Monday, December 29, 2014

Ube cake roll

This will be my last post for 2014.  I do not know WHEN I will be back or IF I will be back.  At this point, I feel I just need time to reassess whether this blog is still something I want to continue in the coming year or if I would want to do something else.

After a year that has been totally overflowing with cakes and more, it is but fitting to finish off with a last recipe. This is my end-of-the-year gift to all of you.

An ube cake roll!  Simple but lovely and tasty as it is.  No frosting needed.  No frills.  

The cake is basically made in the same way as the normal ube chiffon cake, except that it has a little less flour.  This adjustment allows for a more flexible, easier to roll cake.

Something new I learned from making the deco roll cakes is that it is really not necessary to roll the cake straightaway.  Normally, with jelly/swiss roll cakes, you would need to roll the cake in parchment paper or a tea towel dusted with icing sugar while still hot so the cake will cool down in this shape and will be easier to re-roll once filled.  What I found out is that all you need to do is loosely cover the cake with parchment paper while it is cooling down in a wire rack to keep the moisture in but at the same time, letting heat escape. It does work!

I've never really had much success with roll cakes until recently, so I hope you will get to try this cake and be happy with it just like me! :)

Here goes:

For the chiffon cake:


1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 egg yolks
1/4 cup vegetable/canola oil
1/3 cup milk
50 grams grated purple yam
1/2 teaspoon ube flavouring
1/4 teaspoon violet gel paste or food powder

4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/8 cup sugar


1.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.  Line a 10"x15"x1" or 11"x16"x1" jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Grease parchment paper with a little oil.

My baking pan is actually a 10"x14"x1 1/2" so the resulting cake is a little bit thicker than what is ideal.

2.  In a large bowl, combine {A} well.  Add in {B}.  Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
3.  In a separate bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy.  Gradually add in {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed.  Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture.  Pour batter into prepared jelly roll pan then spread evenly to the sides.  Bang pan on the counter a few times to dislodge air bubbles.

4.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

5.  Cover the top of the pan with a new piece of parchment paper then invert onto a wire rack. Unmould the cake then immediately peel off the parchment paper from the bottom.

6.  Cover the cake with another piece of parchment paper.  Leave to cool just until it is no longer warm to the touch, about 15-20 minutes.

While waiting for the cake to cool down, prepare your whipped cream filling.  You can make half the stable whipped cream recipe here or if you want something simpler, you can just use this.

Whipped cream filling:

1 1/4 cups thickened or whipping cream, very cold
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Combine ingredients in a cold mixing bowl.  Beat until stiff.

To assemble cake:

**It is best to assemble the cake as soon as it is no longer warm.  The longer the cake sits, the drier it will become and will most likely crack when rolled.

Carefully flip the cake over.

Spread about 3/4 of the whipped cream filling evenly on the cake, leaving about an inch space at the top.

Starting from the side nearest you and using the parchment paper as a guide, gently roll the cake.

This is what the newly-rolled cake looks like from the side.

Refrigerate the cake for about an hour to allow it to firm up a bit and make it easier to handle.  Chill the remaining whipped cream as well.

Unwrap the parchment paper then trim about an inch off the two ends.  Transfer cake to a serving tray.

Doesn't that look just perfect?

Fill a small piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the remaining whipped cream then pipe out rosettes along the top of the cake roll.  Top each rosette with a macapuno ball, if desired.

Keep the cake covered to retain its soft and moist state. Serve chilled to enjoy it at its best!

A blessed 2015 to all!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas greetings

From Melbourne to the rest of the world, here's wishing you all a blessed Christmas!

May you receive the lasting gift of joy, peace, and love that comes from Jesus Christ.

Have a great time celebrating with family, friends, and all your loved ones!

Monday, December 22, 2014

My new favourite thing to make

If you still haven't seen or heard about decorated roll cakes, then you must have been living under a rock in recent times!  Deco roll cakes were created and popularized by a famous Japanese food blogger named Junko.  As with anything Japanese-made, these cakes are just oozing with cuteness!

Image credit:
Image credit:

I have been wanting to buy Junko's books since early last year but they were written in Japanese.  I really didn't want to go through the struggle of translating so I had to forego buying them and content myself with just admiring photos of deco roll cakes online.

Just over a week ago, while looking for books on the internet, I accidentally discovered that Junko's books have already been published in English!  Of course, I wasted no time in ordering them!!!

So far, I have tried making three of the deco rolls in the first book, all of them incidentally featured in the cover.

Strawberry print roll - vanilla flavoured cake with whipped cream and strawberries.

Teddy bear deco roll - chocolate flavoured cake with whipped cream, mangoes and strawberries.

Arabesque motif deco roll - matcha flavoured cake filled with whipped cream and sweet red bean paste.

The cakes are chiffon-type so as expected, they are very soft and moist.  However, unlike the chiffon cakes that I am used to making, these ones have less cake flour and have no baking powder.  I think the lower flour content makes the cakes easier to roll.  They do not crack at all!  (And they are not even rolled while still hot.)

