Oh Sweet Day!

Maple Apple Lattice Shortbread Tart

July 1, 2015 by Fanny | 4 Comments

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Happy Canada Day!

The heat wave has been treating us really well. Like extremely well. We’ve experienced gorgeous weather since May. And the high temperature of over 30 degrees recently has really gotten us into nothing but staying in the pool with the kids FOR THE WHOLE DAY! Because nothing is better than this. Hmmmm… Maybe air-conditioning?! But I’m sure we would still be hanging at the backyard. Sun-tanning by the water is our thing!

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So we don’t have air-conditioning in our house, but I’m never shy of baking in the oven or cooking on the stove. Because eating is also our thing! I was all crazy and cooked up a huge batch of English toffee on a stove in the hot afternoon yesterday. You know when craving comes along, it’s just too hard to not deal with it.

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Baking a pie or tart is also considered insane under this warm weather. But you know that tub of vanilla ice cream were nagging about being too bored sitting in the freezer. And eating it plain is just even boring. So I had to cook that apple filling and bake the tart. Well! All sweaty! Yet with that fragrance of butter, cinnamon, maple and apple around the house. And you know something awesome is coming along. Totally worth it!

Ingredients (one 9 x 3-inch tart):

Shortbread Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Apple Filling
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cubed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 

Directions:

To prepare crust, sift the flour and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and powdered sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Gather dough and form a dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to chill.

To prepare apple filling, put apples, butter, sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon in a skillet. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft and almost fall apart into a puree. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a tart pan with a removable bottom.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Line the prepared pan with the rolled dough. Leave a tiny overhand of dough. Use a small kitchen knife to trim the excess and to score the tops of the tart.

Roll the remaining dough out and cut into 1/2 inch width strips. Lay 3 or 4 strips over the filling, evenly spaced, and then weave with the remaining strips diagonally. Adhere the ends to the edge of the shell.

Bake the tart for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is slightly brown on the edges.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Mango Curd Shortbread Tartlet

June 23, 2015 by Fanny | 12 Comments

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Mangoes are delicious! Perfectly ripped ones are full of intense flavour and sweetness. Exquisite, rich and unique flavour that no other fruits can ever replace!

We love to eat mangoes just plain. We also like to make treats with them. Popsicles, mousse cake, and oh ice cream. Yes! Mango ice cream. Exactly what I need right now!

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It involves a lot of peeling, cutting, pitting and sieving when “dealing” with mangoes. I won’t lie, it’s a very messy job. Despite the fact that I don’t necessary hate to do all these, it was quite hassle-free to just open a can of mango puree that my mother-in-law gave me the other day and use it. No cutting. No sieving. No nothing. You don’t have to wait until your mangoes are ripe enough. Or even if you can’t get your hands on really good mangoes, you will find that canned puree mango provides the best and most intense mango flavour that you’ve ever asked for.

Now these tartlets. OMG!!! is probably my only expression. The mango curd goes super well with the shortbread crust or the opposite. I don’t know. I don’t care. If you have any mango curd leftover, eat it with a spoon. That’s my most sincere advice. No regrets!

I love things petite sizes. Mini cakes, tartlets, babies…Yes I want to eat them sometimes, especially their chubby legs. If you are like me, you might be inspired after you check out this collection of some delicious and pretty tartlets.

Check out Chic and Delicious Tartlets Perfect for Summer Party

by Oh Sweet Day! at Mode

Ingredients (15 tartlets):

Shortbread Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mango Curd
1 cup mango puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Others
1 cup fresh blueberry
1/2 cup whipping cream
 

Directions:

In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt.

Cream butter and powdered sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Gather dough and form a dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 3 1/2-inch tarlet pans.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 5-inch rounds. Line the prepared pans with the dough circles. Use a small kitchen knife to trim the excess and to score the tops of the tartlets.

Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before baking for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden.

Remove from oven and let the tart shells cool a few minutes before inverting and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

If you don’t have enough pans or you want to make less tartlets, work with half of the cookie dough. Keep the other half in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

To prepare mango curd, in a large heat-proof bowl, mix mango puree, sugar, lime juice and salt thoroughly.

Whisk in the egg yolks and mix until thoroughly combined.

Set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Keep whisking until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Push the mango curd through the sieve and into a bowl to make it super smooth. Let cool to room temperature. Pour the mango curd into the prepare tart shells, and place in refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

Before serving, whip heavy cream until firm peaks form. Garnish the tartlets with whipped cream and blueberries.

