresh blackberries, divided
8 biscotti, to serve

Method

In a small bowl whip the heavy cream with a whisk attachment. In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar, whipped cream and vanilla extrack beat with paddle attachment or regular beaters until smooth.

Donna Hay's Blackberry Cheesecake Pots
Donna Hay's Blackberry Cheesecake Pots
Add half (60 grams) of the fresh black berries to the bowl and beat on medium speed until just crushed.

Spoon into 4 x ½ cup-capacity (125ml) dishes and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Donna Hay's Blackberry Cheesecake Pots

Serve with the biscotti and the remaining (60 grams) of blackberries. Serves 4.

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