Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hokkaido chiffon cake

I've been a laggard in baking these yummy Hokkaido chiffon cakes. There are so many recipes out there, and I took the easy way out when I found one in DreamersLoft who has made comparison of 2 recipes. Taking the same cue, I also tried out Reirei's recipe and they are really good - soft & yummy - even when chilled overnight in the fridge! I've copied the recipe here for my future reference.

Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes
(Adapted from Reirei of All That Matters, makes 10 cupcakes)
3 egg yolks
1/8 tsp salt
24g corn oil
24g milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
32g cake flour
1/8 tsp baking powder (sift together with cake flour)
3 egg white
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
50g caster sugar

90g chilled fresh milk
30g custard powder

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
3/4 tbsp icing sugar (optional)
145g dairy whipping cream

Some Snow Powder (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 175℃。
2) In a bowl, whisk egg yolks with salt. Then add oil, milk and vanilla extract, whisk till well-blended.
3) Fold in flour mixture and set aside.
4) In another bowl, beat egg whites , sugar and cream of tartar to stiff peak.
5) Scoop 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the yolk batter, fold well, then pour batter back to the remaining egg whites. Fold lightly till well-mixed.
6) Fill baking cases with about 30-32g of batter. Bake for 20 mins, then leave to cool.
7) In a separate bowl, mix milk, instant custard powder, vanilla paste and icing sugar till mixture is smooth.
8) Pour in whipping cream and beat till the thickness desired.
9) Using a piping tip, insert tip into the cake and pipe for 5 seconds. 3 to 4 seconds if you prefer less cream.
10) Sieve snow powder on top (optional) and chill cake before serving

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2012

Wishing all a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2012!
祝大家花好月圆庆中秋, 举家团圆赏明月!

Before the festive, I was thinking of making my own spiral yam mooncakes or the traditional mooncakes since I'd tried snowskin for the last few years. I wanted to do something different to give my family a treat and not the "same old thing" again this year. As the date drew nearer, and I was so caught up with work, I had to think of alternative (read: easier and fuss-free) mooncake recipes as both the recipes seem to be a little too tight for me. Anyway I already bought 1-kg packet of white lotus paste (low sugar) and it was sitting in the fridge before I could decide what type of mooncake or recipe to follow. I chanced upon e's joie walnut mooncakes recipe which was originally adapted from Baking Mum. Quite decided to bake this until I fell sick this week and was feeling quite lethargic and restless to do anything. I had almost 2 full days of rest at home, and finally pushed myself a little to roll out some walnut mooncakes and some piggy mooncakes. Aren't these little piggies look cute (though seem slightly disfigured!)?

Walnut mooncakes
(I used 1.5x of the recipe to make 41 mooncakes)

(A) 50g icing sugar
50g shortening
220g salted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ammonium (can be omitted)

(B) 1 egg

(C) 380g plain flour
25g custard powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

1kg white lotus paste (low sugar)

200g walnuts (for decoration)
2 egg yolks + 2 tsp water (egg wash)

1. Cream (A) together till slightly pale and well mixed.
2. Gradually add in egg and mix well.
3. Add sifted (C) into mixture and form a dough. Do not knead or mix for too long.
4. Leave the dough in a plastic bag or cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight or for a few days.
5. Weigh out the 20g skin and 25g filling.
6. Wrap lotus paste in the skin and decorate with walnuts.
7. Apply egg wash and bake at 175 deg C for 10 mins.
8. Bring out and leave to cool for 10 mins.
9. Apply egg wash again and bake for another 15 mins.

I added about 30g melon seeds (toasted at 180 deg C for 10 mins and left to cool) to 500g of lotus paste.
I made the piggy mooncakes following Anncoo's tutorial here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Land of Dinosaurs

When my boy celebrated his 5th birthday in early March with a Monopoly cake, I remembered my sister-in-law asking whether I know how to make a dinosaur cake for my little nephew. I told her then that I will practice how to make one for his 4th birthday. I wanted to try out using modelling paste as the usual fondant is too soft and can't hold its shape well. But I didn't have the time (or maybe too lazy to practice) prior to making the actual birthday cake. As usual, I relied on the internet and googled on "how to make dinosaur using fondant". I chanced upon my saviour, A Baked Creation - exactly what I'm looking for and there's even a step-by-step tutorial on making T-Rex & Stegosaurus. This was 4 days before the birthday party! Imagined the stress and anxiety if the cake flops and how disappointed the birthday boy would be ;(

It was a right choice to use modelling paste as the dinosaurs keep in shape, whereas my test-dinosaurs using fondant looked miserable. Alrighty, I can be more adventurous and creative in my future fondant figurines! Nevermind that I had to stay up till the wee hours for 2 days @@ and can't think straight!