As you know, my family isn't all that crazy about eating cake so while I hope to try all of the designs in the books (as well as make my own), I really have to control myself.  At first, I thought the cuteness was enough to convince my kids to keep on eating the cakes one after another, but now I realize that no matter how light and delicious they are, I cannot keep on making them every single day!  I should really consider giving these as gifts!

You will definitely see more of these cake rolls here in the future.  I really wasn't keen on making cake rolls before but now that I've tried and found the process quite easy, I think my next move would be revising my own chiffon cake recipes so they would be more suited to be made in this manner.  Hmmm,,,I reckon I'll start with an ube cake roll. :)

Till next time.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ending my caking year

I am so sorry for being away for almost a month.  The 2014 school year concluded early December so as you can imagine, I have my hands full with the kids in the house all the time.  Also, I have been concentrating on finishing all my cake orders for the year.  I am taking a break starting this coming week till early January so I can do things that I have been procrastinating on (#1 on the list: a second book).  Plus I also want more time to prepare for Christmas.

For my last big cake commitment, I made a two-tiered cake, a large caramel cake plus two dozens red velvet cupcakes for an 18th birthday party.  As you will see, I went all out on the buttercream roses! I really like the old-fashioned look they project even though gumpaste flowers may look more life-like.

In this past year, I think I made more caramel cakes than ever before.  Since I started selling cakes, my most sought-after product was the ube macapuno, but now, people have shifted to the caramel cake.  I believe this cake suits the Filipino taste best because it's not overly sweet.  More than that though, there is just something so endearing about the buttercream roses, don't you agree?  Oh and let's not forget those lace-like squiggles too - no matter how messy they seem to appear while piping them, they still end up complementing the whole traditional vibe. 

I really loved making this two-tiered cake although at first, I was afraid it was going to be a complete disaster. While positioning the roses and piping the leaves, I kept on hitting the soft buttercream. This is the downside of using a non-crusting buttercream like SMBC.  You can't smooth it out just like that!  If you look close enough, you will notice the uneven cake comb marks on the bottom tier.  I accidentally touched it and couldn't fix it properly because the ribbon and the roses were already in place :(

I piped all the buttercream roses the night before I assembled this cake and put them in the freezer.  It was a breeze to just position them all later.

I didn't totally go all-buttercream and it would have been really neat if I did.  The #18 topper and the cutout letters for the celebrant's name were made from gumpaste.  I also moulded gumpaste roses and cut out leaves for the cupcakes.  It just saves time to be able to do all these in advance.

So there you go.  That is my way of ending my caking year with a bang.  I still have a few more cakes to do before Christmas though nothing extraordinary.  Hopefully, if all goes as planned, our Christmas cake will be something new.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dulce de Leche Cake

Dulce de leche cake is something I wouldn't normally think of making.  Simple fact - I'm lactose intolerant.  My body can take in small amounts of dairy without any untoward consequence BUT in a cake such as this, where there is a rich combination of dulce de leche and pastry cream, I know for sure I will be in trouble!

I had shared a similar cake nearly four years ago but only talked about it and never posted the recipe. I didn't really feel like making this cake again, not only for the reason stated above, but also because it entailed doing a lot of things.

The cake itself is a vanilla chiffon.  It is frosted with a dulce de leche Swiss meringue buttercream and filled with pastry cream.  On the cake top are dulce de leche and chocolate flakes and on the sides, toasted cake crumbs.

When I first made dulce de leche cake, I sliced a thin layer from the vanilla chiffon, then crumbled and toasted it.  The toasted crumbs were light in colour then because I started with fresh cake.  I didn't do that this time around because I wanted to keep the full height of the cake.  All I used to make the crumbs for this new cake were the brownish crusts from the cake top and sides.  Scraps, in other words.   (I actually remove the crusts for all my cakes.  Normally, my husband likes to eat them or if he's not around, I would throw them out.  For this cake, there's no waste!)

The pastry cream here is barely sweet.  Dulce de leche is cloyingly sweet by itself so it is important to counteract it.  The Swiss meringue buttercream also has less sugar than my usual recipe because of the addition of dulce de leche to it.


Make ahead your cake, toasted cake crumbs, dulce de leche, and pastry cream (like a day or two before you need the cake).

You know how to make vanilla chiffon cake by now, don't you? Recipe here.

To make the toasted cake crumbs:

Once the cake is completely cool and you've removed it from the baking tin, carefully slice off the top brown crust.  For the sides, just gently rub your fingers back and forth against it and the crust should fall off easily.  You will be left with a clean cake like this...

Wrap this cake in cling film, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate or freeze first.

And scraps like these...


Place the scraps in a tray and bake in a preheated 180 deg C oven for a few minutes, till dry and crispy, then crumble them with your fingers.  Store in a ziploc bag or in a small airtight container for use later.

My crumbs did look too brown (because they were from the crusts) but not burned.
Alternatively, if you don't like to use the cake scraps, just horizontally slice off about a 1/4" thick layer of cake, then toast this instead to get lighter coloured crumbs.

To make dulce de leche:

There are several ways to make dulce de leche from a can of sweetened condensed milk.  Some boil the can itself in a pot for several hours, some do it in a pressure cooker. I personally prefer the oven method.

