Christmas Bakes for Sale!

Christmas is just around the corner! :)

I have some cookies, cupcakes and a tart for orders this season. Also I’ll be sharing some Christmas bakes that I’ve found in the next few weeks! If you like to order some bakes to share with family and friends, please hop over to Dessert Tales for more details.

Cheers!

Grand Mariner raspberry cupcakes & Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Tart

Gingerbread men

Dessert Tales

And just like that September has come to an end. And so is my 2 1/2 months break from work – I’m starting a temporary job from tomorrow. A little excited, a little anxious.

It’s been a good two months. I’m wisdom-toothless (with no pain!), had a good time with at various Arts Markets with Mandy and more craft ideas to play with, and managed to start Dessert Tales from scratch.

Mini coffee cream dacquoise

It’s not the first time I tried moving my bakes out into a new blog. The first time it didn’t quite work because I felt that my life was so much intertwined with my bakes (and food), but now I’ve a better idea of how to spilt the two. I’m still crossing my fingers, frankly, but I’ll willing to take another shot because I want a space just for my baking adventures. It’s also easier for people and myself to navigate if they want to find recipes and not get caught up with other random personal rants :P

If you like to see more of my bakes, come join me over at Dessert Tales. See you there!

A small shoutout of thanks to my good friend Dorothy too, who suggested the name way back when I started my first experimental baking blog. The name stuck around until now, and I knew it was something special ;)

Mascarpone cheese tart

If there’s one word to describe cheesecakes for me, it’s nostalgia. A little strange because it’s not a cake I grew up eating…

For a short period when I was in primary school, I hung out with my good friend Ashura at Coffee Bean. We used to share cakes at the cafe together and the cheesecake was one of them. Those were fun times, and sinful times, because all the CoffeeBean trips made me balloon quite a bit – I was overweight by the time I reached secondary school. Oops.

Cheesecakes also make me think of my god brother, Colin, who passed on 6 years ago. Colin loved to cook like his parents, and whipped up delicious dishes when we visited during festive seasons. He made a cheesecake during Christmas one year, and I loved it so much I asked him for the recipe. And that recipe was the last thing he gave me before he passed on. It’s a simple cheesecake recipe I hold close to my heart, which I will share in time :)

Mascarpone cheese tart

I love cheesecakes, though I always have problems finishing a whole slice of cheesecake by myself (maybe it’s just me, but it gets a little too much after a while). Unless it’s the Japanese cotton cheesecake… now that’s a different story altogether.

I ate a cheesecake that was lighter than the usual New York cheesecake during my holiday last year in Quebec City, and that was one of the rare occasions I actually finished a whole slice myself. From then I was curious, what made it lighter? I had a feeling that the cake had more than cream cheese… So when I stumbled across this recipe which included mascarpone cheese, I had to have a go at it!

Mascarpone Cheese Tart

(Adapted from Taste of Home Mascarpone Cheesecake Recipe)
Makes a 9 inch tart

Ingredients for biscuit crust
200g digestive biscuits, finely ground
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
60g butter, melted

Ingredients for cheese tart filling
250g cream cheese
250g mascarpone cheese
100g castor sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla
100g eggs (about 2 eggs)

Directions for the biscuit crust
1. Pre-heat the oven at 175°C.  Lightly butter the bottom and sides of your tart pan.

2. For the biscuit crust, mix the finely ground digestives together with the sugars. Add in the melted butter and press the mixture into prepared pan.

3. Bake the crust in the oven for about 10 minutes and leave to cool.

Masarpone cheese tart

Directions for the cheese tart filling
1. Keep your oven at the same temperature :)

2. Beat together cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth.

3. Add in the eggs and and beat on low until just combined. Once done, pour your batter into the cooled biscuit crust.

4. Before you place your tart in for baking, put a tray of water at the bottom of the oven. I use this method instead of the usual water bath for cheesecakes – so I have no issues with leakages or soggy bottoms!

5. Bake the tart for about 35 – 40 minutes. It is done once the outside of the cheese tart is almost set, and the centre is still a little wobbly.

6. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Mascarpone cheese tart

I love this recipe because the mascarpone somehow makes the ‘cheesecake’ portion of the tart lighter. Most people who tried it loved this, though a friend who is a fan of cheesecakes said it was not ‘cheesy’ enough. I guess it isn’t, because it’s not made fully of cream cheese ;)

Oh, if you want to make this into a cheesecake, just double the cheese portion and bake it in a 9 inch springform pan for 50 – 60 mins (check out the Taste of Home recipe).

Breaking out of perfection

I have a confession. I have a very bad habit – I procrastinate too much. Many times because I feel I’m not ready, things are not ‘good to go’, or I do not have enough information to start. I like things to be near perfection before sharing anything. I feel like a hypocrite sometimes when I give people advice taking that step.

It’s always a struggle.

I’ve always wanted to take the blog to the next level… I’m a little embarrassed at how many times I said this. But it’s always this excuse (not having the right name, not having enough time, being unsure if I’m doing the right things), and maybe a bit of laziness that hinders the progress. Ooops.

I have to keep reminding myself to take a step at a time, and stop being afraid of things being imperfect. Like the cakes below. Hah.

Traditional cakesMy attempt to recreate the old fashioned cakes since the class. Uuuhh. Has it been one year?! The above cakes are actually using the second swiss roll recipe here. After making everything I realized I only had cherry red icing left. I also merrily misjudged the buttercream piping so the space for the red icing is a bit… wide.

Will probably need a few more tries to get this right. Now if only I’m as willing to keeping working on my blog plans like I do with my baking ;)

 

Bread!

I finally got down to learning how to make bread :D Signed up for a course at Creative Culinaire with my friend Karen. We each went home with about 9 – 12 pieces of delicious bread each! When I woke up the next morning, more than half of it was gone… haha.

Bread class @ creative culinaire - Ham and cheese rolls ❤

Ham and cheese, with mayo, chili and mixed vegetables

Almond sugar knots ❤

Almond sugar twists

Red bean pandan buns :)

Pandan red bean buns

I don’t often bake breads, so this class has been really helpful in understanding the scientific and technical aspects of bread making, and also learning the visual and tactile cues while making the dough.

We have 3 more lessons to go. It got me thinking on signing up for some other classes, because I love understanding how baking works. I’m not a visual reading kind of learner :p, so classes really help.