Sunday, November 27, 2011

Super-moist apple cupcakes

I was completed sold when I saw Jo posted this Super-moist apple cake, and the heavenly cinnamon-nutmeg-sugar toppings! By now, some of you would know that I'm quite a cinnamon person. The sweet scent of cinnamon baking in the oven is like aphrodisiac and give you a high feeling, if you get what I mean.

For this recipe, instead of baking it as a 10-inch cake, I baked mine into 12 standard sized cupcakes and 2 mini loaves. This is mostly because I want to submit to this month Aspiring Bakers #13: Enjoy Cupcakes (November 2011) hosted by Min's blog. Actually, my baking was not smooth sailing... 1st my heavy cream turned bad even before it's expiry date, so got to rush T to buy for me when he just stepped into the house after a day's work. Then, I was being too greedy and put too much batter into each cups and ended up with a overflowing cupcakes :-( Like Jo, I was quite apprensible how the cake would turn out with the heavy cream being poured over the cake just before putting them into the oven. True enough, the cake did not turn out soggy at all. It was moist and the crumbs are so soft that it does not hold well if you are using a fork to eat. Overall, it's still a good recipe that I would try again when I have cinnamon cravings. I'm copying Jo's recipe with slight modifications here for future reference.

Super-Moist Apple Cake
(makes 12 standard cupcakes + 2 mini loaves)

Ingredients/ Method:
a) 1 1/4 cups sugar (I reduced it to 1 cup)
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk (whole or low-fat)
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, halved, and thinly sliced (I used Granny Smith)

b) 3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar + 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I used brown sugar)

1) In a large bowl beat 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the butter for 3 to 5 minutes until light in color. Scrape the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula and continue to beat the mixture until it is very light in texture and color, several minutes more.

2) Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. Then add in the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate together.

3) Sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Alternately add the milk and dry ingredients into the butter mixture, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary.

4) Pour the batter into the prepared lined cups not more than 3/4 full using ice-cream scoop. Spread it evenly with a rubber spatula. Arrange the apple slices overlapping on top of the cake batter to completely cover the top of the cake. Pour the cream evenly over the apples.

5) Stir together the 1/3 cup sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the cake.

6) Bake in pre-heated oven at 175 deg C for 35 minutes for cupcakes or 40 minutes for the mini loaves or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer it to a rack, and let cool completely.

7) Invert the cake onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and invert it once more onto a serving platter. Serve warm or room temperature. Once cool, the cake can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Update - 30 Nov 2011:
I kept the unfinished mini loaves in an air-tight container and left it in the fridge since Sat. The cake still taste fresh and superb on the fifth day that they were being baked. I microwaved on mid-high for about 1.5 mins after taking them out from the fridge. A keeper recipe that I would recommend to everyone!

See how the cake looks like on day 5! Nice!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bloggers potluck Nov 2011

Yesterday, I attended another bloggers gathering initiated by ZY and Eelin has kindly allow us to hold the event at her cosy home! This time, the theme of party is American and Asian and we have to prepare our bakes/food according to the theme. We have 14 food items and 2 cold/hot drinks for 9 adults and 2 kids! Isn't it too much for everyone? All in all, it was really a fun & enjoyable afternoon gathering, with great hosts, company, food, ambience & backdrop music! I shall let the pictures do the talking....

Cinnamon buns (water roux/tangzhong) recipe here

Thanks again everyone for the yummy goodies and great time, and ZY for initiating and Eelin for hosting! Till we meet again <(*v*)>

You can also hop over to the wonderful blogs of my bloggers friends!
Eelin of The batter baker
Jane of Passionate about baking
Zhuoyuan of Baking library
Chris of Yummy bakes
Doris of Tested and tasted
Judy of A busy gran's kitchen
Bee Bee of Honey bee sweets
Shirley of Kokken 69

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kawaii panda bread

I'm a late bloomer in making this kawaii panda bread. Actually, I've seen this many times and always marvel at how cute it is but it never cross my mind to bake it till now. As usual, I would spend my time before going to bed to visit baking blogs or watch my k-dramas, and this cute panda loaf pops up again. Since today is a public holiday (as Hari Raya Haji falls on a Sunday), I can spend some time baking. Checking back, the last I baked a loaf of bread was almost 2 years ago!

