Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chestnut Cake with Bavarian Cream 小型栗子蛋糕

I must be nuts...more chestnut. After the mango fever this summer, I am nuts about chestnut in the winter. After the previous chestnut cake and the chocolate chestnut cake , I am onto another recipe with Bavarian cream. Instead of a big 8 or 9 inch cake this time, a mini version like petite four is made. Although there is more work involved, it is very worthwhile. It is what making desserts is all about: dedication, hard work and "heart" work. If you put your heart into it, it will blossom into something that is enjoyable. Then all the hard work is rewarded.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Classes 新班開鑼

After taking a break in December, baking classes are back in the coming new year. Chinese New Year is a bit early for 2012. In order to prepare for it, I have designed some classes to make traditional steamed cake. Click here for details.

十二月休息了一個月之後,新班迎接虎年即將開鑼啦! 有多款中式糕點與大家分享。詳情這點擊這裏 。

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mini Fruit Tarts 袖珍水果撻

These little munchkins are good for parties, potlucks, or to end any dinner. You don't need to worry about cutting a big tart; just pick up one and bite right into it. After pre-baking the tart crust, you can put in any pastry cream, Sabayon, Bavarian cream or custard in the bottom, then top it with any fruits you like and it will surely please any palate.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies 聖誕姜餅曲奇

I wonder when this tradition began: baking cookies for Christmas. Cookie recipes are all over the place especially over the web. I am not a big fan of cookies but my daughter wants to make some for her friends. So I let her do every thing...except for writing up this post, of course.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Clay Pot Rice with Chinese Sausages 臘味煲仔飯

I know we are blessed to live in Los Angeles, especially during the wintertime. Winter in Southern California is mild compared to the rest of the country. The normal daytime highs are in the 60's and nighttime lows are around the 40's. Although we don't usually get below freezing temperatures, it is still considered to be cold by many of us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chestnut Cake 栗子蛋糕

Last year I made a Chocolate Chestnut Cake for my birthday. Although it is not my birthday yet, I made this chestnut cake with a different recipe for my friend's birthday. This is a three-layer butter cake made with chestnut puree. In addition, I put whipping cream with chestnut puree inbetween the layers and also for decoration.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle 雜果三層蛋糕杯

Do you have a hard time deciding what to bring to a potluck party? I do, sometimes. I try not to bring the same type of food every time. Even if I bring dessert, I will try to make different ones.

This trifle is simple to make. It is meant to be served in a glass to showcase the three layers: chiboust cream, cake and fruits. Instead of making a fresh fruit and pastry cream cake, it will make a different impression to serve in a wine glass. Just let your creativity lead you!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Soy Sauce Egg 鹵水蛋

Hard boiled eggs sound easy to make. I remember it was one of the small and simple tasks that was taught to me by my mom when I was young. I was not properly instructed at the time and most of the time the eggs cracked while boiling and the whites spilled out and it became ugly.  And sometimes the yolk is completely runny....There is so much science involved: click here to read an experiment on boiling eggs. In reality, it is more than a simple task...

Now I am a mom, I want to make sure that my children know how to boil an egg properly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Raspberry and Chocolate Mousse Cake

It has been a year since I began this blog. I don't know how I did it--more than 80 posts in the past year, with an average of more than one post each week. It has been a very rewarding experience. I have learned so much about different aspects of baking that it really augmented my knowledge and skill. However there are still a lot of unconquered areas that require me to practice more, like laminated dough making and techniques in working with chocolate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Whole Wheat Bagel

There's some thing different about bagels that set them apart from bread. Instead of using regular 12% protein bread flour, it uses the highest percentage of protein: high gluten flour contains 14% protein. That is the highest gluten content in wheat flour available as far as I know. This high protein content lets it have the distinctive chewy texture that I love. Another factor that contributes to its special texture is the boiling before baking. It takes a bath of boiling water that contains some baking soda in it for about 20 seconds. The longer it boils, the chewier the skin.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Classic Carrot Cake 胡蘿蔔蛋糕

The banana bread I made last time made me reminisce about my old baking days. Besides banana bread, carrot cake is also one of my old time favorites. This classic carrot cake recipe is also from Joanne Chang's new recipe book. Just like banana bread, this recipe is not very different from the one I have been using for a very long time. It does not use any magical or special ingredients. But what set it apart from other recipes is the way it is put together. The beating of eggs and sugar to incorporate air bubbles and the slow addition of oil are important factors for producing soft and moist crumb instead of dense and "doughy" cake.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Totally Astonished !!