DAD U ROCK Cake

June 19, 2015 by Fanny | 4 Comments

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My husband has been a Coach of Everything for the kids this year. Hockey, baseball, soccer…Their teams call out for coach volunteers, he signs up for it. He enjoys being there for the kids. The kids seem motivated and proud to have his father on the ice/field. They are the better team with his father around.

I asked my son what’s the best part about daddy being his coach, he said, “He rocks!”

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And here comes this cake topper.

Last year I came up with this DIY cake topper idea for a Mother’s Day Cake. Since then I’ve been really addictive with this cake decoration method. Again, it’s very easy to make. And it’s way more heart-warming than piping messages on cake. You can simply write anything you want and present it in a more dramatic and passionate way.

Here is the key: outline words in a thick font, so it won’t break as easily. However, if it does break, it’s not the end of the world. Simply glue it back with the candy melts. Afterall it doesn’t have to be perfect. I just love it rustic yet full of heart!

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Ingredients (one 5-inch layered cake): 

Cake Topper
1 cup candy melts, color of your choice
1 tablespoon canola oil (if melted candy is too thick to pipe)
Cake
3 large eggs, room temperature, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
Coconut Buttercream
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons coconut milk
 

Directions:

To make cake topper, outline a template of DAD U ROCK in a relatively thick font on a paper. Place a parchment paper over it.

Place candy melts in a microwaveable Ziploc bag. Microwave on high for 20 to 30 seconds to completely melt the candy melts.  Add oil if it’s too thick to pipe. Push the melted candy toward one corner of the bag. With a pair of scissors, snip off a very small opening.

Start piping the candy over the template, starting with the outline. Then fill the inside.

Let it dry completely before peeling the cake topper off the parchment paper.

Flip the cake topper over, place a toothpick on the back of the cake topper, leaving half out to insert in the cake. Glue the toothpick with candy melts. Let it dry completely.

To prepare cake layers, preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line the bottom of two 5-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Scrape the meringue in another bowl. Set aside.

In the same mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and remaining sugar on high speed until thick and light in color, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Mix for another minute.

Sift flour over the top of egg yolk mixture, followed by folding in half of the meringue.

Fold the rest of the meringue into the batter until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pans evenly and smooth the top.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around the cake edge and place the cake on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut cakes horizontally to make four cake layers.

To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla and coconut milk, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.

To assemble the cake, sandwich each cake layer with a thick layer of buttercream. Smear a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake to create the “naked”effect.

Carefully place the cake topper on the cake.

Cover and refrigerate the cake. Leave out in room temperature for at least an hour prior to serving.

Spring 2015

June 17, 2015 by Fanny | 2 Comments

Dear Ethan and Maya,

Here came June, meaning spring was over and we are heading into summer. But wait! Haven’t we been having summer for the past month already? And that’s right! The weather has been so nice and warm that it felt like spring wasn’t here at all. Over the past weekend, we couldn’t wait and put out the water slide and you both with our neighbour’s kids spent the whole afternoon in the backyard soaking in the sun. And I’ve started to worry about how we keep it up until September because by next week you will start to get bored. And we will all die!

That’s true. The thing about boredom! An incurable disease that hits kids especially hard. “Do we have to drive for a long time to get there?” This question pretty much sums up why a year ago your father decided to put an iPad in the car so you could watch shows on the road. There were “Are we there yet?” and “How much longer?” and more “Are we there yet?” and then “I’M SO BORED!” and then more “How much longer?” and more “Why is it taking so long?” And it was just before we started the car.

As adults we have lived enough life to understand that having a long ride is pretty low on the level of devastating circumstances. But kids? Staying in the car for more than 5 MINUTES is worse than dying in a shark attack.

But last month I decided to take that damn thing out of the car after you finished all the episodes that your father had uploaded. So what do you do now? Kick! Kicking has become one of your major activities in the car. And it makes sense considered when strapped in car seats, you can probably only maneuver your legs to reach and destroy things when arms are not long enough. After weeks of kick fighting and having my seat kicked at the back, we’ve started to be able to talk about the buildings and people on the road, take a nap or listen to some music. Except we have to endure this:

Before summer started, I hoped we could have a chance to pause and put ourselves back together after a busy spring. Hockey, dance, swimming, golfing, skating, baseball, all these activities that filled up your time when you were not in school. A lot of “I don’t wanna go!”, “I don’t wanna play in the rain!”, “It’s too sweaty!”, “Why I never get to be the goalie, mom?!” Yes, complains! Complains about five-minute drive to the gas station. About too sunny outside. About not sunny outside. About too bored staying home but too much fun doing activities. Plain complains that don’t do us any justice considered the amount of pick-ups and drop-offs that we have to do.

