Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baby Project : A Warm Welcome!

My partner's sister-in-law just bore his son 6 days ago! Here is our house warming gift for the baby! A 4-tier baby diaper cake!

And here is our cute little bun, fresh out of the oven!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Project : Perfect Fondant Cake

Before the end of April ended, I already informed everyone that I will not be accepting orders for the month of May.
I wanted to rest for awhile from all the baking and decorating, especially since my shift at work has been changed back to a graveyard schedule. This will give me time to re-adjust to this schedule again before accepting any orders.
And the major reason why I wanted to stop taking orders for this month is because of the cakes I recently baked. I was so bummed because the cakes rises in the oven and then after I take it out, the middle part just fell. Some of them really falls big time, but the others slightly fell in the middle. And it worried me more because the edges of the cake seems to be dry.
And then I tried to remedy this by brushing the dry edges with the filling I put between layers. I covered the whole cake with more buttercream icing than usual, but I made sure that it is not too thick or too much.
So the cake, if it's not eaten right away, is moist and tastes really good. Believe me, I tried the cake. Remember the Batman cake I made? That's what happened with it & the reason why I had to bake a few more cakes.
Before, (I'm using the same recipe, BTW), the cake just grows and it won't fall in the middle part, but everyone would say that it is delicious but dry.
Now I made a cake before the Batman cake. It was for a friend's birthday. She told me that the cake was moist & it wasn't dry anymore. With this cake, I put it in the oven at a low heat and left it there for about 2-3 hours. My partner turned the oven off and when I checked the cake, voila! The middle part didn't fell nor did it rise. It was perfect. It was an evenly perfect round cake. I didn't have to carve it or anything. I just went ahead and decorated the whole cake. Take note, I was using the same recipe.
I also made another birthday cake for my godson. My partner & I thought the cupcakes we made were a failure so we had to make another batch using a different recipe. The next day, I ate one of the cupcakes we thought failed, and it was soft, moist, and very tasty.
I am now confused. Am I improving or am I doing something wrong?
So, I am now on a mission to try the same recipe again. I will make sure that I will get the result that I wanted. And since, I already know now how to put on the fondant, I will now work on how to make the sides of the fondant smooth without making it skirt-like. Just a smooth looking fondant without any tears or cracks.
Wish me luck, guys!!!

"A good person is never alone. One who sows kindness reaps friendship; One who plants thoughtfulness reaps love."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What's For Dinner?

Been thinking of another simple, yet delicious dish for dinner. I listed 3 choices : 1) Chopsuey; (2) Bulalo; (3) Estofado.

However, when I went to our little supermarket, they had so little to offer for my first 2 choices. So I ended up choosing the Estofado dish. I decided to use chicken because we didn't have any pork meat in fridge. (I thought we still had it. Turns out I was wrong. he-he!)

Chicken Estofado


1/2 chicken meat (or pork meat)
2 tbsp of brown sugar
2-3 pieces of potatoes, cut in big chunks
2 pieces carrots, cut in big chunks
5 cloves of garlic (if you want), minced
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato sauce
*saba banana, quartered & fried
1/2 cup water
cooking oil (you can use olive oil, vegetable oil, anything that suits you
soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch mixed in water
1 bay leaf (optional)

Procedure :

1) Marinate chicken in vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, onions, and garlic for an hour. You can marinate the meat for 30mins if you don't want to wait that long.

2) Heat oil in a pan or skillet. Remove pork from marinade and set the marinade sauce aside (to be used later). Fry chicken until lightly brown. Pour excess oil in a container, leaving at least 2-3 oil in the pan.

3) Pour the remaining marinade sauce & 1/2 cup of water over the chicken. Simmer for 15-20mins or until meat or chicken is tender. (Chicken cooks easily)

4) Add tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots, & bananas. Cook until vegetables are tender, but still crunchy when you eat one.

5) Pour in cornstarch with water & bay leaf (makes your dish smell better & yummy!). Mix for 2mins.

Serve while still hot. Eaten better with rice.

*saba bananas - we call this cooking bananas because it is firm enough to mix in different dishes like Estofado.

(photo taken from Market Manila blog)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Carousel cake by sugardva

carousel cake, originally uploaded by sugrdva.

This is absolutely one of my dream cakes to make!

I just discovered sugardva's works and they are all great! And I envy her so much, I kept on thinking about her artwork of cakes while in the office.

She is as talented as the people in Rosebud. I hope to make cakes as great & as grand as theirs.

Good luck to me! Hallelujah!

Beef Caldereta - a great food to eat lunch!

Have you ever heard of the food Caldereta? This is a Spanish dish that was learned by the Filipinos. As you all might know, Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards many years back. Thus, we have inherited some words, names, & genes from them. And so were the food.

Caldereta is just one of the food we have inherited from Spain. As far as I can remember, they use goat meat for this recipe, but eventually, any other meat (except for fish) may be used for this dish.

