you know how much i love junko's roll cake and among so many roll cake recipes i've tried, hers is still the best in terms of taste, texture and flexibility in rolling. like a good basic macaron batter, all you need is just one to experiment with other endless flavor possibilities. i'm not usually a fan of instant coffee from grocery stores since most are too acidic for my liking but i went to isetan last weekend and chanced upon this UCC one from japan which is really really good. its not acidic at all and is pretty strong and full-bodied so i decided to add it into my favorite recipe to make a coffee roll cake. also jazzed it up a little by adding cocoa powder to part of the batter to make the dots. turned out fab!
happy birthday to me! :)
for my birthday this year i chose to make a rainbow layered cake instead of an entremet. i think the pastel version looks way better compared to one done in primary colors. i used junko's roll cake recipe since i really liked it then used a meringue frosting for the cake. i adorned it with a gumpaste flower from the baking supply shop. never used to like their flowers but this one caught my eye (though i have no idea what this is). it looks like a cross between my favorite peony and ranunculus. definitely looking to make other ombré/pastel versions of this someday!
wow ok, it must be eons ago (10 months, to be exact!) since i last made an entremet. i was afraid if i don't make one soon, i'll *really* forget how to do it. i was in a mood for something pink and pretty so i decided on a berry entremet. while no stranger to berry entremets (i've made countless - hidemi sugino's paradis, fruits rouges, sous bois etc), i've not made a sliced one like this so i was really looking forward to it.
i've been seeing (and buying) lots of korean-authored cookbooks lately. at first glance they could easily be mistaken for japanese ones because the recipes and style of pictures look pretty similar but i actually think they're more interesting since the korean ones incorporate more unusual ingredients, plus lots of fruit and vegetables into their bakes. think fresh grape tart, tomato yogurt mousse verrines and purple sweet potato jam. their photography also look way better! so its japanese for entremet books and korean for the more homey bakes. this cookie caught my eye because it looks really cute. i've seen iced cookies in this manner but not one where bits of torn cocoa dough are scattered randomly on top of plain dough and then rolled out to create this gorgeous pattern.
lately i've been really crazy over greek yogurt. i find it creamier and less sour compared to the usual plain unflavored yogurt and i've been eating it regularly these days. its really versatile and you could dress it up any way you want. flavored yogurt from the supermarkets are too sweet and sugar laden and adding just a bit of fruit compote or jam to greek yogurt really makes it taste like storebought and but so much better.
the girlfriend went to taiwan again and gifted me with a box of chocorons from sadaharu AOKI, taipei! arent these gorgeous? chocorons are basically chocolate-coated macarons and we were discussing about aoki's desserts on whatsapp just before she went on her trip, didnt expect her to actually get me a box of these. don't i just have the awesomest girlfriends? they always bring me stuff from patisseries out of town :D
realized i had not been posting pics of my macarons for quite sometime! biz is still as brisk as ever but i did try to squeeze in sometime to experiment with one or two new flavors. also happy to have new packaging(s) finally! above pic shows a white drawer box and i love its simplicity so i can feel free to play around with ribbons and stickers.
junko has done it again, this time in the form of decorated mushipan (steamed cup bread). she's probably most well known for her decorated roll cakes but she actually has a few other books on decorated desserts like puddings and cookies as well. i only saw this book recently at the store so i reckon this must be her latest. was actually not very keen on making mushipan again after the first attempt (it was really dry) but the cute decorations really wowed me. theres even one on alpaca. did you know alpacas are really big in japan? they've got plush toys, stationery and stuff. who would have thought?
the weather had been so amazingly warm lately its really unbearable. on some days, temperature would soar to 34 or 35C (95F) during the afternoons and there would be long queues especially at the drinks stalls or ice cream trucks. honestly its like a vicious cycle. sweetened beverages just do not quench thirst, neither do ice creams. and after having those, you'll just realized you're not really satisfied then you want more. what a great way to consume additional calories! i needed something low-cal, refreshing and with the abundance of citruses around, make something fun using them.
it was mothers day yesterday, hope you guys had a great time celebrating the occasion! even though i did make a roll cake for our early celebration dinner last week, it was more like a cake i made for the mothers in my family and not for my mom herself so i really wanted to make her something personally. i recently discovered how to make a genoise properly and have had fantastic results from this recipe i used so i thought a shortcake would bring out the genoise nicely. my mom loves mangoes and even though i've not attempted this version i went ahead with it.
i was really inspired by this roll cake i saw on a japanese blog recently. it was so pretty i wanted to do the same. i've always thought about making a roll cake like this and felt it would also look great to use it to line the sides of an entremet, like hidemi sugino's fruits rouges. it would look far better if i had just used this instead of a joconde piped with jam as it resulted in deep unsightly gashes after baking.