I never like to hear you whine. No parents do! But sometimes it also comes with “Mom, I can’t sleep. I wanna go to the tournament now!”, “TWO GOALS! I scored two goals today!” “Whoa! I had my first home run!” “Yeah! Baseball tomorrow! I love baseball! I wish it’s tomorrow now!!!” And then every minute Maya, you would ask, “Is now tomorrow?” And when I’d tell you that it wasn’t until you sleep and wake up again, you’d let out a huge sigh, one so dramatic that I would think that you’d just been spared a death sentence. And then I know I have to feel gratified that we were able to give you that feeling.

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Ethan, you lost your first tooth over the past few months. A lot of your friends have lost a multitude of teeth by this age. Like they have already had their grown-up teeth, and your baby teeth were still around not wanting to go anywhere soon. Except sometimes you would come up with some imaginary tooth wiggling scenarios hoping this was actually happening. And then we would all go, “No! It’s not going to happen until you’re twenty.”

Therefore when I picked you up at spring camp the other day, you came running to me with your mouth open, and I saw a big hole between your teeth, I didn’t know how to react. Did you finally tie a string to that tooth and give the other end to Maya and let nature takes it course? Because you simply could not wait! Turned out that tooth magically fell out when you were playing basketball. I am glad that you didn’t swallow it because as far as I know tooth fairy doesn’t visit toilet.

A few days after basketball played its magic, another tooth started to take its action. One night over dinner your father noticed that you were fiddling with your loose tooth. The same loose tooth that he has threatened to yank for the past few days. So TEETH PULLING, an activity that I would happily turn down if given the choice between that and fighting a shark attack. Only the thought of a tooth root tearing out of the gum…OH MY GOD! So when your father asked me to feel your tooth to see how loose it was, I was all I TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT. You are in charge of this one!

Your father wiggled the tooth back and forth. At first it seemed like it wasn’t time, maybe it needed a few more days to loosen up a bit more. We waited to see if dinner would move things along, and twenty minutes after your usual bedtime we were all in the bathroom – me, you sitting on the bathroom countertop facing your father, Maya there as our cheering squad. You winced and grimaced and my dinner danced in my throat as your father feverishly twisted and pushed and pulled and coaxed. Finally, one last tug… BOOM! A tiny tooth sat in his hand. It was over! And you looked in the mirror in disbelief. You mouth was full of blood. Your breathing was so heavy as if you were on the verge of crying.

“Ethan, are you okay?” I asked, worried you were freaking out at the sight of blood. You didn’t answer me for a few second, then you finally turned your head to look at me. “What? Me? I’m totally fine!” Like what did you do today, Mom? I just lost a tooth AND I’M STILL STANDING!

It was forty-five minutes later – I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING, FORTY PLUS FIVE MINUTES OF MY LIFE LOST TO THAT DAMN TOOTH! Also, I was thinking…would it be tacky to collect all your teeth so that eventually I could arrange them in a neat little pattern and then glue them to a mirror like seashells? Because think how you would be convinced to have children if you knew that you had something like that to look forward to.

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I’ve said it here many times that, Maya, you are at your happiest when allowed to change outfits at least four times a day. A four-year-old who is very picky about which pants she wants to wear with which shirt. And it’d better be a dress because DRESSES ARE AWESOME! Every day you ask, “Where am I going tomorrow?” And when I tell you that I haven’t figured it out yet, you will go, “Okay, phew! I haven’t picked out what I’m going to wear yet!”

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Over the past month I was cleaning out your closet for summer. You were pretty excited when you saw your collection of summer dresses. Except you started to get frustrated after you tried them on because all the dresses I bought last summer are now hitting you about three to four inches above your knees. You pointed toward your almost fully exposed thighs and ask, “Why is it so short?!”

Why is it so short?! Oh god. You weren’t ever supposed to reach this stage in your life. You were going to be a little girl and I’d never have to explain what an “underwire” is. This makes me want to call my mom and ask her how in the hell she survived it when I first had my period.

