Monday, September 27, 2010


Madeleines have this effect of bringing people together in the series.  It was because Ichigo offered a madeleine to the sweets spirits on her first day that she met Vanilla and it was because of their apple tea, maccha and chocolate madeleines that the Sweets Princes finally became friends. Let's make some madeleines together!

What is it?
Madeleines are a common cake-like cookie served in French Cafes.  Commonly enjoyed with both coffee and tea today, they are traditionally made in a scalloped sea-shell shaped pan and made with a genoise batter that lacks leavening.  Very similar to both the genoise cake and the ladyfinger, madeleines are more of a cake but are served as a cookie.  

Where can I try it?
You can get madeleines in any French bakery as well as many Asian ones.  Coffee shops like Peet's and Starbuck's may also occasionally carry them.  They also sell them pre-packaged in many grocery stores but chances are that they're taste preserved because they would have to be to get an extended shelf life.  These are SO easy to make that I'd recommend that you try making some yourselves!

These scans are by Cookie Dough.

How do I make it?  (according to the official cookbook)
(I'll update this as soon as cookie dough translate these pages. I could spend a few hours translating this... but I'm too stressed about my LSAT to do that.  =P )

How do I make it better? (recipe:  101 Cookbooks)

1.5 sticks unsalted butter
2 tbsp softened unsalted butter (for buttering the pan)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (plus some extra for flouring the pan)
4 large eggs
1 pinch of fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon (for zesting)
1 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar and/or chocolate (optional for decoration)

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
2.  Grease pan with softened butter, dust with flour, tap out excess flour.
3.  Create a beurre noisette by melting the butter in a small saucepan and letting it brown a little for a nutty flavor.
4.  Whisk four large eggs and sea salt together until it triples for quadruples in volume.
5.  Add sugar and continue whisking until thick and ribbony.
6.  Add in vanilla extract and lemon zest. Fold.
7.  Sift in flour and fold until incorporated.
8.  Fold in beurre noisette.
9.  Spoon (or use a pastry bag) the batter in to the molds and bake for 12-14 min.
10.  Remove immediately from pan to a cooling rack.
11.  You may dust it with confectioner's sugar or dip in it chocolate for a nice finish.  Fix some coffee or a kettle of water for some tea and you've got a great snack or gift!

Hints and Tips from the Show:
- When using fruit, you have to take into account the natural moisture and sugar in the fruit.

Hints and tips from the real world:
- Since genuine madeleines use a genoise batter, avoid recipes that have some kind of leavening such as baking powder.  The secret to authentic and fluffy madeleines is to whip your eggs well enough so that they hold enough air before adding any other ingredients.  The bubbles trapped in the egg proteins should be the only leavening.
- If you want the traditional madeleines, you're going to need a madeleine mold pan available also in mini-sized.  You don't have to use a madeleine pan though!  Brioche pans and other small metal molds work as well!
- Never mix ingredients in after you whip your eggs.  Make sure you fold so as to avoid thinning the batter.  You want to maintain those bubbles in the eggs!
- Remove the madeleines from the pan right away and let them cool on a rack so that they're easy to remove from the pan and so that the hot pan doesn't over-brown the shell design.

Ideas for variations:
- It's easy to incorporate other flavorings that are also dry ingredients such as cocoa powder, instant coffee, and other drink mixes.  Just replace some of the flour!
- You can sprinkle confectioner's sugar on them or dip them in chocolate.
- You can make some tea or chocolate chaud to complete your snack!
- Citrus zests work great in place of the lemon.  Try orange!
- I've seen them used as cake decorations... try it for yourself!


Last Madeleine Post... I promise... kind of

So, madeleines are ADDICTING! I mean it, seriously... I'm eating them almost as quickly as I'm making them!  In fact, we had to go to the local COSTCO wholesale store to restock on supplies!

That would be 25lbs of all-purpose flour, 4lbs of unsalted butter, a huge bottle of vanilla, and eggs! I have absolutely no clue how to store that flour and those 1lb blocks of butter can be used as weapons! I went to COSTCO a week ago but I've already used up everything and my family has been requesting that I make madeleines nonstop!  ... I still have to say that the lemon zest original recipe is still the best.

