Sunday, February 15, 2009

Of baking

Not that I've not been doing anything since my last post, just that it's failure, failure and failures..... sigh. I tried my hand on bread-making again, after my previous failed attempt. Anyway, i'll keep trying until i get it right. Sigh... when can i get a freshly baked bread for my little baby? Or should i get a bread machine? It takes a little passion to withstand failures!

Other than the bread, i also (half) failed my sponge cake which i baked yesterday. It all boils down to my 'itchy hand'; the normal oven mode i used is conventional, but i happily changed it to conventional-fan, hoping that the bake will turn out better. To my horror, i got a charred and harden sponge cake. Why half-fail: i cleverly peel the outer skin and salvaged the cake which is still soft and nice inside. I turned it into sandwich cake, and spread strawberry jam, which zak and me happily ate for our tea-break ;-)

The next moment, i did another sponge cake again as it is supposedly to be for uncle eddie's birthday cake, though he don't eat anything non-chocolate and the rest of the family members can't take too much heaty food like chocolate cake. I went back using the same conventional mode, and the sponge cake turned out ideal. I think this sponge cake is better than the earlier ones I've done.

Strawberry, kiwi and jack-fruits

Then, there's another failed attempt to do a chocolate gateau (baked in cuppies) yesterday night, which i reluctantly threw them away. Although they looked perfect whilst in the oven baking, they deflated when cool, tasted underbaked and way too sweet for my taste-bud. I don't think i will try this out again.

Luckily I have time to try out another recipe, and i used it to do some chocolate cupcakes. This is modified using Baking Mum's Vanilla Cupcakes, which i only did half-recipe for fear that we can't finish so many cakes and the usually big spread of other food at the birthday 'boy' place.

Chocolate Cupcakes (yield 16 small cuppies)

Ingredients/ Method:
97.5g cake flour
50g plain flour
20 cocoa powder
75g castor sugar
50g light brown sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
110g salted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tbsp vanilla essence

1) Preheat oven at 165 degC.
2) In a bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, cocoa powder. On low speed, add in butter and beat until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3) In another bowl, mix eggs, milk and vanilla essence. Lightly whisk to mix well.
4) Add egg mixture into flour mixture in 3 parts, and ensure each addition is well mixed. Do not overbeat the mixture.
5) Fill cups about 2/3rd full. Bake for 20-25 mins or when skewer comes out clean.
6) Cool before decorating/ frosting.

Initially wanted to leave the chocolate cuppies naked, but there are too many reasons that compelled me to decorate it abit; a) always wanted to try out butter-cream, b) wanted to try out my frosting/ decorating skills, c) my little baby's birthday is coming up and i wanted to prepare some cuppies for his celebration at school, so this is a good trial opportunity, d) curious on a newly found butter-cream recipe, e) there's a bug in me which keep 'pushing' me to 'just do it'!

American Butter Cream

Ingredients/ Method:
56g butter, cubed (i used unsalted)
28g shortening
113g powdered sugar
1) Beat the butter and shortening until creamy.
2) Add in powdered sugar in a steady stream until well incorporated.
3) Add in 1/2 tbsp water to fluff up the butter cream.
4) Add colour or flavour as desired.

As i was quite clueless on how and what to decorate on the cuppies, i consulted my little baby for advice...kekeke... he's 2.5 weeks shy of two years old. He told me 'car', 'star', 'moon', 'heart', 'uncle eddie'.... and here they are. No car and short of a heart-shaped cuppies cos they went down to little zak's stomach before i complete my frosting project.

Of baking, it takes a little passion to withstand (many) failures!