Sunday, April 27, 2014

[Baking] Mango Chiffon Cake

Mango Chiffon Cake

Spring in Texas means the start of the season for Mangoes.  Woohooo!  I love mangoes especially the sweet ones.  The Mango Chiffon Cake is one of the more popular desserts in the Philippines.  I have several favorite mango desserts:  Mango PavlovaCanonigoConti's Mango Bravo, and Mango ice box cake to name a few.

Ms. Corrinne has a Mango and Cream Cake recipe that I've tried and tweaked a bit to call it my own. I lessen the sugar by 1/2 - 1 tablespoon to lessen the guilt and I add cubed mangoes in the batter on days when I feel extra special.

MANGO AND CREAM CAKE from Ms. Corinne of Heart of Mary
(recipe suitable for two 9" by 2 1/2" round pans, or one 10" by 3" round pan)
Chiffon Cake:
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup corn/canola oil
7 egg yolks, from extra large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup water 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange extract

7 eggwhites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line bottom of baking pans with parchment paper.  Do not grease pans.
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 the sugar {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Pour batter into baking pans.  If using two 9" pans, divide the batter equally.
4. Bake for about 55 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely.
5. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan, then invert. For easier handling, wrap your cake very well in cling film, then refrigerate overnight before frosting.

Mango Whipped Cream Frosting:
2 cups whipping or thickened cream, very cold
1 250g bar of cream cheese, soft but still cold
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about 3 medium-sized mangoes (more if you love mangoes!)

*Make sure your mixing bowl and beaters for the whipped cream are all well chilled to achieve better volume.

Puree mango meat of one mango.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Set aside.

In your chilled bowl and using clean beaters, beat the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until the mixture is quite stiff. Gently fold in the cream cheese then beat again at high speed for a few seconds or just until everything is well combined.  Be careful not to overbeat.  Carefully fold in the mango puree.

To assemble:
Cut up the rest of your mangoes into small cubes or thin slices (whichever you prefer) to use for the filling and for garnishing.

Place one cake layer on your cake board, top side up. Use some of the frosting to fill the cake.  Scatter the mango cubes/slices all over the filling.  Place the top cake layer over the bottom layer, bottom side up.  Frost the cake with the remaining whipped cream frosting, decorate as desired and garnish with more mango cubes/slices.

I love that it comes out fluffy, soft, delicately sweet and is always a hit among friends and family.  Try it soon.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, April 21, 2014

[Baking] Pavlova

Four years ago, we visited family in Australia where I had my first taste of this delicate dessert:  Pavlova.  It is a meringue-based dessert with a crisp outer shell and gooey, marshmallow-like on the inside.  They say that the dessert was created in honor of a ballet dancer Pavlova, hence the name, during her dance tour in Australia and New Zealand.

The recipe is different from the regular meringue recipe in that it uses cornflour which causes the center to be gooey.  It is also baked for a long time, 90 minutes, and cooled in the oven.  The recipes in the internet are basically the same.  I used this one by Catty.

PAVLOVA (adapted from The Catty Life)
4 large egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 tablespoon corn flour
300-500 mL whipping cream 
1 1/2 cup strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 piece kiwi
1 mango (pureed or diced)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 120°C/250°F.
  2. On a sheet of parchment/baking paper, draw an 8″ diameter circle. Turn over, or place another sheet on top but make sure you can still see the circle.
  3. Separate egg whites from the yolk and place in a clean large mixing bowl. Beat at a medium to high speed until soft peaks form. 
  4. Gradually add in the sugar while still beating and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Your mixture should now be a smooth meringue.
  5. Sprinkle vinegar and corn flour over the mixture and fold in with a spatula.
  6. Using a spatula, spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and baking paper keeping the meringue inside the circle. Smooth over and try to make the outside edges slightly higher than the inside edges.
  7. Bake meringue in oven on a middle shelf for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, turn off the oven, leave the oven door slightly open and leave pavlova to cool for 2 hours or over night if possible.
  8. When ready to serve, beat the whipping cream in a large bowl until it becomes firm enough so that it can hold itself up. Spread across the top of the pavlova.
  9. Wash and prepare strawberries, blueberries and kiwi.  I wanted to use passion fruit but since we don't have any, I pureed a mango and drizzled it on top.
It was yummy!!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

[Challenge] A Whimsical Eggciting Birthday!

