Thursday, July 29, 2010

Honey Cake



This cake was baked few months ago that I totally forgot about it. I picked this recipe cos the comments were the cake tasted like light cheesecake and since I had the ingredients on hand so just went ahead with it.



Recipe taken from here.

Ingredients :
4 eggs
20g castor sugar
3 tbsp honey
125g cake flour
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
60g castor sugar

Method :
1. Pre-heat the oven at 150C.
2. Whisk egg yolk and 20g castor sugar till light yellow color, add in honey to whisk till thicken, add in milk and oil to mix well.
3. Beat egg white and cream of tartar, add in 60g of castor sugar in 2 seperation and beat till stiff.
4. Add egg white mixture in 3 seperation to egg yolk mixture and mix well.
5. Pour into the greased cake tin with baking paper and bake in 40 mins.

Verdict?
Probably I had over folded the batter, the cake tasted like bread with very very soft but a bit chewy texture and strong honey taste and fragrant, my another colleague said tasted like 鸡蛋糕 (Traditional chinese steam cake) with honey taste.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Soft Bun



Even after the failure of previous 2 attempts on bread making, I do not intend to give up. Although felt very dishearten after each failure and told myself probably will start bread making only if I get a heavy duty mixer or bread machine. However, when seeing the soft and fluffy breads that baked by other bloggers, my heart will be bouncing actively that asking me to give another try, give a last try, dun give up so easily!

When I saw this post from Happy Home Baking and the sentances caught my attention "After kneading continuously for 30mins or so, my fingers, which were initially covered with dough miraculously came clean. The dough was really smooth and elastic, and I could even stretch it fairly thinly!" I was so excited, my urge of bread making was awake again. Both of my previous kneading of dough took more than 1 1/2 hrs and still not able to reach the windowpane test. So this recipe is definately a must to try since it took only 30 mins or so to knead the dough! I immediately bookmarked the recipe.


My dear daughter again, finished all the fresh milk so I had no choice to use chocolate milk instead so my buns came out in light brown color.


The dough was very very sticky that I had to use the dough scraper to help me to remove the sticky dough from table top or hand. I knead for more than 30 mins, the dough was still as sticky that I had to dust some flour. During the next hour of kneading, I dusted another 3 times of flour to get non-sticky dough finally.


I am not sure was it my method of kneading the dough is incorrect or due to other reason. I actually took more than 1 1/2 hrs to knead the dough and it didn't even reach the stage as what HHB mentioned that her dough was really smooth and elastic that she can even stretched it fairly thin. However, for the 3 times experience of dough kneading and all took more than an hour, this was the 1st time that the dough can stretched thinner before it tears.

Although it still did not pass the windowpane test but I stopped the kneading cos I was darn tired, shoulder and hands were aching (old aunty liao so body can't take the overwork :P). And I was running out of time, I need to go to my mum's place for weekly visit. So I just let the dough rest in the mixing bowl for proofing and brought it over to my mum's place for baking.



I was thinking, gosh I am going to fail again, the bread can't be soft after dusting so many times of flour and also never pass the windowpane test again. Well, I still went ahead with the baking since my guinea pigs are always so supportive. They finished the dense bread that I had produced previously and my sis even praised on my charred butter roll crisp bread :P.

As I thought this will be another failure, I dun even bother to prepare the tuna filling. I just shaped the dough into 10 balls and filled 6 balls in the 7" cake pan. For the balance 4 balls, 2 balls topped with cheese and ham, I wrapped the cheese and ham in the dough for the balance 2 balls.


I was afraid to get a charred bread again, so I monitored the baking closely. Since I am not sure how to check the doneness of bread, when the baking time was up, I just removed the buns from the oven.

