Category Archives: welcome

september-october: constance’s banana pudding layer cake

Hello friends! I’ve been a bit MIA for a while, so apologies! Following Kerri – I also had a hard time ‘deconstructing’, because frankly, I believe cake should be layered and not taken apart.  Anyways, it was the bff’s 30th birthday and he specifically requested banana pudding. So, I decided to cake-ify it. If there was any deconstruction and reconstructing going on, this cake it is. Plus, I got to use my handy new KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

Banana Pudding is very American recipe, pretty standard in most American family recipe archives. It consists of 4 things: Nilla Wafers, Bananas, Cool Whip and Vanilla Pudding. And typical to Hong Kong, Nilla Wafers were unavailable, so I made my own.

The Vanilla Wafers were really easy to make, and a lot yummier than the boxed Nilla Wafers.

I used both vanilla bean paste and vanilla bean extract which tastes miles better than the processed vanilla in the boxed wafers.

To make the cake portion, I made 3 layers of banana cake rounds in 9in cake pans. For the filling, I used a cream cheese and box vanilla pudding mix. To frost, I used a vanilla whipped cream frosting.

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To layer the cake, I cut of the domes and started spreading the vanilla pudding filling on the cake. Then, I added 10-15 vanilla wafers. Add the second layer of cake and repeat again. Place the third layer on the cake to complete and frost the vanilla whipped cream around the cake. Decorate the cake with the the remainder of the vanilla wafers.

You can find the recipe here.

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JULY- AUGUST: GRACE’S “FERRERO ROCHER” BLISS BALLS

It was with some hesitation that I ventured into the world of raw desserts… sceptical about recipes raving about how beetroot and chocolate mud cakes were interchangeable, or the virtues of cashew cream pies (unbaked and grain free of course). My adventurous side was up for a challenge, but I wanted something that would actually get eaten by my even more doubtful family and friends, so I thought I’d tackle the well trodden path of the humble bliss ball- especially since they seem to be at every cafe about town these days. 

I contemplated quite a few of these recipeshowever in the end, the words “ferrero rocher” caught my eye… and with a simple 4 ingredient list, it was off to the shops I go. 

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What these recipes should warn you though, is that the recipe may call for only four ingredients, but the cost of said ingredients would end up being as much if not more, than the sum of their counterparts! Im happy to pay more for organic, and believe in good produce, but I can’t lie, part of me wanted to just go down and grab actual ferrero rochers and be done with it! 

Pressing on though, the recipe itself was simple- toast of nutty meal here, chops of dates there and a good old pulsing of the blender was pretty much all that was required. Initial smells and tastes were also incredibly promising – with a hazelnut chocolateness building in the air, my hopes rose, perhaps there was something to these bliss balls! 

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However I did find the mixture much crumblier and therefore, messier than anticipated when I attempted to roll the mixture into balls in my hand. I needed to add a bit of honey and about a spoonful of additional slightly melted coconut oil in order to coax the texture to combine together. Other recipes call for coconut cream instead of oil and I could see the virtue in that.

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So, the verdict? The initial bite was definitely a pleasant surprise and they do satisfy the desire for a nutty chocolate fix. I have even decided to try a few more of the bliss ball recipes I came across in my search. However, I think for me it will always be Ferrero Rocher over Ferrero RAWcher. 

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You can find the recipe here.

MAY- JUNE: GRACE’S COINTREAU BRIOCHE PUDDING

Change was clearly in the air here at Buttersweetsymphony because just like Kerri, I’ve also had a change in international postcodes… although for us it was moving to our hometown of Sydney, Australia. It might have been a move home, but we sure did it the least straightforward way possible- fitting in a trip in the opposite direction to Croatia (via Helsinki, and no, that is not on the way), and ending with such a complicated 4+ days worth of travel that to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure where I am, let alone where my baking supplies are!

With that in mind, boozy infusions may have been just what the doctor ordered, yet I was definitely likewise challenged as to what I could make in our “home” (aka temporary apartment). Then, one chilly* Sydney winters night, as I hugged a mug of tea, half a brioche leftover on my kitchen bench, it hit me- bread and butter pudding. The sweet salvation of hearty comfort food is surely one of the great things about winter, so with a few tweaks here and a few sips of cointreau there (for taste testing purposes of course), we found ourselves with a crowd pleaser.

 

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There’s nothing not to love about this super simple recipe. It won’t win any contests for its lumpy looks but that intoxicating smell well draw you in and that custardy sloppiness is just perfect for dipping a big spoon into again and again…

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Winter calls for indulgence so it’s not necessary but highly recommended to serve this with some cream whipped with vanilla beans/essence .

You can find the recipe here.

*I am well aware that compared to most of the world, Sydney has no place complaining about any winter “chills” but having been in Singapore the last 3 years, anything under 10 degrees is COLD (and I’ve loved it!)

Constance’s Apple and Strawberry Crumble

Gluten. The gluuee that holds the dough together. Known as the muse to all bakers and the nemesis to all health-nuts, gluten-free baking is starting to gain traction in the baking world. No, we are not talking about adding avocado in our cake mixtures, but simply some careful substitution to the traditional flours.

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The crumble is a general crowd pleaser – no one noticed that it was gluten-free until I told them!

You can find the recipe here.

january-february: anna’s earl grey and clementine friands

For my tea dessert, I really wanted to make a plate with a few different components. I wanted to combine the tea flavor with some fruit as well as something creamy. Clementines are in season right now and it was really hard to go past them for the fruit component since they have such a great flavor. Since I was using citrus, earl grey was the obvious choice of tea, and I settled on mascarpone for the creamy component.

I decided to make friands, which are one of my favorite cakes, made from almond meal and egg whites. There’s a small amount of flour in them too, but I used a gluten free flour mix, which I find is a great trick for making cakes lighter. I made my own almond flour in my trusty vitamix and threw in the earl grey leaves to blend together.

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I used clementines in both the friands (zest) as well as the mascarpone cream (juice) and served some fresh segments on the side. The friands turned out beautifully – very moist and light. I used a good amount of earl grey tea leaves in the recipe and the flavor came through really well.

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The great thing about the friand recipe is that it uses 5 egg whites, and the 5 remaining egg yolks are just the right amount for my go-to ice cream recipe!

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Find the recipe here

 

 

 

 

 

january-february: baking with tea

Tea infused desserts are nothing new in the world of baking, but often we can forget exactly how versatile the tea leaf can be.

This month we are going to explore different ways to infuse tea into our much loved desserts.  Can we go beyond the trendy earl-grey infusion? You better be-leaf it!