Custard crepe cake

I have never made crepes before and after seeing the milk crepe cake (ミルククレープ) around the kaiten sushi (the conveyer belt contraption that is also on the big Whole Foods in the LES) place I like, I decided to try it.  Crepes are pretty easy if you get the hang of it, and once again I have adapted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Note that this is not a mix and it’s done kind of recipe.  It will take two days!  Everything that takes more time and effort has a bigger payoff right? RIGHT!  Many thanks to my older brother from another mother, Thian (find him here) for the great photo!

 

Crepe cake layers custard cream

Layers and layers!

Custard crepe cake

Prep time: 30 minutes                Cooking time: 1 hour            Servings: 10-16

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:

1 pan
1 big bowl
Electric mixer
Plastic container –  I use a ziploc one.
Spatula
Spoon

Ingredients:

For the crepe batter:
100 g butter
3 c milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
7 T sugar
Pinch salt

For the custardy cream:
2 c milk
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
6 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c cornstarch
3 T butter

For assembly:
1 t butter
21 c cream

Directions:

  1. In your pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. It will be bubbling. Should take around 10 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, heat the milk until steaming, and also set that aside.
  3. Using your pot and mixer, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour the mixture into your plastic container.  Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Time for the custardy cream!  Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove the bean.
  5. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes.   The mixture is going to congeal.  Don’t worry! Let it cool to room temperature.  Then put it into the refrigerator overnight as well.
  6. The next day, take the batter out and bring to room temperature. Swab the frying pan with butter, and turn on the stove to the 4th notch, aka medium heat.
  7. Add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook for 3 minutes, and then flip with your spatula to cook the other side for another minute.
  8. Place finished product on a plate.  Repeat until you have 20 pretty crepes.
  9. Whip the cream into the custard.
  10. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using your spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream.  Repeat until you finish with a crepe.  Dust with powdered sugar if you would like.  Let the cake rest for 2 hours or so before slicing and serving.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

I made these cookies in December for a holiday nabe party.  Mexican wedding cakes, or Snowballs, are like a shortbread cookie, but covered in powdered sugar.  Very rich and definitely one of the culprits to those extra pounds we all put on during the holiday season.   And for those of you in Japan, look at the COLOR.  Indeed this dessert is white, hint hint!  In case you didn’t know, in Japan, Valentine’s day is only for the dudes to receive presents from their girlfriends/mothers/daughters.  A month later the girls get a payback on White day.   Nothing like a commercial holiday being extended another month!  Time for a fun fact:  yet ANOTHER month later in Korea there is black day, which is “Single Awareness Day”.  As tradition would have it, you are supposed to eat Jajangmyeon, noodles with black bean sauce derived from the Chinese Zha Jiang Mian.  Perhaps something to aim for next month?  We will see.  Adapted from Joy of Baking.

Mexican wedding cakes

Yummy

Mexican wedding cakes

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 30-45 minutes              Servings: 10

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:

Spatula
Bowl
Toaster oven
Plate
Paper towels

Ingredients:

1 c toasted and chopped almonds
1 c butter
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 c flour
1/4 t salt

1 c powdered sugar (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar in the big bowl.
  2. Add in vanilla, flour, and salt.
  3. Mix in the chopped toasted nuts.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour or more.
  5. Shape the dough into balls by tablespoonfuls.
  6. Bake at 160C for 15 minutes.
  7. Let cookies rest on paper towels and cool down.
  8. Dust with powdered sugar.  出来上がり、完成! (dekiagari, kansei- aka VOILA! FINISHED!)

Egg tarts (蛋撻)

So, it was the 5000th Chinese New Year this year!  Great, I didn’t know either.  However, when I got invited to a Chinese New Year dinner at my friend’s house, how could I go empty-handed?  and HOW, could I not try and make a traditional Chinese dessert?  Thus, I began my very first time of making egg tarts, called danta, in the HK style.  Not too healthy but no worry, Chinese New Years is ALL ABOUT THE GLUTTONY.   Thanks to Greg again for the lovely photo.  Hopefully looking at this photo and comparing it to ones taken with my dinky digi will motivate me to put money towards a SLR! Or to just make more friends that are talented!!

Egg tarts Danta 蛋撻

新年快樂!!!