Here are some of the 60 that I made today... that is a dozen each of five flavors: vanilla, orange, chocolate-dipped vanilla, chocolate-dipped orange, and chocolate-dipped chocolate.  This is what I did today instead of studying for both my LSAT in two weeks, my chemistry lab report due Monday, and my physical geography midterm Monday night.  X_X

As if the actual time spent in the kitchen weren't academically destructive enough for me, my uncle... a serious but recreational baker, lent me a book and I couldn't put it down the other night!  I accidently pulled a genuine all-nighter without even realizing it and I read it cover to cover!  Oops!

"Le Cordon Bleu: Dessert Techniques"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm getting creative! ... and possibly a little carried away.

So excited with how well my first batch of butter madeleines went earlier this afternoon, I just spent the past few hours baking a dozen each of fat-free vanilla madeleines, fatfree chocolate madeleines, lemon zest butter madeleines, and orange coffee madeleines!  They're all so good!  I even put on the kettle, made some tea and enjoyed a few with my mom, sister, and grandmother!

... as soon as I figure out how to incorporate matcha, strawberries, and apple tea, I'll have completed this task in full. I've also discovered a few other things...

1.  Dry ingredients are easier to clean from your counter and bakeware if they're dry.  Water only makes things worse.
2.  The more you beat your eggs before adding any other ingredients, the fluffier the texture will be.
3.  The butter is what gives the moisture. When I removed the butter to make the fat-free madeleines, they turned out tasty but dry.

On another update, I've decided that I'm going to do the Mille Crepe again but with fruit in between the layers.  I'm going to have to learn how to cut strawberries REALLY thinly in order to maintain the right texture.  I also need to make a Genoise sometime this week so that I can take my hand at soaking a cake... or is a Savarin better suited to that? Also, anybody know where I can get rose water or tips on how to use it in baking?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I made a snack!

I baked madeleines!  I followed a recipe by 101 cookbooks and it is a wonderful recipe.  I did however have to forgo the lemon zest due to lack of an actual lemon in the house.  These things are so deliciously addicting that my mom and I already finished half of them!

1.75 sticks unsalted butter, 3/4 cups flour, 4 eggs, salt pinch, 2/3 cups sugar, 1tsp vanilla, powdered sugar

Mixing bowl, electric mixer, spatula, small sieve, measuring cup, madeleine pan, measuring tea spoon

Estimated Cost:
Less than $5 for two dozen!


When Caramel, Cafe, Vanilla, and Chocolate are sent back to the Sweets Kingdom for a supplementary exam, they have no idea what to make for the theme, "Surprise Sweets."  Then, Chocolate suggests that they each bake a Genoise and they each make a cake from their individual specialty flavor.  From that, they realize exactly what they should do for their examination!  Let's see if making this cake together will spark our imagination and guide us to make amazing sweets built on strong basic foundations!

What is it?
A génoise is a type of sponge cake without any leavening agents and it serves as the basis of many french pastries. The batter can be used to form cakes, madeleines, lady fingers, rolled cakes, and many other sweets. The only leavening in the cake is the air suspended in the batter during mixing. It originated in Genoa and is a common base for many French and Italian desserts. It is known to be dry and is concequently commonly soaked in flavored syrups or liquors and covered in buttercream. Click here to see pictures of genoise.

Where can I try it?
The chances are that you've already had génoise at some point in your life as a component of some other dessert.  Most pastry shops and restaurants don't serve génoise on its own but as the cake portion of a more constructed dessert or pastry.  If you're looking to taste the génoise entirely on its own, you're better off just making your own.  You could also easily find madeleines which use an almost identical batter to génoise in most instances.  No batter how you make it, you have aim to keep the right texture or your génoise will come out with a flat leathery texture. You can experiment with the endless number of recipes available in just about every pastry cookbook and online.  