Perhaps I did not greased my baking tin properly or I was too eager to dislodge the loaf from the tin, my panda came out 'disfigured'...sob sob. It need a little cosmetic surgery to look like a proper panda!

Panda bread
Ingredients/ Method:
(Recipe adapted from Do What I Like and pictorial guide from originator Taro Taro)

230g bread flour
70g cake flour
30g sugar
milk + 1 yolk = 210g (I used low fat milk)
4.5g salt
18g unsalted butter (I used 20g)
4g yeast
8g green tea powder dissolved in 10g boiling hot water
8g cocoa powder dissolved in 8g boiling water

1. Heat up milk and yolk to temperature of 38C. (I beat the yolk lightly with milk and send it to the microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds).
2. Put everything in bread machine and set to dough cycle. Let it knead for 20 minutes. Stop the cycle and restart the dough cycle and let it knead for another 15 minutes.
3. Divide dough (about 560g) into 3 parts: 75g for the chocolate, 210g plain and the rest of the dough which is less than 280g for the green tea.
4. Add chocolate to the 75g dough and knead till the colour is even. Add green tea mixture to the 280g dough and knead till colour is even.
5. Proof all 3 pieces of doughs on separate greased plates covered loosely with oiled cling wrap for 30 – 40 minutes. (1st proof))
6. Punch air out of dough and proof for another 20 – 30 minutes. (2nd proof)
7. Use 90g plain dough for the face and 2 pieces of 27g chocolate dough for the eyes. (Refer to photo guide in Step (7) in TARO’s site).
8. Fill the hollow of the eyes with 30g plain dough. (Refer to photo guide in Step (8) in TARO’s site).
9. Roll remaining plain dough over the patterned dough. (Refer to photo guide in Step (9) in TARO’s site).
10. Divide the remaining chocolate dough into 2 pieces (17.5g each) for the ears. (Refer to photo guide in Step (10) in TARO’s site).
11. Use 70g of the green tea dough to fill up the hollow between the ears. (Refer to photo guide in Step (11) in TARO’s site).
12. Wrap the rest of the green tea dough all around the patterned dough. (Refer to photo guide in Step (12) in TARO’s site)
13. Place dough into a well-greased loaf pan and cover it with a lid and proof for 50 – 60 minutes in an enclosed area eg. microwave oven. (3rd proof)
14. Bake at 200 deg C for 25 – 30 minutes.

1. As my BM has broke down, I uses my KA mixer and knead for about 20 mins or so, till the dough looks smooth.
2. My 1st proof is 2 hours (unintended) though Florence uses 60 minutes, 2nd proof is 30 minutes and final proof is 60 minutes.
3. I bake at pre-heated oven 185C for 25 – 30 minutes.
4. Original recipe calls for tin size 206 x 108 x100mm (600gm). My bread tin is smaller 10 x 4 x 4' for 400gm, but the dough still manage to fit well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pandan chiffon cake (water roux/ 汤面)

Still feeling unsettled for not trying out Happy Flour's recipe, I baked another pandan chiffon cake yesterday ..haha... 2 pandan chiffon cakes, 2 different recipes, in 2 days. Anyway, it feels like a proper closure.

The recipe is pretty easy to handle but my batter was quite watery and not as 'gluey' as Happy Flour's. In terms of pandan flavour, it's not prominent enough, so I would probably add a few drops of pandan paste the next time. Texture wise is fluffy & spongy except for some spots which I didn't do a good job in mixing the batter evenly. Also I did not manage to achieve the nice brown skin like Happy Flour... will continue to try! Regardless, it still a good recipe.

Pandan chiffon cake (water roux/ 汤面)
(Recipe adapted from Happy Flour)

Ingredients/ Method:
5 egg yolk
70g coconut milk (I diluted with 50% water as I don't like the strong taste of coconut milk)
30g pandan juice (see below for making pandan juice)
50g unsalted butter
1/4tsp salt (I reduced to 1/8 tsp)
90g cake flour (sifted)