At 9am in the morning, I woke up & wanted to cook something homemade. Everything should be from scratch. I cannot help but feel nostalgic about this dish. My grandfather has the best caldereta I have ever tasted! I had to retrace in my mind what I have learned from his caldereta. My lola (grandmother) was his partner when cooking delicious dishes on occasions. I felt like crying when I was already putting the crackers in the dish to make it a bit a sticky. My lolo (grandfather) used to say that he has the best caldereta in town, & I couldn't agree more. I have tasted so many delicious calderetas, but his always wins. I have never ever tasted anything like his own caldereta from anyone else.

I will share with you the recipe I have come up with. It's not my grandfather's recipe, but it tasted just like it! Delicious! Best when served with cooked rice.

Ingredients :

1/2 kilo beef (or any meat that is available, except fish)
2 tablespoons of vinegar
1 onion, sliced
2 red bell peppers, *julienned (you can also use green or yellow bellpepper if you like)
1 garlic
3 potatoes, cut into big chunks
2 carrots, cut into big chunks
1 can of pineappple (chunks, tidbits, any)
green peas (you can use fresh or canned)
1 can of tomato sauce
Skyflakes (or any crackers), crushed (like bread crumbs)
grated cheese
Ajinomoto or MSG or powdered black pepper

Procedure :
Boil the beef, a dash of salt & Ajimoto (or MSG) or powdered black pepper & vinegar, until tender. If you can poke or stick a fork easily into the beef, it is tender. You may put in more water if the beef isn't tender yet.

Once beef is tender, pour the pineapple's juice and 1 more cup of water. Let it simmer for 10mins. After 10mins, just leave the beef heated while you saute your garlic in another pan (big enough to cook the dish in). When almost brown, transfer the beef (only) in the pan. Stir occasionally. Put in the potatoes & carrots in the beef's stock, just to soften it a bit. Add the tomato sauce in the beef. Allow to simmer for 10mins. Transfer beef stock, potatoes, carrots, pineappple, & green peas on the beef. If vegetables are already soft when you stick a fork in, add crushed crackers & cheese. Mix. You can season to taste.

Enjoy your meal!!!

*Julienne is a food preparation in which state a food item is cut into long thin strips. (Wikipedia definition)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fondant Success

After the wedding cake, my mind keeps on going back to fondant. It looks so easy when you watch someone make it and cover the cake with it, but it's never easy when you're the one making it. I had a terrible experience with fondant the 2nd time I made it so I wanted to try it again.

I tested it on the cake my office mate ordered from me. There was no particular design because she only ordered for her kids to snack on. So it was an opportunity I wanted to take advantage of. Of course, I bought a bigger & better rolling pin for better results. he-he! I was really glad it turned out right. I call it my Fondant Success. =)

Just a simple design on the cake.

Kherby's Birthday!

This has been a very delayed post, but I am not going to pass this up. It was Kherby's 4th birthday & I made the cake for his special day. He wanted a Batman cake & I did my best to make it look as good as everyone wanted it to be.

I was so worried & nervous because the cakes I was baking were not turning out right the way I used to do it. This problem started a week before I did the wedding cake. Remember the bad times I blogged about the wedding cake? It was exactly the same thing with Kherby's birthday cake. The cake had a bread-like texture and the edges were drying out. Too dry. And the middle keeps on slumping down. I really don't know what I was doing wrong because I am following the exact same recipe and used the same ingredients for my chocolate cake.

After several tries, I was able to bake a good cake (but not good enough for me, though) and decorated it with black and blue. Juby, his yaya (nanny) helped by making all those fondant circles to be put around the cake. All day, I was worried that everyone will not find the cake tasty once they eat it.

At the end of the day, the cake was cut for the birthday boy and everyone else. To my surprise, the cake was not dry. I believe it was because of the filling I put on the cake & the fact that it was not stored in the fridge made it a moist chocolate cake. Everyone said that the cake tasted really good. I was definitely surprised & relieved that it worked out fine.

Anyway, check out the cake I made below. Happy looking!

To Em's Surprise!

When I checked on my calendar, I have a reminder there that it's Ate (big sister) Em's Birthday. That was days before May 1. I already told myself that I will make her a birthday cake. Ate Em is my manicurista. A manicurista in Filipino is someone who does your nails. All the nail cleaning, putting on colors on your nails to make it beautiful to look at. That stuff. If you have a trusted manicurista, you don't have to go to beauty parlors anymore. You just ask them to come to your house and do your nails.

So anyway, I wanted to make a cake that looks like a nail polish. Unfortunately, it didn't look like one. They can never guess what the cake was when I asked them what it looked like. I should have made the top round cake bigger. She loved chocolate so the cake was Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with minty buttercream filling & dark chocolate buttercream frosting. It was just a simple cake.

On her birthday, I greet her through text and asked her to come by my house to do my nails at 4pm. So she did. I gave her the cake & the surprise look on her face was enough to make me happy. She was brought to tears just for a few seconds before she came to her senses and wiped her tears away. I was so happy. I didn't think I could make someone that happy ever again in my whole life.

Thank God for everything! =)