How can I make it? (recipe:  Pastry Chef Online following "The Cake Bible")

Genoise Ingredients:  
1.25 oz browned butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
3.5 oz sugar
1.75 oz sifted cake flour
1.75 oz cornstarch

1.  Spray and 8" or 9" pan with pan spray and line the bottom with parchment and spray again.
2.  Sprinkle flour around the pan and spread around until it sticks to the spray. Tap out excess.
3.  Melt 4 sticks of butter over medium heat until browned with a nutty smell. Strain. Let cool to room temperature.  Weigh out 1.25oz and freeze the rest after.
4.  Stir the eggs and water in a large mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water until lukewarm.
5.  Mix with an electric mixer until it has tripled in volume.
6.  Take 3/4 cup of egg mixture from step 4 and whisk in the warm liquid browned butter. 
7.  Sift half of the flour mixture over the remaining eggs and fold in gently and thoroughly in order to minimize loss of volume.
8.  Repeat with the rest of the flour.  Fold in the butter mixture.
9.  Pour batter in to prepared pan, smooth the top and bake at 350F.  Don't open the oven until the cake is golden brown and the cake shrinks away from the sides slightly or it may collapse. (25-35min)
10.  Turn upside down on to a wire rack to cool. Trim off top and bottom. Sprinkle with syrup.  

Syrup Ingredients:
2 oz sugar
4 oz water
1 oz liqueur of your choice or vanilla

1.  Bring sugar and water to a rolling boil stirring occasionally.  
2.  Cool to room temperature and add liquor.  

Tips from the Real World:
- Since there is no leavening, you need to keep the batter light and fluffy throughout the process.  
- Be gentle with the batter and don't over mix it.  Use a whisk to fold in the flour and aim only for incorporation.  
- Regardless of the recipe, overheating the eggs can lead to drying and already dry cake.
- Sift in any dry ingredients to prevent clumping and to keep it light and fluffy.
- You can use a whisk or fold with a rubber spatula to maintain texture.  
- When adding wet ingredients to dry ingredients, add incrementally and mix in between.
- When browning butter, use a light colored pan so that you can easily see the color of the butter.

Ideas for Variations:
- If you decide to just eat the génoise unadorned, just sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on top.  
- Génoise is a common component in more elegant desserts such as tiramisu and petit fours. Give them a try!
- You can replace some of the flour with cocoa powder to make a chocolate génoise.
- This same batter can be used for lady fingers and madeleines. You can use extra batter to experiment!
- This makes a great practice cake if you want to try your hand at some decorating. (You can also use a clean glass plate or upside down cake pan so that you can scrape off the frosting and reuse it.)


Monday, September 20, 2010

Gotta buy some supplies.

Hardware Shopping List:
- Madeleine Pan *ordering*
- Offset Spatula *soon*
- bowl scraper *soon*
- Removable Bottom Round Tart Pan *wishful thinking*
- Creme Caramel Molds
- Jelly Roll Sheet Pan (borrowing?)
- Pastry Bag Tips (borrowing?)
- Flower Nail
- Thermometer

I think I'll alternate between the cream/custard desserts and the genoise desserts since too much of either will get old after a while.  =)

---------- EDIT ----------

I just went on a mini shopping spree:
- Madeleine Pan $14.99
- Cooking Thermometer (for chocolate/candy) $16.06
- Disposable Pastry Bags $7.26 - yes, I am too lazy to wash out a bag
- Pastry Bag Tip Set $33.49 - I AM SERIOUS ABOUT THIS PROJECT!
- 8 inch offset spatula $12.00 FREE with 4-for-3 promotion

Friday, September 17, 2010

Layered Cakes... Gotta Love Them! ;)

So, while I was researching choux creme and baumkuchen, I found this squirrel in Japan who just LOVES baumkuchen!  I seriously watched about fifteen or so of his videos and then finally just subscribed to the channel!  So cute!

Anyways, I've put up a recipe for baumkuchen and completed my mille crepe today!  I don't know what it is about the Japanese and thinly layered cakes but the pairing is definitely starting to grow on me too!  Baumkuchen and mille crepes cake look so good!

I think that instead of choux creme next week, I'll go for a genoise cake spree followed by all the recipes that can be made with similar genoise batters - madelines, roll cakes like the brother's macha roll and buche de noel, and possibly sachetorte!

By the way, if anybody plays the Facebook Game "Restaurant City," this week they've released a coffee bar that you can unlock that also serves all kinds of French Pastries!  ^_^

Due to personal request, I've made each of the official cookbook thumbnails click-through to enlarged images. Remember, you can always just download the whole book for yourself from Cookie Dough.

My Mille Crepe is finally done!!!!