“Maya,” I answered. “It’s called ‘growing’ and it happens to everyone. That’s why you’ve grown so much taller now.”

“Are you sure? That’s A LOT!!!”

“I don’t know. Maybe not,’ I said as I closed my eyes. “Actually I’ve been secretly shrinking your clothes because getting both of you ready and out of the house in the morning wasn’t chaotic enough.”

Yeah! You’re right! Maya, that’s A LOT!!! A lot longer legs and arms. I’ve always wondered why it looks like you are growing your brother’s growth because you both are almost the same size. And people who first met you both would ask me, “So who’s older again?”

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And the truth is that you both are getting along more like best friends than siblings. You both hang out a lot. A LOT! You play together, eat together, do things together. You simply enjoy being together. One fantastic thing about it is that you both seem to look forward to going to school together which is happening very soon. And I simply cannot stop dreaming about one pick-up and one drop-off. JUST ONE! ONE! And Maya, you will stop asking me “Am I going to Ethan’s school today?” and just be there as long as your childhood takes you. Since the day we pulled you out from daycare, you haven’t stopped assuming that you are going to school with Ethan right after. You can’t wait! You know all the teachers, kids and parents. When we pick up Ethan together, you run through the school hallway, playground, class rooms. You know the school. You are ready and excited to know what’s going on inside.

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We are two weeks away from school being out and ready to enjoy the early arrival of this summer. Camping, biking, swimming, BBQ parties, more biking and more swimming. Wrinkle toes, tan lines, sunscreen, damp beach towels, wet feet, dripping pony tails…another break before school starts again.

The other day I asked your brother if he would take care of you at school, he said he would play with you if he couldn’t find his friends. And in fact you’ve told me the same thing. I take it as at the end you know who to look for when no one is there for you.

Love,
Mommy

Dark Chocolate Macaron Espresso Ice Cream Sandwich

June 16, 2015 by Fanny | 6 Comments

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Again, I AM NOT A BIG MACARON FAN! But I make a lot because people love them. And hence we have leftovers, and turns out we eat a lot of macarons too. Ironic! I know! But it’s a happy life when you get to have something sweet from time to time. I should try to complain less.

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My approach to macarons is to make it the way I like them to be. I make less sweeter and more saltier buttercream to go with the inevitably sweet macaron shells to balance the flavours. That’s one way to do it. But then I’ve also realized that macarons are probably one of the perfect cookies to go with ice cream too. Isn’t that exciting? Only hearing “Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich” already makes you scream, doesn’t it?!

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These cookies stay chewy and airy when frozen. The freezing cold and creamy ice cream softens the sweetness of the macaron shells. I went with the combination of dark chocolate and espresso. And each bite of these babies were divine. I think it’s time to explore other flavours.

Ingredients (about 20 sandwiches):

Espresso Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Espresso powder
4 large egg yolks
Dark Chocolate Macarons
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup almond flour
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
 

Directions:

To prepare the ice cream, in a medium saucepan, combine milk, heavy cream, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and Espresso powder. Bring mixture to simmer, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar in a medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in half of the warm cream mixture, mix until blended. Stir yolk mixture into the remaining cream mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Strain custard into another medium bowl. Let cool over a bowl of ice water, or chill in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally.

Process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, level the top, cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

To prepare the macarons, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Put a master template under the parchment paper or draw 2-inch circles in rows on the paper, about 1 inch apart.

Process powdered sugar, cocoa powder and almond flour in a food processor until finely ground. Sift the mixture through a sieve. If there are more than 2 tablespoons of large chunks left in the sieve, grind them and sift again. Set the mixture aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to high and beat until very stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Sift the almond flour mixture over the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites until the ingredients are combined and the mixture has loosened and falls in a ribbon from the spatula.

Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip and fill the bag with the batter. Using the template as a guide, pipe circles onto the parchment papers.

Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release trapped air bubbles. Let the cookies stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes until the surface of the cookie shells is completely dry to touch. This allows the cookies to develop their crusts.

Preheat oven to 325F. Bake the macarons for 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not browned.

Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the macarons to cool completely on the pans. Once cooled, gently lift half of the cookies from the parchment paper and turn them upside down.

To assemble the sandwiches, remove ice cream from the freezer, use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out a disc of ice cream and place it on top of one cookie. Place another cookie on top of the ice cream. Lightly press to adhere the sandwich.

Serve immediately. Or wrap each sandwich with plastic wrap and place them in the freezer.