Egg whites:
5 egg white
1/3 tsp cream of tartar
85g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 175C.
2. Mix egg yolks and pandan juice together, set aside.
3. Pour coconut milk, salt and butter in a sauce pan, boil over low fire till butter melted about 60-65C (when few bubbles started to appear on the surface).
4. Remove from fire, add in flour and stir till it form a soft dough.
5. Slowly add in egg yolks mixture, whisk till smooth batter and set aside.
6. Use a cake mixer, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar till frothy.
7. Gradually add in sugar and whisk till stiff peaks form.
8. Fold in 1/4 of the meringue into the egg yolk batter until combined. (By now, the egg yolk batter should be lukewarm.)
9. Then fold in the rest of the meringue in two portions until well combined.
10.Pour batter into a 23cm tube pan, smooth the surface.
11.Place pan into a preheated oven and bake for 40-45mins.
12.Remove from oven, invert cake onto table top and leave it cool.

To make pandan juice:
1. Blend 10-12 blades of pandan leaves with 100ml of water, squeeze out the liquid from the puree.
2. Pour the pandan juice into a bottle, cover and chill in the fridge overnight for the residue to settle down.
3. Discard the clear liquid, use the residue left at the bottom of the liquid. This concentrate part of pandan juice give cakes a nice and light fragrant of pandan leaf.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pandan chiffon cake (Christine's)

This is a pandan chiffon cake that is not meant to be.....but don't get me wrong, it still turned out good!

I had previously bought a bunch of pandan leaves for kueh making but didn't get to use it. Not wanting to waste it and because there's some left-over coconut milk, I decided the best way is to bake a pandan chiffon cake. Onwards searching for good pandan chiffon cake recipes and found many available such as Jane's, Christine's, Happy Flour's, etc. But seeing that Happy Flour uses a rather different technique -汤面- I decided to use hers. However, when I was preparing the ingredients for the cake, I somehow clicked on Christine's recipe instead. These days, I baked without printed recipe; I would put my iphone beside me and constantly refer to the recipe from the small screen. Thereafter, I had problem sequencing what I should do? I used to utilise both my KA mixer and handheld mixer whenever the recipe calls for egg white meringue. As my handheld mixer has broken down months ago, I thought I could just use another bowl and KA mixer to beat the egg white. But all the bowls I used didn't fit. Ended up changing 4 bowls and only got it right on the 5th try and it's back to using the KA bowl. Got to wash and dry the bowl spotlessly knowing how sensitive the egg white can be. Trouble didn't end here, instead of Cream of tartar, I added baking powder to the egg white and had to scoop them out carefully. After losing so much egg white, beat another egg white to make up for it but it seems to be too much! My soul must have left my body whilst I'm baking this cake. I felt kinda lost & drained after that! What else can happen on a Thursday night baking!

Pandan Chiffon Cake(Recipe adapted from Christine's Recipes)
Ingredients/ Method:
5 egg yolks
20 gm caster sugar
100 gm cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
100 ml coconut milk
2 Tbsp pandan juice (see below for making pandan juice)
a few drops pandan essence/pandan paste, optional
3 Tbsp olive oil

Egg whites:5 egg whites
60 gm caster sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 170C. (Note: I would turn up to 175 the next time cos the cake didn't brown that much.)
2. Beat the egg yolks with a balloon whisk and mix in 20 grams of sugar. Add coconut milk, pandan juice, and a few drops of pandan paste (if desired). Combine well.
3. Sift in cake flour and baking powder in three batches into the egg yolk mixture. Mix well. Lastly, add olive oil. Set aside.
4. Use a large clean bowl, making sure there’s no water or oil in it. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until bubbles form. Add the cream of tartar. After mixing well, add the 60 grams of sugar in three batches, about one-third at a time, and beat well between additions. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
5. Spoon out 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and fold into the egg mixture. Lightly fold in the rest of the beaten egg whites with a spatula, until just combined.
6. Pour into the cake pan and bake in preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes.
7. Remove cake from the oven. invert the pan immediately. Allow it to cool completely.

To make pandan juice:
10 pandan leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp water

1. Chop pandan leaves into chunks, pop in a food processor and add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of water. Process to small pieces.
2. Place pandan leaves in a muslin bag and squeeze out the juice. You need about 2 tablespoons of it to make this cake. If you don’t have a muslin bag, just use your clean hand to squeeze out the juice.

As bad as my baking experience, I could only take one not-so-decent picture of the chiffon cake on a Friday morning before rushing to work. Pardon me ;)