Today is an "Eggciting Day" for me and the blog because it's my birthday!   Wooohooo.  Thank you for all 
your love and kind greetings.  Early this morning, we were able to catch the first of the Four Blood Moons - NASA says that seeing four complete lunar eclipses in a row is very rare and we will have one every 6 months until October 2015.  We have never seen one so we stayed up late for it and it was amazing! We just stood in awe at how great and might God is - He who created the heavens and the earth.

This project is part of the Philippine Polymer Clay Guild's "Something Whimsical Challenge" and Martha Stewarts "marthasgoodeggs" intsagram post.  The first challenge for me was to figure how to remove the contents of the egg while keeping the shell intact.  So, I did some research and ewwww... it was totally gross!  Let me be graphic here:  make 2 holes on both ends of the egg, burst the egg and mix it up with a needle tool and finally blowing the contents out.  Now don't tell me I didn't warn you.  Anyway, after cleaning and drying the eggshell for 24 hours, I got to work on it.

Friends, meet "Mini-Me."  Oh, isn't she cute?  She's having a wonderful time strolling with her yellow birthday balloon, enjoying the sight of bluebonnets and other wildflowers.

This is made from 100% Premo sculpey polymer clay using the applique technique which is a very tedious and meticulous process that takes a lot of patience, gentle hands and the ability to hold your breath for a long time.  The latter helps to concentrate in order to be precise in putting the components in place.  Whew!

May your days be blessed!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thoughts on Love

Wishing your days are filled with love and joy.
♥  michelle  ♥

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

[Events] "Gone Fishing" Party Theme

A couple of weeks ago, we decorated the hall for a 70th birthday celebration with a Fishing Theme.  Oh, we had fun decorating!  We wanted the backdrop to be colorful and fun so we used buntings, a decorative fishing net, a wooden lighthouse wall decor, colored prints of different kinds of fish and photos of the celebrant.  You can see the how to make the buntings HERE. 
Fishing Party Buntings and Decorations

One of his fishing buddies brought a life-size fisherman, complete with waders, fishing poles, nets, etc!  Oh, he looked cute, especially with his hat and shades.  The cake was nicely done and the food was delicious too.
Fishing Party Decorations

These are the centerpieces.  I used tall vases filled with river rocks.  We covered the outside with this beautiful fabric made by Hauptman fabric and tied it with twine.  We added wooden twigs to serve as fishing rods, and tied red and white wobblers with nylon.  Finally, we glued on fish biscuits.  So adorable!
Fishing Party Decors
Oh boy... we had too many parties to attend to in March.  What have you been up to?  Have fun!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[Diaper Cakes] Kohl's Cares Go Dog, Go Diaper Cake!

Motorcycle Diaper Cake
Kohl's Cares Go Dog Go!
Meet our little Rock Star Go-gol that I got from Kohls Cares a few months ago.  This motorcycle diaper cake is similar to the one that I made HERE.  Isn't he cute?

Rock On!

Monday, April 7, 2014

[Scenes] Sunshine, Bluebonnets and Wild Flowers

My husband and I love to go on road trips.  We have developed a system from what vehicle to rent, where to stay, what snacks and drinks to bring, which rest area to go to, and what music to play, etc. On our recent drive to San Antonio, Texas, we noticed pretty patches of colorful wildflowers along the highway.  It took us time to look for a safe spot where we can stop and take photos up close. 
San Antonio, Texas
These are Bluebonnets, the State flower of Texas.  They bloom in spring and can be seen along the highways and farmlands.  Oh, I love them!
San Antonio, Texas
These red widflowers are called Indian Paintbrush and they may be seen mixed with bluebonnets and others.  Don't they look so pretty together?
Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush
San Antonio, Texas
Pretty soon, these wildflowers will be gone and we'd have to wait for next Spring to see them again. This reminds me of a verse in the Bible:
Isaiah 40:8
"The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever."

Have a wonderful day!
 michelle  ♥

Saturday, April 5, 2014

[Paper] B&B Wedding Wishes

It's been quite some time since I made a Wedding card.
This is for B&B.
Handmade Wedding Card
This is a folded 5x7 inch ivory cardstock.  I printed their photo and added a mat using kraft paper.  The background is teal that I dry embossed using my Sizzix folder.  Then I used Denami Sparklets ultra fine glitter.  The sentiment is a sticker from Stampendous that was placed on a bright pink banner.
The inside of the card also has a sticker saying "Best Wishes."