Earl Grey Teacake with Lemon Glaze

June 9, 2015 by Fanny | 7 Comments

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What would be better than cakes? Mini cakes. I love making 5-inch cakes, mini loaf cakes and mini cupcakes. They look adorable and chic. Just a tiny bit of decoration will make your bake goods look beautiful and elegant. Sometimes even no decoration is the best decoration. The petite cake speaks for itself.

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When I bake for my family’s daily consumption, I always go with small cakes. We just don’t want to have the same cake for days and it’s still not finished. Four of us!

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This teacake is meant to be shared. It’s delicious with the subtle Earl Grey flavour from the cake and the fresh citrus flavour from the glaze. Perfect tea snack to bring a loaf or two to your friend or your mother-in-law on a Saturday afternoon.

Ingredients (one regular loaf or 3 mini loaves):

Earl Grey Tea Infused Cake
2/3 cup whole milk
4 Earl Grey tea bags
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
Lemon Glaze
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar 
Others
a few dried rose buds
 

Directions:

To prepare the cake(s), heat milk in microwave until just start boiling. Place tea bags in milk and let it steep for 30 minutes, and the mixture is at room temperature. Discard the tea bags.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan or a few mini muffin pans.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Add sour cream and vanilla into the milk and tea mixture. Mix well and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix canola oil and sugar on medium-high speed until well combined. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add eggs until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the liquid mixture, mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Pour batter evenly among prepared pan(s). Bake the cake for 30 minutes for a regular sized loaf or 20 minutes for mini loaves, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely.

To prepare the glaze, mix lemon juice and the powdered sugar together, and whisk slowly until slightly thickened and pourable.

Spoon glaze over the cake(s) and decorate with edible rose petals if preferred.

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake

June 3, 2015 by Fanny | 6 Comments

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These two days have been cloudy and even a little rainy. And we Vancouverites are abnormally fine with that, because before that we have had weeks of nice weather that felts like mid-summer. And it was before June! My running tank tan lines have emerged, and my son has literally become darker than anyone you see in Africa. We were so close to pull out our inflatable pool.

We can’t be happier for the extract weeks of summer!

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Lots of kids-friendly ice cream flavours and cold dessert ideas are in the making. But I figured maybe we should entertain the adults first this time. My family is crazy about tiramisu. Like they would never say no and finish that big dish of tiramisu no matter how many times they’ve already had it for maybe just past two weeks?! That’s why the idea of this tiramisu ice cream cake came pretty naturally. Who would say no to ice cream? Of the flavour that everybody likes?

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Ingredients (one loaf-sized cake):

Tiramisu Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
Others
22 to 24 ladyfingers
1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee or espresso, cooled
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 

Directions:

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving at least 3 inches overhang.

To prepare the ice cream, in a medium saucepan, combine milk, heavy cream, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Bring mixture to simmer, stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar in a medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in half of the warm cream mixture, mix until blended. Stir yolk mixture into the remaining cream mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add Mascarpone cheese and stir until completely melted and mixture is smooth.

Strain custard into another medium bowl. Let cool over a bowl of ice water, or chill in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally.

Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

To assemble, dip ladyfingers, one at a time, into the espresso and arrange in a single layer on the bottom of the prepare loaf pan. Spread 1/3 of the ice cream over the ladyfingers. Dust 1/3 of the cocoa powder on top. Then another layer of ladyfingers,  mascarpone filling, cocoa powder, ladyfngers and mascarpone filling.

Place the pan in freezer to firm up, at least 30 minutes.

To serve, lift cake from pan using plastic wrap overhang. Place cake upside down on a serving plate. Remove plastic wrap. Dust top of cake with cocoa powder. Slice and serve.

Espresso Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookie

June 1, 2015 by Fanny | 6 Comments

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What’s so special about these cookies is that they are not your regular chocolate chip cookies. They have espresso and sea salt. And that’s all it takes to make these cookies so exquisitely delicious and addictive.

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Chocolate chip cookies are quite personal. I like mine with dark chocolate chunks, have to be dark and have to be chunks. There is something about cutting out your chocolate pieces from a chocolate bar that I can never turn away  from when I am making my chocolate chip cookies.

Adding sea salt is another addiction of mine that I will have to tell the world. Because it simply takes your cookies to a whole new level. The oceanic saltiness goes perfectly well with the sweetness from the brown sugar and the chocolate. If you are not into coffee or whatever, just listen to me and try adding a little sea salt in your next batch of chocolate chip cookies. Come back and I am sure we will become friends!