Modelling Paste
Ingredients/ Method:
a) 200gm white marshmallows
2tbsp water
500gm icing sugar
2 tbsp Crisco shortening

b) 1 tsp Gum Tragacanth (can get it from Phoon Huat)

1. Put marshmallows with 2 tbsp water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 secs.
2. Stir marshmallows till they are fluffy using spatula. Add half the icing sugar and mix well.
3. Grease hands with shortening and knead the remaining icing sugar into the fondant.
4. Weigh 225gm of fondant with 1 tsp gum tragacanth and knead till well mixed.
5. Add colour gel to the modelling paste as desired.

a. Keep fondant wrapped in cling wrap and store in ziploc or airtight container. Can keep up to 2 months.
b. Modelling paste turns hard fast so prepare it only when you are ready to use.

So presenting my Land of Dinosaurs, which I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome and of course the excitement from the birthday boy's face when he saw the cake was most rewarding! Happy blessed birthday to my cutsy nephew KH! Also special thanks to the 2 men in my house for throwing ideas on how the cake should be and placing the dinosaurs on the cake <3 p="p">


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pink Lady & Granny Smith

What's with Pink Lady and Granny Smith? Some of you may already know, they are fanciful names for different variety of apples. Both are named feminine and originated from Australia. I wonder whether all apples are female? When I was young (or not too long ago), apples are just either red apple or green apple, or China apple or USA apple. Anyway it's interesting to read up some history on these 2 ladies on wikipedia (Pink Lady or Granny Smith) or the offical website on Pink Lady. Isn't it good that the peripheral of baking is knowledge?

I've digressed. I'm sharing 2 recipes using these apples for my recent bakes. The Apple Frangipane Tart is highly recommended!

Pink Lady Apple Cinnamon Roll

Ingredients/ Method

Water Roux (Tangzhong)125g water
25g bread flour

1. Cook 125g water with 25g bread flour at medium low heat, keep stirring until becomes thicken and no lumps left. Cook until 65 deg C, or if you do not have a thermometer, cook until mixture resembles baby porridge.
2. Transfer to clean bowl and cover with cling wrap to prevent skin forming.
Note: Water roux can be stored for 2 days, and if colour turn dark grey, to discard.
Apple Cinnamon Fillings
2 Pink Lady apples, peeled cored and cubed (can used any apples)
30g brown sugar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

1. Add all ingredients into a pot and cook on medium-low heat until apples are soft and mixture looks 'gluey'.
2. Set aside to cool.

(A) 210g bread flour
56g plain flour
20g milk powder
42g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6g instant yeast
30g eggs
85g water
84g water roux (refer to water roux recipe as above)
22g butter

(B) 15g butter, soften

1. Put all the ingredients (A) except butter and knead until it form a dough.
2. Add the butter little by little and continue the kneading process until smooth and elastic and the dough does not stick at the side of the mixing bowl.
3. Proof for 40 minutes in a clean bowl cover with cling wrap.
4. Take half the dough and flatten it with your hand and roll it out in longish shape with a rolling pin about 25cm x 20cm.
5. Brush butter on the surface of the dough then spread apple cinnamon fillings dough evenly, leaving about 1-inch gap around the dough.
6. Roll it up like a swiss roll and seal it tightly.
7. Cut into 8 equal portions using lightly floured knife.
8. Place dough in a round cake tin and cover with a cling wrap. Leaving enough space between each roll to allow them to double in size later.
9. Repeat for the remaining half of the dough.
10. Proof for a further 40 minutes.
11. Bake at 180 deg C preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Apple Frangipane Tart
(adapted from Joyofbaking, with modifications)

Ingredients/ Method
Frangipane (Almond Cream)
1/2 cup (50gm) almond meal
1 tbsp (12gm) all purpose flour
25gm caster sugar (original recipe uses 50gm)
3 tbsps (40gm) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste
1/8 tsp salt