It's a simple card but I like how personalized it is.
Such a fun and loving couple.
May God bless your union forever and ever.

Love to all from

Friday, April 4, 2014

[Baking] The Pampered Chef Valtrompia Bread Tube

Do you go to garage sales?  We are having one at Church this weekend to raise funds for a Mission trip.  I had fun arranging the clothes, household items, toys, shoes, bags and home decor.  Look what I found - The Pampered Chef Valtrompia Bread Tube Star and Flower.
The Pampered Chef Valtrompia Bread Tube Flower
The Pampered Chef Valtrompia Bread Tube Star
It was love at first sight... they're brand new, fresh from the box.  I don't know how to use it yet but I'm thinking of making something like a modified pound or chiffon cake.  Come and visit us soon to see our review.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

[Cooking] Rick Bayless' Mojo De Ajo

This is Mojo de Ajo or Liquid Gold as Chef Rick Bayless calls it.  I came across this recipe while watching his cooking show.  This is the second time that I made it and it's a hit!

Recipe adapted from Chef's Frontera.
4 heads of garlic - I used the large ones 
2 cups olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili flakes or chili powder
1/2 cup fresh lime juice or calamansi juice

Heat the oven to 325.
Break the heads of garlic and peel off the skin.
Stir together the garlic, oil and salt in a pan.  Slide it into the oven and bake until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 45-55 minutes.  Add the lime or calamansi juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes for the garlic to absorb the line and turn brown.

Using a potato masher, mash the garlic into a coarse puree.  The mixture is ready to use and will stay good for 3 months.

You may use mojo de ajo in making stir fry vegetables or pasta sauce.  It is very flavorful and aromatic.  Try it!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

[Beauty] Hair Updos

Before you read any further, let me warn you that this is a very hairy article.  LOL.

We will be attending a wedding this weekend and I have been thinking of what to do with my medium length hair.  I've never had my hair this long and I want to play with it before I finally decide to have it cut.  

There are several websites and videos that feature different tutorials. Cinthia has caught my attention with her easy to do updos and videos.  Here are 3 of my favorites from her site:

Check out this Easy Elegance Hair Bun.  Isn't it gorgeous?   Simple but very elegant.
I am loving this Easy Messy Updo style.  It's modern and chic.
This messy side bun is also modern and very sexy.  Cinthia makes it look very easy to make in her video but I got to try doing it myself.
So what do you think?  Well, I went to the store and splurged on a lot of bobby pins, hair ties, a new hair brush, some other hair stuff and a L'Oreal lipstick.  Crazy huh?  Yes, it was my girly girly day.

Here's wishing you a great hair day!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

[Tutorial] DIY Happy Birthday Banner

Wow, today is April Fools Day and it marks the start of my birth month.  Yipee!  Oh yeah...  
Happy Birthday to Me!
DIY Birthday Banner
This is a handmade banner that I recently made for a friend while watching "Castle."  Yes, I usually make crafts while listening to music, watching a tv series or a movie.  Don't you?  Tell me about it.  

So, let's start!  Here are the materials and tools that you will need:
Cardstock - I used 2 shades of Teal and Kraft cardstock, 3 pcs
Glue, Tape

Cricut machine and a font (Cricut Base Camp) cartridge
Martha Stewart scoring board
Martha Stewart centering ruler
Fiskars rotary cutter

1.  Determine the size of the letters that you want for your banner - I used 4 inches in this particular project.  You may print the letters manually or use a cricut or a similar machine - I used cricuts' Base Camp font here. 

 2.  Prepare the banner by cutting cardstock into 3.5 x 8 inches.

3.  Adhere the letter, making sure it is centered.

4.  I measured 1.5 inches from the bottom of the banner, got the center and cut one corner to the center, creating an inverted "V" shape.  You may adjust the height according to your preference, that is, depending on how long you want the tail to be.  I love using my MS centering ruler because it makes it so much easier,
 5.   To make the top flat for the string, measure 0.5 inches.  Score and fold.
6.  Fold the top flap and secure it with an adhesive or tape.  I used hemp cord because the party theme for this project was kinda rustic.

That's all, folks!  It didn't take long to make and wasn't costly at all.  Come back soon to see how we made used of this.  Enjoy!

Happy crafting!