Many people say life is an adventure. Forrest Gump says it's like a box of chocolates."You never know what you're gonna get!" When I started this blog a year ago, I just wanted to share my recipes and love of baking with others. A few months ago, I wouldn't even envision myself "teaching" others how to bake bread.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dessert and Cake Class 蛋糕甜品班


Dessert and Cake Class

As temperature drops and the air becomes crispy clear, we know it is the change of season. Fall is already here and before we know it, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays will be here in no time. It also means that family gatherings and party celebrations will fill our calendar. Do you want to impress your friends or guests with a homemade dessert this year ? Mark down on your calendar the following dates (or iPhone/iPad).

春去秋來, 轉眼又是秋高氣爽的日子, 跟着感恩節、聖誕節及新年便接踵而至, 在這些喜慶節日, 一家人或和朋友歡聚是少不了的, 在享用完一頓美食後怎少得了一道甜點呢今年你是否希望為你的親朋好友親手做一款愛心甜點或蛋糕呢機會來了, 請在你的記事簿(or iPhone/iPad) 上寫上以下日期.

This time I will offer a few classes to fit different interests and skill levels:

1)  Basic Chiffon Cake and Cupcake Class: this class will cover the basic techniques in making a cake such as how to properly beat egg, fold batter, cream butter and sugar, etc.

Date: 10/22/11 Saturday 1-4pm

chiffon cake

2)  Tiramisu and Souffle: what is the secret for making a dramatic rise in a souffle ? how to make a creamy tiramisu that is filled with coffee and liquor flavor ?

Date: 10/29 Saturday 1-3pm

strawberry souffle
mango souffle

3)  Japanese light Cheesecake and Lava Cake: this extremely light cheesecake is so velvety that it will just melt in your mouth. Instead of getting a lava cake from a five star hotel or restaurant, I will show you how to make it easily at home to "wow" your family and guests.

Date: 11/12/11 Saturday 1-4pm

chocolate lave cake

Class size: minimum 3, maximum 6 per class

Note: Weekday morning class available upon request

Send me an email to reserve your spot:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banana Bread 香蕉蛋糕

I don't remember when the last time I made banana bread was... It must be at least three or more years ago. This is one of the easier recipes that started my interest in baking when I was young (I mean in my teenage and early twenty years).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chocolate Silk Pie 朱古力派

My kids have asked me to make a chocolate pie for a long time and I finally got my hands on the recipe. This pie is good as a summer time dessert since it is a no-bake pie (if you use a store bought ready-to-use pie crust). The eggs are sanitized by heating to 160F so it is safe to eat even without further baking. The chocolate filling is so rich and trufflelike that it will surely satisfy any chocoholic!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hong Kong Egg Tart 蛋撻

I admit that making egg tart in puff pastry is quite a challenge, especially in the summer. Roll out the dough, fold, refrigerate, repeat... it requires not just skill but a lot of patience, but making it in butter dough is a lot easier. I usually make a big batch of the dough and keep it in the freezer. Whenever my family feels like having egg tart for a snack or dessert, then I will beat up some eggs and it will be ready in a very short time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coming Soon

9/21/11 UPDATE:

The class on 9/24/11 is already full. I have added two more classes to meet the demand: 9/23/11 Friday morning and 10/1/11 Saturday afternoon. Reserve your space before it is full again !

Confused about the difference between bread flour, all-purpose flour and cake flour? Don’t know whether to buy unbleached or bleached flour?
Concerned with all the artificial and food additives in the processed foods you buy? Want to learn a life skill that will definitely benefit the health of your family and at the same time have fun?
If your answer to any of the above is positive, then you do not want to miss this great opportunity.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Taiwanese Moon Cake 綠豆椪


我住在加州羅省雖然超過廿年,但因為身邊的朋友大部份是廣東人,所以我還未有機會嘗試過台式月餅,直至最近有朋友送來一些 (thank you, Michelle)。我咬上一口後便十分喜歡,鬆軟的酥皮內包着軟滑香甜的綠豆茸,綠豆茸內又有些咸的肉鬆,甜中帶些少咸,口中有着不同的感覺,實在妙極 !

Monday, August 29, 2011

Annoucement: baking class

It's been almost a year since I launched this blog in October 2010. I have learned so much this past year, not just in terms of cooking and baking skills, but also about blogging and photographic techniques. It really opened me up to a new world and many doors to me. And most importantly, the more I know, I realized that there was far more I needed to know.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all my family and friends who support me through different channels. I would not have gone this far without your ideas, suggestions and encouragements.