1. Place almonds, sugar and flour in a food processor and process until finely ground.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until you get a smooth paste.
3. Transfer into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled cored and sliced.
20gm caster sugar
20gm brown sugar

Pie Crust (Pate Brisee)
1 1/4cups (175gm) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2gm) salt
1 tbsp (14gm) caster sugar
1/2 cup (113gm) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water

**The original recipe uses the processor for preparing the pie crust. As my processor is the mini type, I used rubbing-in method instead.
1. Place flour, salt and sugar and mix well.
2. Add the cold butter and using fingertips to rub-in butter with flour mixture until resemble coarse meal.
3. Slowly add in water to the mixture and knead till the pastry just holds together when pinched.
4. Gather pastry into a ball and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour or until firm.
5. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface, 12 inch (30cm) circle.
6. Transfer rolled pastry to a parchment lined baking sheet.
7. Spread frangipane evenly over the pastry, leaving a 2-inch (5cm) border.
8. Arrange the apple slices even over the frangipane layer, leaving a 2-inch (5cm) border.
9. Fold the border of pastry up and over the apples, sealing any cracks. Brush the pastry crust with milk.
10. Sprinkle the caster/ brown sugar over the crust and apples.
11. Place the rack in the center of the oven.
12. Bake in pre-heated oven at 190 deg C for 50-60 mins, or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown,
13. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Soya beancurd pudding

Whilst everyone has been making this dessert, I was quite laid-back. I did tried the real thing 老伴豆花 when the craze was at its hottest, but no I didn't stay in line for at-least-half-an-hour, my office colleagues have their way of collating bulk orders for almost anything! You would have guessed that it didn't wowed me then, and I still stand firm with the traditional beancurd pudding.

Anyway, I saw many bloggers posting this dessert and also because the recent Diner en Blanc, which sparked so much controversy, there was even a Make and Eat Tau Huay Day. Looking at so many tau huays made my heart go wobbly for some tau huay too! I've succumbed to temptations and here you go, my first attempt and I'm lucky it's a success! Judging from many bloggers' comments, I too followed Anncoo's recipe which is really easy. The most difficult part is getting the ingredients, especially instant jelly powder which is not available at the supermarket. I'm copying the recipe here for my future reference.

Ingredients/ Method
(Recipe adapted from Anncoo Journal)

3 satchets UNISOY Instant Organic Soya Milk Powder (no sugar added)
40g sugar
40g Coffee-Mate powder
20g instant jelly
100ml water (at room temperature)
900ml water

1) Mix all ingredients with 100ml water and set aside.
2) Boil 900ml water and remove from stove thereafter.
3) Mix the soya milk mixture into the boiled 900ml water and stir with a whisk.
4) Pour into mould and let it set. (Do not stir)
5) Chill in fridge before serve.

*Passed the mixture through the sieve 2 times before pouring into the mould to make the texture smoother.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cake good for a Sunday gathering

White peach & plum 

Sorry guys that I'm missing from my blog for such a long time, and though I can't promise that there will be regular updates from now but I will try my best. I miss blogging and baking.

During this time, there's hardly any baking for me. Except for trying out a brioche recipe together with my friends months ago, I've not try out any new recipes. To play safe, I did a Fruit Pastry Cake which I'd baked a few times before for a family gathering today. It feels good to be baking again :) I won't be posting the recipe, but if anyone is interested, you can refer here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Potstickers/ Dumplings 锅贴

锅贴 has been one of my favourites other than 小笼汤饱, they are addicitive especially dipped with vinegar and some thinnly sliced ginger. If you wiki, you will realise that there are many names for this dish - 饺子, 锅贴, gyoza, bánh chẻo, momo, etc. and are widely prepared in many places - China, Japan, Vietnam, Nepal, etc. Even Italian have something similar, that is their riavoli. Talk about simple dish with innovations! We probably will get many more permutations of 'dumplings' with everyone's concoctions of fillings - vegetables, beef, pork, mutton, fish, scrimps, etc. and serving/ cooking style.

These days, we can easily get them from the chinese dim sum restaurants, foodcourts, food centre, and frozen ones at the supermarket. If you need to gobble many pieces like me, my hubby & little boy, it can be pretty expensive especially eating in a nice restaurant. Of course, nothing beats home-made!