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Ingredients (around 24 cookies):

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
100 grams dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
1 tablespoon flaked sea salt
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

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

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in egg until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in vanilla until well combined.

Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.  Then add chopped chocolate.

Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls place onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave an inch apart between cookies. Sprinkles sea salt on top of each cookie ball.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edge is slightly brown. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Carnival Chocolate Cake

May 28, 2015 by Fanny | 7 Comments

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If you are a parent and you have a toddler, you may have come across with the book I Spy: A Book of Picture Riddles. And the chances are you may have been amazed how interactive this book could be with your kid. Even though this book is primarily pictures that require to be solve by finding the items needed, there is a lot of brain power being used. A very clever way to visually engage your kids. However, the depth of the pictures can be quite deceiving. It’s striking how they hide things in plain sight but make it impossible to find. My son and I would come back to the book day after day to find that damn ball of yarn.

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The reason why I mentioned this interesting book is because this cake was inspired by it. I made this cake for my son’s school spring carnival, and carnival is probably one of the most frequently used themes in the book.

I spy a moose walking on a carnival land of ganache and sprinkles. Do you?!

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Ingredients (one 5-inch 3-layer cake):

Chocolate Cake
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
Chocolate Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
Chocolate Ganache
50 grams dark chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
Others
2 tablespoons colorful sprinkles
 

Directions:

To prepare cake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 5-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Crack in the egg, spoon in the sour cream, and pour in the oil and the vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Pour in the boiling water, and slowly mix until smooth and liquidy.

Divide batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cakes cool completely.

Run a pairing knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Peel off the parchment paper circles.

To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn the mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla, heavy cream and cocoa powder, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on your serving plate and spread with 1/4 cup of the buttercream. Place another cake layer on top, and gently press down a little bit. Spread with another 1/4 cup of the buttercream. Place the last layer of cake on top, smear the remaining buttercream on the top and sides of the cake. Cover and refrigerate.

To prepare ganache, place the chocolate and heavy cream in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture using a wooden spoon until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Remove cake from the refrigerator. Pour ganache over the top of the cakes. Use an offset spatula to gently push the ganache over the sides of the cake to create the dripping effect.

Scatter sprinkles on top of the ganache and gently press some on the sides of the cake.

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

May 26, 2015 by Fanny | 7 Comments

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Sponge cake with or without butter?! I’ve tried both. And honestly I couldn’t tell the difference at all. Sometimes I just feel like to have a little fat eating that slice of cake because cake and butter are best friends. But I will have to say that the tempering process of adding the melted butter into a small portion of cake batter before mixing it to the rest can really be a pain in the ass. It could be the separated cake batter, deflated cake layers, or gummy tasted cake.

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That’s why I understand why people never go back to using butter in their sponge cake. Only three basic ingredients (eggs, sugar and flour) and you are ready to easily whip up a classic sponge cake with no fuss at all. The cake is delicious, light and airy. It’s so versatile that it can go with anything. Whipped cream, jam, buttercream, chocolate ganache, vanilla glaze…

One of my favourite cakes in summer is the one with tons of whipped cream and berries. It looks beautiful, summery and cheerful. And it tastes delicious, light and fluffy! And when I said berries, I meant it could be any berries. Like this one with raspberries. And you know you should try mixed berries because it will look stunningly beautiful!

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By the way, if you still have way too much strawberries not knowing what to do, check this out!

Check out Best Yes-We-Can-Eat-Too-Much-Strawberries Desserts

by Oh Sweet Day! at Mode

Ingredients (one 8-inch layered cake):

6 large eggs, room temperature, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup cake flour, sifted
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup good quality strawberry jam
3 cups fresh strawberries
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Scrape the meringue in another bowl. Set aside.

In the same mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar on high speed until thick and light in color, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Mix for another minute.

Sift flour and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over top of egg yolk mixture, followed by folding in half of the meringue.

Fold the rest of the meringue into the batter until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pans evenly and smooth the top.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around the cake edge and place the cake on a wire rack to cool completely.

Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until it holds stiff peak.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on your serving plate and spread half of the jam. Spread half of the whipped cream on top. Place slice strawberries along the edge of the cake, and scatter some in the centre. Top with another cake layer, followed with jam, cream and strawberries.

Chill the cake until ready to serve. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top before serving.

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