In response to numerous inquiries, I am taking a leap of faith to offer cooking classes after much consideration. This is just a way to share my experience with those who are interested and it is not meant to be formal training. I hope it will be fun, practical, interesting, and a way to make more friends.

In order to accommodate different needs, I would like to ask you to give me feedback or comments so that I would have an idea as to what and when (weekdays or/and weekends) to offer. You can do so by clicking comment on the bottom of this post. Thank You!

自從上年十月開始,轉眼間我寫這個網誌也將近一年時間,我不斷在各方面學習,除了烹飪及烘焙技巧與知識外, 網誌、電腦與攝影技術對於我也是很新的範疇,有很多學習的空間。寫這個網誌實在擴闊了我的世界及開搌了很多門,使我更體驗到學海無涯之意思。



為了能適合不同人的須要,請在下面comment處寫上你的意見及須要,以便我可以設計不同的課程及上課時間去迎合各位,多謝 !

Friday, August 26, 2011

More Snowy Moon Cakes 冰皮月餅(二)

Yes, the moon cakes are so popular that there are suggestions to make different flavors and fillings. This time I tried out different colors of the skin to match the filling inside. Also, I tried to be innovative by putting chocolate ganache in the center of the filling--"a filling inside a filling"--just like the traditional moon cake with a yolk inside the lotus seed paste filling.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Snowy Moon Cake 冰皮月餅

Snowy moon cake or icy skin moon cake both refer to a relatively new moon cake invented by a Hong Kong bakery called Tai Pan in recent years. The traditional Cantonese moon cake is ususally filled with lotus seed paste with a salted duck egg yolk and baked in a thin crust. Ususally it is loaded with lard and sugar and can be kept for a long time. But in this health conscious time, a healthier version made with vegetable oil and less sugar is welcome by many.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fraisier 法式草莓蛋糕

I have been trying to make this cake for a long time. The traditional fraisier is made in a square mousse ring. Since I do not have a square mousse ring, I didn't know how it would turn out if I used a round springform pan. But strawberries are in season and I just don't want to pass up this opportunity...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chocolate Gelato 朱古力雪糕

My family admits to being addicted to chocolate. We are also addicted to homemade gelato ever since we bought the ice cream machine a while ago. I don't think we would go back to supermarket grade ice cream if we were given the choice. This chocolate gelato is so rich and full of chocolate that it satisfies the chocoholics at home. By doing it at home, we can select the finest ingredients and no other additives !!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Raisins Braided Bread 葡萄乾辮子麵包

I remember this is one of my favorite breads from my childhood. I used to pick the raisins out from the bread and eat them first, but there usually were not that many in it. Now since I can make it myself, I can put as many as I'd like in it (but don't go overboard, don't use more than 33% of the flour weight). I can also make it as healthy as I'd like it to be, too. This one is made using whole wheat flour and ground flaxseed with Tong Zhong.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chocolate Bo Lo Bao 朱古力菠蘿包

There is a saying that do not judge a book by its cover, but let me rephrase it: "Do not judge bread by its crust." Although this chocolate bo lo bao has a darker crust than regular bo lo bao , the crust is still as crunchy and tasty as the regular one. The difference is the addition of cocoa powder. It adds a taste of chocolate flavor to an otherwise just plainly sweet crust. It passed the taste test of my chocoholics at home!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pizza with Portabella Mushrooms, Onion and Sausage 意大利薄餅

What's the secret of making a good pizza? I think having good and fresh ingredients are more important than technique. If you have freshly made sauce and high quality cheese, the thickness of the crust, which can be your own personal preference, will not matter.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Whole Wheat Tong Zhong Bread with Pumpkin 南瓜全麥湯種麵包

This is a super nutritious daily bread. It is good for breakfast by slightly toasting it and spreading on either butter, almond butter or jam, or making it a sandwich for lunch. For the pumpkin, you can either use fresh, or canned for convenience. If you prefer to completely make it from scratch, just steam and smash with a fork. With canned pumpkin, look for one that has no added sugar.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Name 新名稱

Passion Baker is now More Than Bread. After much thought and suggestions from friends and family, I have decided to change the name of this blog to a shorter and catchier name. As the new name implies, this blog is more than bread. I started to take the challenge of making bao law bao and then evolved to baking cakes and more. Baking is still my passion but I would like to explore other culinary territories as well.