I'm lucky to get 2 authentic chinese shi-fu to teach me to make this dumplings. Looks easy but it does require some skills in rolling the skin and even mixing the fillings! What's even tougher for me to do it the next time is that there's no recipe as it's all based on 'feel' and 'sight'. Hopefully my 'eye-power' and estimation of ingredients will turn out my next experiment a successful one!


Potstickers/ Dumplings/ 锅贴

(makes about 100 pieces)

Ingredients/ Method

1 kg plain flour
2 eggs

1) Mix the ingredients for skin and knead till it comes together. Leave some flour aside to flour the working area later.
2) Rest dough for 20 mins and knead again to make it smooth.

750g cabbage (高丽菜), thinnly sliced
390g spring onion/ scallions (青葱), chopped into small pieces
700g minced meat/ loin (五花肉) or pork belly

chicken stock cube/ msg/ oyster sauce
sesame oil
cooking oil (abt 1/2 -1 cup)
dark soy sauce (optional)

1) Mix all fillings ingredients till well mixed.
2) Add in seasonings to taste.
3) Continue to use hand to mix the fillings till it becomes 'sticky'. Trick is to let the 'natural' oil from pork to bind the fillings.

Wrapping the dumplings/ potstickers
1) Flour the working area and rolling pin.
2) Take some dough and roll them like dough stick, about 2 cm in diameter, and cut them at about 1 cm mark.
3) Roll them lightly into small balls. Take one ball, lightly indent to flatten. With your thumb holding at the centre of the dough, and rolling pin on the other hand, rotate the dough and flatten at the same time.
4) Continue with the rest of the dough. Do not stack the wrappers as they will stick.
5) Scoop about 1 heap of fillings in the centre of the wrapper and fold them into half, and seal the wrapper.
6) Freeze the dumplings in the freezer if not eating them immediately.

Cooking the dumplings/ potstickers
A) Pan fried
1) Heat up a flat non-stick plan and add some oil. Arrange the dumplings neatly on the pan. When done, add water covering about 2mm of the dumplings.
2) Cover the pan and let it cook for about 6-7 mins using small heat.
3) Ready and serve.
Note: Do not de-freeeze the dumplings before cooking. Cook them in frozen state.

B) Boil
1) Boil a pot of water and put in the dumplings.
2) Continue to let the water boil and add in 1 cup of room temperature water. Repeat this step for another 2 times.
3) When the dumplings are cooked, drain them.
4) Serve by drizzling some sesame oil and light soya sauce.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pandan chiffon cake

Not another boring pandan chiffon post again?! Throughout my short baking/blogging stinct, THE pandan chiffon cake has been my most "adventurous" where I tried more than couple of different recipes. Isn't it ironic for a so-called common cake? The recipe I'm trying today is one which I've bookmarked for a long time, which originated from ieatishootipost which is a very detailed post/recipe, but Jane had kindly posted a modified and easy-to-read recipe. I'm typing out the recipe for my future reference.

This is the first time I get a nice brown skin for my pandan chiffon cake, and I think it's probably due to the fan oven used. However, I felt the skin is slighly tough and cake is drier. Perhaps I didn't understand my oven since this is my first time using the fan oven, I'll play with lower temperature and/or shorter baking time to see how the chiffon cake will turn out the next time.

Pandan Chiffon Cake
(Adapted from Jane which was modified from ieatishootipost)
(Yields a 23" chiffon)

Ingredients/ Method:
(A) 4 egg yolks
55g castor sugar (reduced to 45g)

(B) 77g corn oil
94g coconut milk
1 1/3tbsp pandan juice (replaced with 1/4tsp pandan paste; would increase slightly to have more prominent pandan taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract

(C) 133g Top flour (or cake flour)
1 1/3tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

