Monday 30 December 2013

New Year Cakes Recipes

New Year Cakes Recipes
Steamed Chinese New Year Cake Recipe
This traditional steamed Chinese New Year cake, known in Mandarin as nian gao(“higher year”), is flavoured with almond extract and Chinese brown sugar. It’ll bring you good luck in the new year! After a few days, the chewy cake will harden up; Grandma Ruby, who gave us this recipe, dips hardened leftover slices into beaten egg and pan-fries them in vegetable oil to soften the inside and crisp up the outside. What to buy: Chinese brown sugar is made from unrefined cane sugar. It can be found in the dried goods section of Asian markets and is sold in 1-pound bricks that separate into slabs.
Sweet rice flour, also known as glutinous rice flour or mochiko, is produced from sticky rice grains and is actually gluten-free. It’s available at Asian markets in the starch section. Regular rice flour, which is produced from long-grain rice, will not yield the same results.
Dried Chinese red dates, also known as jujubes, are olive-sized, sweet, and prune like, and are used in both savoury and sweet dishes. They can be found in the dried goods section of Asian markets.
Special equipment: If you don’t have a large bamboo steamer, create your own steamer. Take two 24-inch-long pieces of aluminium foil and loosely roll and crumple each one width wise into a 1-inch-thick piece. Form each piece into an “S” shape and place both in a large frying pan or a large straight-sided pan with a tight fitting lid. Add an inch of water and bring it to a simmer. Proceed with the recipe, placing the cake pan on top of the foil coils rather than in a bamboo steamer.
   2 cups water, plus more for steaming
• 1 (1-pound) package Chinese brown sugar
• 1 pound sweet rice flour (about 3 cups)
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for coating the pan
• 2 teaspoons almond extract
• 10 dried seedless Chinese red dates, also known as jujubes, for garnish (optional)
• 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  1.  Place the measured water and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. (Do not let it boil.) Remove from heat and let cool until warm to the touch.
  2.  Meanwhile, fill a 14-inch wok with about 1 1/2 inches of water and place a 12-inch bamboo steamer inside. (The water should not touch the bottom of the steamer.) If you don’t have a wok and a bamboo steamer, use a large frying pan and foil as described above in “Special equipment.” Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with vegetable oil; set aside.
  3.  Place the rice flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the sugar-water mixture, beating until smooth, about 2 minutes. If needed, stop to scrape down the sides of the mixer with a rubber spatula.
  4.  Add the measured oil and continue beating on low speed until the batter is smooth and the oil is incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the almond extract and beat until just incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  5. Carefully place the pan in the bamboo steamer or on top of the foil coils. Cover the bamboo steamer with its lid or cover the wok or frying pan with a tight fitting lid or a sheet of aluminium foil. (Do not cover the cake pan directly with a lid or foil.) Steam until the cake is very firm to the touch, about 3 hours, checking every hour and replenishing the wok or pan with hot tap water as needed. While the cake is still warm, garnish with the dates (if using) and sesame seeds. Let cool on a rack to room temperature. Run a knife around the outside of the cake, then slip a thin spatula under the cake to lift it out. Serve it sesame seed side up.
Confetti Cake
What you'll need
• Cake
• 1 1-pound box angel food cake mix
• 1/4 cup colored candy sprinkles
•  Frosting
• 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
• 8 teaspoons cold water
• 2 cups whipping cream (unwhipped)
• 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Colored sprinkles
• 2 decorative cake sprays (available at party stores)
• Wire star garland (available at party stores)
• 1 sheet of shiny or metallic colored paper (for year star)
• Marker
• Tape
How to make it
  1.  Follow the directions on the cake mix box, but just before pouring the batter into the tube pan, add the sprinkles.
  2.  Mix them quickly and gently with as few strokes as possible and pour the batter into the pan immediately. If you mix and pour too slowly, the colors may bleed and color the surrounding batter.
  3.  Make the frosting right before you plan to apply it so that it doesn't set. For best results, apply the frosting, sprinkles, and decoration no more than an hour before serving.
  4.  Combine the gelatin and water in a small saucepan.
  5.  Let it stand until thick.
  6.  Set the pan over low heat, stirring constantly until the gelatin dissolves. Don't let it boil, as that would reduce the gelling power of the gelatin.
  7.  Remove the gelatin from the heat. While it cools a bit, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl and whip them with an electric mixer until the mixture thickens slightly.
  8.  Gradually pour the liquid gelatin (don't let it set) into the whipped cream mixture and continue to beat at slow speed until blended. Then whip it at high speed until it's stiff and peaks form when you lift the beaters.
  9.  Frost the completely cooled cake with a generous, fluffy layer, making swirls and peaks as you go.
  10.  Add confetti (colored sprinkles) and the sparkly year decoration. (Tip: We applied the sprinkles to the sides of the cake by lightly tossing them against the frosting. After we stuck our store-bought metallic sprays entwined with a star garland into the cake, we cut a 2-inch star out of paper, wrote the year numerals on it, and taped it to the sprays.) Store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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