All you need to do is empty your can of sweetened condensed milk into a shallow dish (I used a small pyrex rectangular dish,).  Cover the dish with foil and place it on top of a larger tray.

Pour boiling water into the larger tray until it reaches at least halfway the sides of the dish.  Bake in a preheated 200 deg C oven for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours.  Check occasionally and refill the tray with boiling water, if needed. Let the dulce de leche cool down then whisk until it becomes smooth.  Set aside covered in the fridge until needed.

Before using, warm slightly in the microwave to make it softer and more fluid then whisk.

To make the pastry cream

You will need:
1 1/4 cups fresh (whole) milk
3 large eggyolks **
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

** Reserve the eggwhites for the buttercream.

In a small jug, whisk together the eggyolks, sugar, salt and cornstarch.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, over low to medium heat, warm the milk just until it starts to boil.  Without turning off the heat, pour some of the milk into the eggyolk mixture to temper the eggs.  Mix until smooth.  Pour this back into the remaining milk in the saucepan.  Mix until the pastry cream reaches a very thick consistency.  Off the fire, mix in the vanilla extract. 

Transfer the pastry cream to a small bowl or container then place cling film directly over the surface to prevent a skin from forming.  Place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Before using, whisk the pastry cream until it goes back to its creamy consistency.

To make the dulce de leche Swiss meringue buttercream:

Follow the same recipe and procedure as detailed here but lessen the sugar to 1/2 cup.

After the last step, mix in 1/3 cup of dulce de leche.  Beat until well combined.

To assemble the cake:

(Remember: Whisk your pastry cream before using to make it smooth.  Heat the dulce de leche gently to soften it.)

Cut your cake horizontally in half. Invert top layer onto your cake board, cut side up. 

Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with buttercream then pipe a dam around the cake edge. Fill the center of the dam with pastry cream.  Top with the other cake layer, cut side down. Cover the whole cake with buttercream. 

To cover the cake sides with toasted cake crumbs, lift the cake board with one hand and hold at a slight angle.  With the other hand, sprinkle the cake crumbs onto the side of the cake.  Do this all around. Be prepared to make a bit of a mess!

Before proceeding, remove the excess cake crumbs that's fallen into your cake board.  Clean up your work space!

Refill the same piping bag with the star tip with the remaining buttercream.  Pipe large rosettes around the cake top, leaving no spaces in between each.  Pour some dulce de leche on the center of the cake. Tap the cake gently or tilt from side to side to help the dulce de leche spread towards the rosette border.

To finish off, garnish each rosette with chocolate flakes or shavings.

Just a final note - don't mind the cake comb marks on my cake!  I couldn't decide at first if I wanted to use the toasted crumbs or not so I decorated the side using a cake comb.  Obviously, in the end, I went ahead and stuck the crumbs anyway!

By the way, the cake pictured above was for my husband's birthday last Thursday.  I didn't eat a slice but since he ate two slices consecutively, that probably meant he liked it, right?  My daughter especially loved the buttercream and she normally hates buttercream.  I reckon that's good enough to give this cake a thumbs up!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Triple Zip Cross-body Bag

Now that my friend in Singapore has finally received the bag that I sent her, I can openly talk about it at last!  

Remember the LeSportsac Kasey bag knockoff that I posted here not too long ago? Firstly, I don't want to call the bag by that name anymore.  I feel like going with a more generic term.  Triple zip cross-body bag, ok?

It's quite obvious now that I love navy blue.  The last three bags I sewed are all in this colour.  As the name suggests, this bag has three zipped compartments - the two front pockets and the main bag.  It is just small and ideal to use for when you only need to bring essentials like a wallet, keys, mobile phone.

I used bag zippers this time instead of the more common all-purpose or dress zippers.  They are so much better because the zipper teeth are a bit wider and the pull is longer, making opening and closing the zipper much easier and smoother.

I did my best to stitch very cleanly and to make my zipper corners really neat.  Homemade doesn't necessarily equate to sloppy or imperfect craftsmanship.  It can be as good as store-bought, can it not? (I have the same attitude when it comes to my cakes too.)

See that jacquard ribbon?  I bought that at Daiso which means that it is quite cheap BUT absolutely cute.

I bought the denim fabric years ago with the intention of making a skirt for my daughter. Never got around to doing it though.  What is great about the fabric is that it has embroidered flowers along the length of one edge.

Pretty neat, isn't it? I was even able to make the adjustable, detachable strap this time around!

I am happy to say that I have successfully made the pattern and instructions for this bag, all 36 pages of it!  It is now available in my Etsy shop and also here.  As with all my other eBooks, this one is loaded with photos and the instructions are very, very detailed. So, anyone interested at all?

To my 'once upon a time' online sewing buddies: You have probably lost interest in this blog by now BUT if anyone of you are still out there reading this, please, please, please do say HELLO!  I still love to sew and create (as much as I do baking cakes) and I miss sharing stuff with you. I hope you can still come and visit sometime, leave comments and let me know what you are up to these days.

PS.  My husband's birthday is in a few days and I am planning this new cake.  If it turns out well, I will be back to share that next time.

Have a good week!