(D) 6 egg whites
68g castor sugar
3/4tsp cream of tartar

1. Cream (A) until light and fluffy using a hand whisk or electric mixer.
2. Add (B) gradually and mix well.
3. Sift (C) into the mixture and mix well. Set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg white till frothy and slowly add in sugar and cream of tartar until soft peak.
5. Scoop 1/3rd of the egg white into the egg yolk batter and fold to ensure that they are mixed thoroughly.
6. Pour the mixture back to the egg white and fold gently and swiftly. I realised that folding by hand is much easier and effective than using spatula.
7. Before pouring the batter into the tube pan, give the batter a few knocks on the table to get rid of air bubbles.
8. Pour the batter into the tube pan slowly and in one direction. Do not grease the pan.
9. Bake in pre-heated fan oven at 160 deg C for 50 mins. (I will try to reduce the temp to 150 deg C for 45 mins)
10. When done, remove the tube pan from the oven and invert on a cooling rack and leave to stand for 2 hours.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Marbled butter cake

Mrs NgSK's butter cake. First, I saw it at Busy Gran's which made reference to Peng's kitchen and then it lead me to WendyinKK. I was thinking who is Mrs NgSK and there seems to rave review on the butter cake. If you are still wondering who's she, please visit Table for 2...or more for more details. Instead of a plain butter cake, I did a marbled one but I didn't like the not-so-swirls effects. Anyway, I'm typing out the recipe for my future reference. Taste-wise, I'll update it later after I try it out as my breakfast tomorrow. (Update 4 June 2012: Forgotten that I had not updated after the taste-test. Actually sliced and packed in boxes for my colleagues but woke up with a swollen eye the next day and can't go to the office, ended up had to ask hubby to bring for his colleagues. He called in the afternoon and told me that his colleagues would like to place order for the cakes, and said "Are you happy?") 'Nuf said)

Mrs NgSK's butter cake (with modifications)

Ingredients/ Method
230g salted butter, softened
200g eggs, without shell (about 4 eggs)
50g + 150g (reduced to 130g) caster sugar
180g self-raising flour, sifted
60ml milk
1 vanilla bean or 1tsp vanilla paste
20g cocoa powder

1) Pre-heat oven at 180 deg. Lined bottom of 8 inch square pan and grease the side of the pan.
2) Separate egg yolk and white and set the egg yolk aside.
3) Whisk egg white and 50g sugar in a clean bowl, until stiff.
4) Beat butter and 130g sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in vanilla bean and mix well.
5) Add in 1 egg yolk at a time into butter mixture, and beat well after each addition.
6) Add in half the flour and beat on low speed till well mixed. Add in milk in 2 additions and mix well. Add in the remaining flour.
7) Add half of egg white into the batter and mix on low speed. Pour the balance egg white and fold.
8) Pour batter into baking pan, but set aside about 1 3/4 cups of batter and mix well with cocoa powder.
9) Spoon cocoa batter into the plain batter and using knife to create swirls.
10) Bake for 45mins at 180 deg C or until skewer inserted into cake come out clean. (I adjusted the oven temp to 170 deg C mid-way through the baking.)
11) Allow cake to cool on rack.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Japanese dark pearl cake

This is my second weekend where I get to bake early in the morning, and managed to get everything done and clean up within an hour or so.  Although I lose so sleeping time, we are able to carrying on with our day's activities more leisurely. Like last week, we went for a swim today and since it's still early the pool is pretty empty and water seems cleaner. We'll see how long our new swimming sessions will last.

Japanese dark pearl cake
(Recipe adapted from aunty yochana)
Original recipe is for 23-25 inch tube pan, I halved the recipe for my 21 cm tube pan

Ingredients/ Method:
Cocoa Batter:
75g chocolate, chopped
45ml water
50g corn oil
12.5g cocoa powder
32.5g cake flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
57.5g egg yolks (about 3.5 eggs)

Egg White Batter:
112.5g egg white (about 3.5 eggs)
45g castor sugar
a pinch of salt
1/16 tsp of cream of tartar

1) Melt chocolate in microwave for 2 mins on medium and stir till smooth. Add in cornoil and stir till smooth. Fold in the rest of the cocoa ingredients and stir till smooth. Set aside.
2) Whisk egg white with cream of tartar till frothy, then pour in sugar gradually and then add in the salt. Whisk till a medium peak.
3) Add about 2 cups of egg white to the cocoa batter and mix well.
4)  Fold cocoa batter into the remaining egg white evenly.
5) Pour into 21cm tube pan and bake in pre-heated oven at 170 deg C for 45 mins.
6) When done, remove the tube pan from the oven and invert on a cooling rack and leave to stand for 2 hours.