 

Egg tarts

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 12-15

Budget for ingredients: ¥1500

Equipment:
Big bowl
Fork
Cupcake tin (I already used these when I made Yorkshire puddings)
Whisk
Frying pan
Sieve

Ingredients:

1/2 c powdered sugar
3 c flour
1 c butter
1 egg, beaten
1 dash (~1/8 t) vanilla extract  

1/2 c white sugar
1  c water
5 eggs, beaten
1 dash vanilla extract
1/2 c evaporated milk

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together the confectioners’ sugar and flour. Mix in butter with a fork  until it is in small crumbs. Stir in the egg and vanilla until the mixture forms a dough. The texture should be slightly moist. Add more butter if it is too dry, or more flour, if the dough seems greasy.
  2. Roll the dough with your hands into 1.5 inch ~2 inch balls.  Then, flatten it against the cups. 
  3. Combine the white sugar and water in a pan, and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and cool to room temperature. 
  4. Strain the beaten eggs through a sieve, and whisk into the sugar mixture.
  5. Stir in the evaporated milk and vanilla.
  6. Strain the filling through the sieve again, and fill the tart shells.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven at 200C until golden brown.

Cheesecake brownies

Brownies are few and far in-between, and so is good cheesecake (unless you read this blog).  So why not mix the two in a delicious combo?  Two years ago, when I got invited to a dinner party, I decided to make this recipe and I have to give it due credit for inspiring me to create this entire blog!  Everyone that I’ve met more than once has probably eaten this before and I still get requests for the recipe, more than a year later!  Props to smitten kitchen for the inspiration.  If it wasn’t for Deb I wouldn’t have known the delight that is a frozen brownie!

Cheesecake brownies

Rich and deliciously sweet

Cheesecake brownies

Prep time: 25 minutes                Cooking time: 20-25 minutes              Servings: 16 (2 inch blocks of goodness)

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:
Frying pan
Steamer stand
Glass bowl
Whisk
Spatula
Mixer
Butter knife
Square pan
Oven

Ingredients:

Brownie batter:
100 g butter, cut into pieces
120 g chocolate, chopped
1 c  sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla
Pinch of salt
2/3 c  flour

Cheesecake batter:
225 g cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 t vanilla
1/2 c chocolate chips


Directions:

  1. Place butter and chocolate in the glass bowl.  It’s best to make a double boiler, aka put the steamer stand in water and the glass bowl on top.  Make sure the water doesn’t touch the glass bowl.  Heat over simmering water until it just melts.
  2. Take the bowl off of the steamer stand and add the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt.  Whisk until it’s all combined, and then add the flour.
  3. Spread in the baking pan.  It’s best to actually butter the sides of the pan first so it will slide out easily after baking.
  4. Wash out the bowl and with the mixer, mix all the ingredients for the cheesecake batter together.  Spread over the brownie batter with your spatula. 
  5. Using a butter knife you can make swirlies by bringing the chocolate batter from underneath up from the sides of the pan in a circular motion.  If you mess up on this part it’s ok!!!  It will still taste delicious.  Top with chocolate chips. 
  6. Bake at 170C for 20-25 minutes. 

I usually put these in the freezer and take them out ~30 minutes before serving to slice them.

GF Chocolate Cake

With Valentine’s day, that sappy, Hallmark-manufactured holiday, just around the corner, what could be better than sharing the ideal dessert?  In Japan, the tradition is that the girlfriend makes chocolates/cakes for her man.  NOTHING is received by the girl until the next month rolls around, aka White Day.  Either way, and for either gender, this is a definite crowd pleaser.  It also happens to be gluten-free, so if you have any friends with celiac, they can enjoy it two times if not three times as much.  This cake is adapted from Gluten Free Goddess.  Props to my friend Greg, a really talented photographer and budding film maker for the photo! 
 
Gluten free chocolate cake

Happy Valentine's Day!

 

GF Chocolate Cake

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 10

Budget for ingredients: ¥1500

Equipment:
Knife
Chopping board
Big bowl
Spatula
Whisk
Springform pan
Toaster oven

Ingredients:
500 g chocolate *
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
3/4 c HOT black coffee **
200 g butter, cut into pieces
2 T  cocoa powder
8 eggs
1 T vanilla extract

Optional:

1 package of strawberries
Powdered sugar

*Daiso is currently selling blocks of chocolate at a steal for 120 g for 105 yen!

** You can just buy the heated black coffee drink at your combini! 

Directions:

  1.  Chop the chocolate up and mix with the sugars in the big bowl.
  2. Add the coffee which will magically melt the chocolate!  If this doesn’t work off the bat, just set up a double boiler method (aka frying pan with water, steamer stand, and glass bowl) to melt it.
  3. Add the butter and chocolate powder.
  4. Mix in eggs one by one.  The mixture should definitely be wet and gloppy.
  5. Pour into springform pan and cover with foil.  Bake at 160C for 40-45 minutes. 
  6. If desired, add fruits and powdered sugar.  Tada!  ❤  True love at first bite.