its funny how things work sometimes. pickled sakura used to be one of my most sought-after baking ingredients until i managed to find it on rakuten two years back. i thought it was plentiful and could last me awhile and then two of my friends bought me more on their trips to japan (i didn't request for it actually). so now i have too much, 3 big packs in total. i think they would last me another two more years at least. not that i'm complaining, they're so pretty and versatile and lots of spring desserts use them. but i don't wanna make another batch of sakuramochi so i decided on something i've seen but never made before - sakura jam.
even though i hardly eat desserts these days, i still get the urge to bake every now and then. i've been wanting to recreate this coffee tart for quite sometime since i wasn't very satisfied with the infiniment vanille tart i made 2 years ago. the tart was too thick and the top was bigger than the bottom and looked really unbalanced. couldn't believe i actually went ahead with that. all in all, it was not refined enough by my current standard so i wanted to see if i could do a better job this time round.
i've heard about buckwheat pancakes but never had the desire to make them in the past. i didn't really like its dull color, i also did not want to stock up too many varieties of flours that i think i would only be using once or twice. on the contrary, ever since i started to eat healthy, i began taking an interest on the different types to substitute for wheat flour. so far i've bought buckwheat, chickpea, quinoa and cornmeal flours and i'm very eager to start experimenting. so, heres buckwheat pancakes for a start!
i've always been a cafe person but i don't think i cafe-hop as much as i would like to. with more and more coffee places sprouting up across the island, i decided i really want to visit one so the girlfriend and i settled on carpenter and cook, a 9 month old vintage themed bakery cafe/furniture homestore.
moffles are mochi waffles that are currently a big hit in japan! crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, they can be paired with either a sweet or savory topping. they can also be eaten like a sandwich with a filling. i made these for breakfast this morning and didn't feel like using my DSLR so i just took a pic with my phone.
curry parmesan popcorn
snacking proves to be an exceptionally challenging task now that i've started cutting down, or should i say, eliminating white sugar and wheat flour from my diet. ever since making these lifestyle changes and adopting healthier eating habits, i'm always wondering what i can snack on since i'm not someone who can eat three square meals a day. in the past, i would go for cakes, pastries, macarons and other sugary stuff because i made them often. now that i don't, i find writing down a list of healthy snacks is actually easier so i get lots of snacking ideas and this also prevents me from going back to my "old ways". a few of my current favorites are apple/banana + peanut butter, curried carrot salad, hummus dip & crackers and homemade popcorn.
i realized i haven't been making much korean food these days (not that i've been making much else actually). yeongeun jorim is korean lotus root side dish braised in a sweet salty soy glaze and is also one of my favorite side dishes. i actually have been wanting to make this many years back but the thought of having to scrub mud off those hard roots then slice them myself is really not very fun. happened to chance upon those vacuum-packed ones at the mart last week so i grabbed two packs and couldn't wait to try these out, never mind i didn't really have a recipe on hand (maangchi didn't post this, i think!) so i went looking through korean websites. luckily my korean is way better than japanese i managed to find one in no time.
tsukemono is japanese pickles made from a variety of vegetables like carrots, cabbages, radishes etc. unlike the western counterpart, these are not pickled for a long time. usually just one or two days and eaten fresh, they remain crunchy and refreshing. and among all the varieties, i love the cucumber one or better yet, spicy cucumber tsukemono the most.
recently i've been crazy with all that afternoon tea stuff. i simply love the idea of fine china, fresh flowers, petits fours, tea sandwiches and freshly baked goods. and, making scones have always been a challenge. even though its something simple i haven't really been able to succeed making it. it always turned out too tough, too sweet, too burnt etc. so i decided to give it another go!
pistachio, salted caramel, vanilla, cassis-violette, incroyables strawberry candy, chestnut, rose, violet
my friend claire went to paris to visit her in-laws again so i took the opportunity to ask her for a box of macarons from ladurée. after my first experience trying them 3 years ago (and it wasn't good), i really wanted to try them again.
from left : matcha marble cake, cranberry rose cookies, raspberry + black forest macarons
for many years, i've had enquiries asking whether i could make variety gift boxes like these but to be honest i didn't really think i was up to it. i didn't have appropriate packaging then and i didn't really wanna use white cake boxes or anything generic from the baking supplies stores or even daiso. i was happy to be able to find packaging i like finally and for this order, my customer was kind enough to leave everything to me with the only requirement that the items have gotta be able to transport easily ie. stuff that won't melt or crumble all over. so i came up with these.