So, five hours of hard labor later (over two evenings) and this crepe cake is done!  I can't believe how many firsts were in this recette for me!  Between making a custard for the first time, using a sieve outside of a paleontology lab for the first time, whipping cream in to soft peaks by hand with a whisk for the first time and making crepes for the first time a few days ago - this is my cake of firsts!

I used the recipe by yvonne following Lady M for this mille crepe with over 20 layers of crepes and have yet to actually use the official cookbook for anything... I wonder how long that will last...

No step by step pictures this time.  I got too caught up in all of the individual steps to take the time to use my iPhone to take any pictures except at the end.

---------- edit ----------

I just tried the cake and it is INCREDIBLY rich and is a merciless assault by cream, sugar and flour.  I would highly recommend making twelve rather than eight servings per cake and to add some kind of fruit, sauce or both.  Chocolate syrup also works well.  It definitely needs some kind of natural sweet.  I had a fig reduction sauce and later some chocolate syrup with mine. MUCH better!

Cumulative Ingredients:  5 cups milk, 9.5 tbsp butter, 12 eggs, 1.5 cups flour, 8.5 tbsp sugar, salt pinch, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/3 cup cornstarch, 2 cups heavy cream, 3 tbsp Kirsch = $15 estimated costs per cake (not bad considering that it usually sells for around $70-$90)

Supplies Required:  2 saucepans, 3 mixing bowls (large, medium and small), ice, sieve, spatula, pot scraper (to push custard through sieve), measuring cup, measuring spoons, 10" crepe pan (or any non-stick fry pan), cooling rack, spatula (safe for non-stick pans), sifter or fine sieve, ladel



When Ichigo is late for class and falls down the stairs (again), the dormkeeper gives her some baumkuchen to eat after she misses breakfast.  That same day, they learn to use the special baumkuchen spit and she discovers that the dormkeeper knows how to make amazing baumkuchen witout any baking spit at all!  Let's learn how to make this incredible cake without any special equipment too!

What is it?
It is a layered cake resembling the rings of a tree because it is made by pouring layer after layer of batter on a spit over heat so that you end up with a multilayered circular cake.  "Baumkuchen" means "tree cake" or "log cake" in German and it can trace it's history towards Ancient Greece where an actual log was used as a spit to pour batter on over a fire.  Typically 15 to 20 layers thick, this cake is known as the "King of Cakes" and when baked over a spit can actually weight over 100lbs!  The cut pieces that we saw in the show are actually called "baumkuchenspitzen" or "pointed tree cakes" and are in reality, the scraps that fall off of the spit while baking!  In Japan, these little bits are sold as バウムクーヘン and are popularly used as a return present for wedding guests since it resembles a ring.  It was introduced to Japan by the German Karl Joseph Wilhelm Juchheim through his chain of stores in 1917 and now we can bring it to the US!  CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES OF BAUMKUCHEN.

Where can I try it?
Shops that sell Baumkuchen are actually very difficult to find in the US because it requires a special oven that can't really do much else just to make it, it's time intensive and hasn't really reached a high level of popularity in the US.  Your best bet to taste it will be to make one at home unless you live in a town with a lot of German influence or a big city with a large selection of food shops.  The one you can make at home layers the cake horizontally and is made in a spring-form pan.  You could always try to make it in a fry pan like they do in the show, but I'm not sure if I'm skilled or patient enough for that... the dorm-keeper used a rolled rod of foil that was oiled and rolled in a rectangular fry pan.  Good luck with that.

Mitsuwa Japanese Markets (Pre-Packaged)

How can I make it? (recipe: The German Kitchen)

7/8 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
7/8 cup cornstarch
5 1/2 ounces almond paste
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 egg yolks
6 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
9 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Butter a 9 inch square metal pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom. Butter the parchment, and flour the whole pan. Position the rack of the oven to the lowest level, and preheat the broiler.
In a large bowl, cream the butter or margarine until light and fluffy. Add in the almond paste in small chunks; beat until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Beat in the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add in the sugar slowly while continuing to beat the meringue to stiff, glossy peaks. Fold the meringue into the yolk mixture. Sift the flour over this, and fold in.