Frozen macadamia and honey cheesecake

Whenever I see a no-bake cake recipe, I usually cringe.  Not because I believe that the flavor profile will not be great or anything, it’s just that I kind of turn my nose up at those too easy to believe recipes!  However, I totally stand by this one which was adapted from Taste.com.au.  Having recently returned from sojourn in Oz,   I thought it appropriate to look up some recipes from down under to see what’s kicking and brought it to an Aussie day party in Shimane-ken!   Additionally, though I used a freezer to finish the cake, if you live in a cold area where the words ”Thundersnow”, ”Snowmageddon”, or ”OMG my water pipes are frozen” apply,  just cover it and leave it outside for a night.

Frozen Cheesecake

My mouth waters a little bit just looking at this.

Frozen macadamia and honey cheesecake

Prep time: 20 minutes                Freezing time: 4-5 hrs/overnight            Servings: 8

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:

1 plastic bag
Rolling pin
1 pan
1 big bowl
Electric mixer
Spatula
Springform pan*
Butter knife
Freezer

Ingredients:

1 bag plain biscuits
1/2 stick (50 g)  butter
1 pkg (250 g) cream cheese
2/3 c honey
1 c fresh cream
1 packet macadamia nuts (I used a Top Valu 65 g bag)

* Note –  Springform pans make for a prettier cake, but you can use any pan for this as long as you grease it!

Directions:

  1. Place biscuits in the plastic bag and crush them with the rolling pin.  No mess and the cleanup is less.
  2. Heat up the pan and melt the butter and mix with the biscuit crumbs.  Sometimes I add in cinnamon sugar for an extra touch at this point.
  3. Press the crumbs down into the bottom of the springform pan.  Place in freezer for it to set.
  4. Use your mixer to beat together the cream cheese and 1/2 c of your honey in the big bowl.  When it gets smooth add in the cream and beat some more.  This should take around 5 minutes.
  5. Chop macadamia nuts and add them to the cream cheese mixture.
  6. Take out the pan from the freezer and add the mixture to it.
  7. Pour the remaining honey over the cream cheese mixture, and using a butter knife you can make a swirl effect by making little circles around the edges of the cake.
  8. Freeze overnight.  Take the cake out 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Chiffon cake

In the early summer, I went to the grocery store and by coincidence, there was a special bakery with a stand.  They had the MOST delicious light fluffy moist cake that came in coffee, matcha (green tea), and vanilla.   It was chiffon!  All were tasty but I decided I HAD to make it myself instead of buying it.  What can I say, not everything is a means to an end!

This cake goes perfectly with berries or fruit on top.  Currently in Japanese supermarkets there are no berries, so I opted for the last of the summer nectarines.  Conveniently timed was my friend Maggie’s son, Daigo’s third birthday!  I decided to pair it with a vanilla honey buttercream, because I LOVE honey.  It was my first time making an egg foam successfully (I have failed on various meringues previously) that makes it so spongey!  Cream of tartar, which an acid salt that is commonly used to fluff up beaten egg whites, was difficult to find.  I had to go to another bigger supermarket, but luckily, found it on sale for ¥100!

Chiffon Cake

Happy Birthday Daigo!

Chiffon cake with vanilla honey buttercream frosting

Prep time: 25 minutes                Baking time: 40-45 minutes/cake              Servings: 6

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:
1 pan (I used a ring pan)
1 pot
1 bowl
electric mixer
spatula

Ingredients:

For chiffon cake:

2 c flour
1 1/2 c white sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 c vegetable oil
7 egg yolks
3/4 c cold water
2 t vanilla extract
1 t lemon juice
7 egg whites
1/2 t cream of tartar

For frosting:

3 c powdered sugar
1 c butter
1 t vanilla extract
2 T whipping cream
1 T honey

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 150C. Wash your pan in hot soapy water to make sure it is totally grease free.

2. Separate the egg yolks from egg whites.  This is REALLY important as any hint of egg yolk in the egg whites will completely ruin the cake.  We are going to make a chemical reaction later!   If you need to watch a video tutorial, Howdini has a good one here.

3. Measure the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and mix well in your bowl.  Then make a well, which means to make a little hole in the middle to make a little lake of the liquids!  Add oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla, and lemon juice in the order that is given. Set aside.

4. In the pot, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until very stiff.

5. Using same beaters, beat egg yolk batter until smooth and light. Pour gradually over egg whites, folding in with rubber spatula. Do not stir. Pour batter into angel food tube pan.

6. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

7. While the cake is baking, use the pot to blend the butter and powdered sugar for the frosting.  Then add the vanilla, whipping cream, and honey.

8. Take the cake out of the oven and invert pan until cool.  Then cover with frosting and fruits!