Update 25 May 2012: I had the cake on Monday & Tuesday as breakfast, and it's soft, spongy, moist & chocolatey! Nice <3

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mango cream cake

Finally get to bake after so long, and I kid you not that I've been dreaming and thinking of baking cakes. After a late night on Saturday, there was a sudden urge and influx of energy flowing through my body in the early morning of Sunday. "I must bake and it must be NOW" ~ that was what went through my head. Although nothing really fanciful came out of the oven, I'm delighted to have accomplished a so-called task. By 10.30am, I was done with the washing up and baking, only left with cake decorating which was completed after we had our afternoon swim near our house. My lil boy was so sweet that he offered to do some chores after my baking, "...like sweeping, cleaning or mopping...". Daddy allows lil boy to mop the kitchen "... as mommy dirties the kitchen floor after baking..." Oh my, lil boy has grown up! It was a really good Sunday, and of course, a memorable Mother's Day.

Mango chiffon cake

Ingredients/ Method
(Recipe is for 25cm tube pan, but I baked in 2 tube pans - 21 cm and 17cm)
7 eggs
200g cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
165g icing sugar
100ml mango puree + 50ml water/mango juice (will add more mango puree the next time)
150ml corn oil
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1. Pre-heat oven to 170 deg C.
2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. (abt 240ml egg whites)
3. Sieve cake flour, icing sugar, and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
4. Make a depression in the centre of the cake flour mixture, add egg yolks, mango juice and oil and stir until well combined.
5. In a clean separate bowl, whisk egg white and cream of tartar on high speed until stiff.
6. Add in cake batter to the egg white gradually and fold gently in batches, until well mixed.
7. Pour into tube pan and abke for 50 mins at 170-175 deg C. 
8. When done, remove the tube pan from the oven and invert on a cooling rack and leave to stand for 2 hours.
9. Remove the cake from the tube pan by pressing the sides of the cake along the perimeter of the pan and inverting the cake onto a plate.

Mango cream
1 3/4cup whipping cream
2 tsp icing sugar
1 1/2 mango puree
1/2tsp vanilla bean paste
1 extra fresh manago, cubed (for decoration)

1. Whisk whipping cream until foamy.
2. Add icing sugar to whipping cream and continue to whisk on medium-high.
3. Add in vanilla bean paste and mango puree, and continue to whisk till stiff.
4. Decorate cake as desired.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

面煎糕/ Traditional chinese pancake

It was raining so heavily this morning that it's such a luxury to be staying at home and sleeping in. My lil boy and I actually planned to visit my brother's baby early in the morning and have our breakfast around there, but alas the rain kept us indoor. Zak was so happily playing his 3 sets of Thomas & Friends' train tracks that he doesn't want to get out of the house for breakfast too. A good opportunity for me to try out this 面煎糕 which I chanced upon at Gigi in the House blog. It is really a simple recipe and taste close to the real stuff - sprinkled with store-bought coarsely ground peanuts generously and added with lots of sugar! That's our breakfast plus 2 half-boiled eggs each, what a heavy meal to start the day!

面煎糕/ Traditional chinese pancake(yield 3 pieces of 6" pancake)

Ingredients/ Method
165g all purpose flour
2 eggs
30g caster sugar
1/2tsp yeast
210ml water

Peanut fillings
Coarsely ground peanut

1) Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for 30 mins.
2) Heat up a non-stick pan using low heat and pour 1/3 of the batter into it.
3) Cook for about 1 minute or so on low heat. The surface will appear to be "holey".
4) I use a sharp knife to remove the pancake from the pan, and transfer onto a plate.
5) Sprinkle any fillings you like and ready to serve.

I did a thick pancake and 2 thinner pancakes which I rolled them up. Still prefer the thick one, which taste and look so nostalgia, the way it was done when I was a little kid. Now that I don't need to spend 70cents for a small slice of 面煎糕, and can easily churned out fresh ones from my own kitchen! A keeper recipe o(^^)o

I love this picture, "peanut picking", hand model - who else but my lil Zak :D

Monday, April 16, 2012

Full month celebration

One month seems to have passed so fast and we were celebrating my younger niece's full month yesterday. From a tiny baby at slightly more than 2 kg at birth, she has put on healthy pounds with so much tlc from her mommy, daddy, grandma & "auntie" (the confinement lady). If my beloved late mom is around, she would be very very happy to see that all her children have settled down and started our own family. But I believe that she can see us from above and continue to give us her blessings from wherever she is now. Most importantly, wishing bb YL healthy, cheerful and happy always!