Spoon a small amount of batter onto the parchment in the baking pan. With a pastry brush, paint the batter on. You want to cover the paper completely, but have a thin layer. Place under the broiler, and cook until light brown; this should take about 1 to 2 minutes. Brush another layer of the batter over the cake, and place under the broiler. Continue on in this way until all of the batter is used. Cool completely. Turn the cake out of the pan, and trim the edges clean.

In a double boiler, combine the chocolate and the oil. Heat until the chocolate is smooth. With a pastry brush, brush one side of the trimmed cake with some chocolate. Don’t make it too thick. Allow this to harden. Turn the cake over, and brush the other side. Allow the cake to set. Cut the cake into 6 narrow strips, each about 1-1/2 inches wide. Brush the sides and top with the glaze, and allow to set. Store in the refrigerator, but serve at room temperature.

Tips from the show:
- You have to coat the spit evenly.
- Wait for the layer to brown before adding the next layer.

Tips from the real world:
- You can make this dish in a spring form with something in the middle or use an angelfood cake mold to maintain a ring shape but the layers will still be going in the wrong direction.
- It takes a lot of patience to make this cake and you should use a broiler where you can pull out the pan's shelf so that you don't burn your hand on the oven.
- Be sure to alot at most five hours to do this but at least three... it's very time consuming.

Ideas for Variations:
- You can coat or frost the outside in various chcocolate glazes or frostings.
- After frosting or other coating is added, you can add toppings like nuts.

Baumkuchen makes a reappearance in season 2 episode 3.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crepe Pan! Crepes!

My brand new Calphalon 10" crepe pan came in the mail Monday and I opened it up last night and made crepes this morning!  I will say that I didn't get a perfect crepe until around my fourth or fifth crepe but I did eventually get some amazingly thin and perfectly round crepes!  The perfect ones didn't make it in to the picture before making it in to my mouth though.  x_x

I will say that I have quite a few tips to add to the mille crepe recipe which I will attempt on Thursday after I purchase some Kirschwasser for the pastry creme.  Yes, I am making "adult" crepe cake here... my new crepe pan is my new love.  I wouldn't say that I'm totally all Kahoko Hino over a violin yet, but I'm getting there!  ;)

Here is the recipe for my practice crepes (makes 10-15):

2 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cups water
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tblspn melted butter
1 tspn vanilla extract
2.5 tblspn granulated sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender on high for 10 seconds and let settle in the fridge for an hour.  Lightly grease the non-stick pan with butter, then get to creping!  This recipe isn't the best but it's the easiest batter to prepare since I was looking more to practice crepe-cooking technique than actual batter quality and technique.  They tasted great with Nutella, whipped cream and chocolate syrup!

PS  I'm in love with anybody who figured out my La Corda d'Oro reference!  =P

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'll put up another recipe tomorrow, I promise.

I'm a student and I'm studying for the LSAT on October 9th to get in to law school... so needless to say, I'm a little stressed and eating my way through any sweets at home.  I'll put up another recipe when I get home from classes tomorrow, I promise.  Until then, I've put up a few tributes to the food that I don't think I'll even try to replicate but since they look so good, I'll call them recipe-less eye candy.  Enjoy!

A Tribute to the Sweets Kingdom

Ichigo goes with Vanilla to the Sweets Kingdom for their Newear's Festival via the train stop inside the oven.  The Sweets Kingdom is an amazing place with incredible food and interesting produce.  Here is a short tribute to some of the amazing foods featured in this episode.

This incredible land has fantasial chocolate waterfalls, sugar rivers, castles and even quaint little towns that make you think of Beauty and the Beast and makes you want to sing "Bonjour!"

Their produce is amazing - oranges with marzipan inside, cabbages with vanilla inside, chocolate bananas, and trees where the sap is actually coffee!

You gotta admit, with everybody coming together to make special sweets for a once in a year event, this place has a very "santa's workshop" feel to it!

It seems that everybody seems to have a likeness there as well!

And of course, let's not forget the incredible sweets there!

Chirp Chirp Preschool Birthday Cake for Ringo

Ichigo's original apple cake design with marzipan figures and a turkish delight playset are stolen and she is still able to recover by using the same decorative pieces and putting together a gingerbread house along with the original apple cake as a  base.  While she uses apple jelly, team B decides to use apple custard in their design and still produce a great cake!  In the end, both cakes made people smile.