You will be redirected to the new site:


經過很多朋友及家人的建議,我決定將這個網誌的名稱由Passion Baker改為More Than Bread。這個網誌雖然由焗菠蘿包開始,但是絕對不只焗麵包咁簡單,更有其他糕餅、甜品、小食及各式中西美食。我希望除了烘焙之外,可以與大家分享更多烹飪經驗與心得。


Friday, July 15, 2011

Chinese Steamed Cake 缽仔糕

Chinese Steamed Cake

This is another snack commonly offered by Hong Kong street vendors besides the Hong Kong Style Egg Waffle. This one also brings back a lot of my childhood memories. I have been searching the internet for the right recipe and found this one. This steamed cake is much more easier to make than the waffle because it does not require any special tools or gadgets, but the proportion of different flours to water is crucial in producing the right texture. Otherwise, it's so easy to make!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Strawberry Gelato 士多啤梨雪糕

What is the difference between ice cream and gelato? I guess it depends on who you ask! For a kid, it makes no difference at all. In a hot summer day, who cares?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Orange Chiffon Cake 香橙雪紡蛋糕

Chiffon cake is an all American invention. An American sales person, not a cook or pastry chef, came up with this popular cake that made with oil instead of butter. This sponge cake is very light and airy and can be made in a lot of different flavors. This orange cake is one of them. The freshly squeezed orange juice, the zest and the orange liquor all contribute to its great refreshing taste.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 雲呢哪籽雪糕

There are a few items that we never run out of in our household: flour, chocolate and ice cream. I make bread at least once a week so I have to make sure that I have fresh flour. For has a lot of uses. It can be eaten plainly as candy or to be used in making cakes or other desserts. And for ice cream, my freezer always has at least a carton or two in stock. I had tried making ice cream without a machine but the result was not very satisfactory. It had a lot of ice crystals. My kids complained that the ice cream was crunchy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Homemade X. O. Sauce 自家製 X. O. 醬

It has been very scary to read the newspaper lately, especially the Chinese newspapers. It is even more disturbing to go to the grocery store. Many Chinese, including myself, have been avoiding buying processed food which has the "made in China" label. One alternative is to search for the equivalent which is made in Taiwan. But it seems that we are almost run out of alternatives.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Strawberry Mousse Cake 士多啤梨慕絲蛋糕

You can always tell summer is here when you enter a grocery market and see all the fruits with beautiful colors. And the smell of fresh berries are so attractive. We had mango madness not too long ago. Now it is strawberry's turn !! I started out with strawberry soufflé . And I've tried mango mousse cake , how about a strawberry mousse cake !!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes and Rosemary 意大利麵包

This Italian flatbread is similar to pizza, except it doesn't have any sauce on top. I've tried making it before a few times and it came out well. Recently Los Angeles Times published a recipe by Nancy Silverton, owner of La Brea Bakery. It calls for baking the bread in a cake pan instead of a baking sheet.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies (close to DoubleTree Hotel Recipe) 朱古力曲奇

Nothing is more simple to enjoy and make as cookies. Mix together flour, eggs, sugar and butter and after a short time in the oven, you have homemade cookies. If you like add-ons such as raisins, chocolate and nuts, feel free to add them. For a more healthy touch, put oatmeals, flaxseed or even whole wheat flour. Bake for a short time for chewy ones and longer if you like crunchy cookies. It's as simple as that.

But there is some thing that makes the cookies from Doubletree Hotel special.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Strawberry Soufflé 草莓梳乎厘

After making the mango soufflé successfully, I couldn't wait to try out some other flavors. Strawberries are one of my family's favorite fruits. By using fruits to make desserts, it is more refreshing and healthy. The recipe is basically the same as the mango soufflé. I pureed the strawberries in a blender and got rid of the seeds by straining it through a sieve, then proceeded with the rest of the recipe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Croissant 牛角飽

It is a popular belief that consuming breads (especially those made from white flour), pastries and desserts will make you gain weight. These foods are loaded with carbohydrates (mainly starch and sugar. Fiber is also a type of carb.) and fats. Modern city dwellers "input" a lot but "output" only a little.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake 朱古力咖啡蛋糕

It's called coffee cake but it does not have any coffee in it. But it gets the name, I think, mainly because it goes well with a cup of coffee for breakfast or any time of the day. I like the texture of this butter cake compared to sponge cake.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Red Bean Pastry 紅豆酥

If you like red bean and flaky pastry, you will love this little Chinese pastry. Just like other Chinese pastries (e.g. egg tart and wife cake), it involves a "water dough" and a "oil dough" to produce the tender and flaky layers. Once you master the technique, the sky is the limit. There are a lot of variations for the filling: taro, date, pumpkin, lotus seed paste, etc. Salted egg yolks are often put in for a richer flavor. For a savory taste, curry beef or pork or char siu are used. It is a very versatile tool.

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