For the full month celebration, I have again* offered my brother & sis-in-law that I can prepare cupcakes for the party. (*again = the last was during their wedding dinner!) Thankfully they agree and I had another opportunity to play with fondant modelling. I did a simple chocolate cupcakes using valrhona cocoa powder and top with nursery themed fondant.

Valrhona chocolate cupcakes
(I doubled the below recipe to yield 55 mini cupcakes)
Ingredients/ Method:
185g butter
250g fine sugar
200ml evaporated milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
125g all-purpose flour (plain flour)
70g valrhona cocoa powder
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp vanilla essence

1. Sift flour, cocoa power, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
2. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla essences and butter in a saucepan.
3. Stir over low heat until sugar dissoclved and butter melted. Remove from heat.
4. Add the beaten eggs into the slightly cooled mixture and stir till well mixed.
5. Add egg mixture over the flour and stir till well mixed.
6. Spoon batter into baking cups using ice-cream scoop till slightly more than 1/2 cup full. (The cake rises a fair bit, so if you want a nice dome cupcake, fill up about slightly less than 3/4 cup)
7. Baked at pre-heated oven of 180 deg C for 18 to 20 mins or till the skewer inserted into cupcake comes out clean.
8. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Orange butter cake

The Easter long weekends gave me enough time to unwind and time to bake. Other than the Vanilla Beans Macarons, I also baked some orange butter (cup)cakes. It was meant to be a test bake for my niece's full month celebration this coming Sunday, and I'm now torn to bake this or my favourite chocolate cake.

Actually just this year, our family is blessed with 2 "小龙女" (baby girl born in the year of dragon per chinese zodiac), first from my elder sister who's residing in States, and second from my youngest brother. Because of the distance, we are not able to fly over to States to hug the lil one now but I'm already planning to go by next year or earlier if possible. With my brother's newborn baby, it gave my boy more excuses to take the train to visit them during the weekends. I can't forget my boy's first expression when he saw my brother's baby in the hospital - anticipating, exciting, happy and bewildered! He must be imaging how the baby was in my sis-in-law's bump on a Saturday and came out as such a beautiful baby 2 days later! It still bewildered me and keep me constantly amazed with such miracle and beautiful creations!

Anyway back to baking the cake, I love how the orange zest were rubbed with the sugar - smell, taste and sight, love how each addition of ingredients were incorporated into the batter. The mixture didn't get too wet even with fluids being added and it just turned out so beautifully! Taste-wise, the cake turned out like an old-fashioned butter cake, moist and fluffy. The orange zest give you a slight twist and it feels good knowing that only 100% fresh orange juice is used!

Orange butter cake
(Recipe adapted from Baking Library;
yield 12 standard size cupcakes, 2 mini loaves)

Ingredients/ Method:
250g self raising flour, sifted
250g good quality unsalted butter, softened
185g castor sugar (I reduced it to 170g)
170g whole eggs, at room temperature (about 3 eggs)
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)
finely grated zests of 2 oranges

1) Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Prepare baking tins or lined cupcake moulds and set aside.
2) Grate the orange zest over sugar and rub them together. You will get orange-infused sugar, super nice!
3) In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and orange-infused sugar on medium high speed for about 5 mins until pale and fluffy.
4) Add beaten eggs to butter mixture in 6 additions, ensuring that each addition is well incorporated before adding the next addition.
5) Add 1/3rd of flour to the egg-butter mixture on low speed till well incorporated. Next add in half of orange juice to batter till well incorporated.
6) Add another 1/3rd of flour to the batter till well incorporated. Add the remaining orange juice and mix till well incorporated. Lastly add the remaining flour into the batter and mix till well incorporated.
7) Scrape the side and bottom with a spatula for any loose ingredients.
8) Using an ice-cream scoop, fill up 2/3rd of the lined cupcake mould and bake at 180 deg C for 25-30 mins.
9) For mini loaves, I bake for about 40-45 min at 180 deg C.
10) Check doneness when skewer come out clean after inserted into cake.
11) Allow cake to cool completely on wire rack.