I can't wait to try the bun even it was so so hot when just out from oven! I tore the cheese & ham bun into half, I saw the fluffiness texture, I was so excited but I still need final confirmation by tasting it. I quickly bite onto the bun, my smile just floated on my face instantly and I felt so satisfied. I got everyone to try the buns and kept telling them "very soft hor!", they nodded and totally agreed with me.
Horray!!! Finally I made it! :)



Recipe from HHB that she adapted from Smile!幸福小点心, 山王丸由利绘

Ingredients : (makes 10 buns)
200g bread flour
20g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3g (about 1 teaspoon) instant yeast
110ml chocolate milk (room temperature)
30g egg, light beaten (this amount is less than one egg so I chose the smallest egg, use the leftover as egg wash)
25g unsalted butter, room temperature

Method:
1. Stir bread flour, caster sugar, salt, and instant yeast in a mixing bowl.
2. Add in milk and egg. Mix the ingredients with hand and slowly form into a rough dough.
3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough till smooth. This should take about 10mins. (I took about 30 mins)
4. Knead in the butter. Continue to knead the dough until it no longer sticks to your hand, becomes smooth and elastic. This should take about another 15 to 20 mins (I took about 1 hour). Do the window pane test: pinch a piece of the dough, pull and stretch it. It should be elastic, and can be pulled away into a thin membrane without tearing/breaking apart easily. (I didn't reach this stage, my dough still able to stretch fairly thin (for me lah since compared to my previous attempts) but tore when stretched it further).
5. Place dough in a lightly greased (use vegetable oil or butter) mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and let proof in room temperature (around 28 to 30 degC) for about one hour, or until double in bulk.
6. Remove the dough from the bowl and give a few light kneading to press out the gas in the dough. Divide into 10 equal portions, about 40g each. Roll into rounds. Cover with a damp cloth or cling wrap and let the doughs rest for 10mins.
7. Fill in your desire fillings and transfer dough to cupcake casing or greased cake pan.
8. Brush surface with egg wash. For baking in cake pan, space out the doughs to allow room for the doughs to expand. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap and leave doughs to proof for the second time for about 30 ~ 40mins, or until double in size.
9. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 12 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Verdict?
The buns were surprisely soft and fluffy even I was not able to achieve the windowpane test. The bun was tasty when eating in plain but tasted good when spread with butter or the filling with cheese & ham! My family given thumbs up and next morning, I toasted the cheese & ham bun to let dear husband and mil tried and they said soft and delicious. As what HHB said, this recipe is a keeper for sure.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

French Almond Cake



When I saw this French Almond Cake from Happy Home Baking blog, I immediately know that I am going to bake this cake. Simply because I have a pack of ground almond at home for me to clear stock, the look of the cake and also how HHB has described it that made me wanna eat the cake :).


This cake is easy, just dump everything in the mixing bowl and whisk with electric mixer. But, such an easy recipe I am still not able to achieve perfect!!!

Firstly, look at the center of the cake, there was an area that look so wet and uncook. Was it I overmix again?


Next, even HHB has stated to cover the cake with foil after baking for 15-20 mins but I totally forget about it until I saw the charred top when I was checking the doneness of the cake :(. I scraped away the black top and covered generously with icing sugar but still can't hide the flaws.


Recipe from HHB that she has adapted from Easy Cakes by Linda Collister

Ingredients : (makes one 8" cake but I still 7" cake pan)
110g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and leave to soften
150g caster sugar (I cut down to 120g)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
90g ground almonds (almond powder)
40g self-raising flour**
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
1 tablespoon flaked almonds for sprinkling (I omit it since dun have at home)
some icing sugar for dusting

** if you do not have self-raising flour, substitute with:
40g plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt

Method :
1. Pre-heat oven at 180degC. Grease (with butter) and flour the sides of a 7" or 8" cake pan, line the base with parchment paper, set aside.
2. Place butter, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl, add almond powder, flour, milk, vanilla extract (optional) then beat with an electric mixer or whisk. When quite light and fluffy, spoon into the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top.
3. Bake at 180degC for 30-35mins, or until the sponge just springs back when pressed (mine took 40mins), or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (Important Note: Cover the top with foil about 15-20mins into baking to prevent the top from over browning.)
4. Run a thin bladed knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Verdict?
The cake is soft, moist and nutty, I can taste the bits of ground almond. This is a perfect cake to go with a cup of hot beverage.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fruits Pastry Cake



When I saw the fruits pastry cake from Happy Homebaker, I was attracted by the beautiful look of the cake instantly, what was making me even more tempting to bake this cake was the good review given by her. I immediately bookmarked the recipe and told myself I must bake this cake. That was April and I never get a chance to bake this cake cos I was not able to get the fruits I want so this recipe was put on hold. During this period, many bloggers have baked this cake so I can't resist anymore especially everyone were raving about it!


I still not able to use the fruits I want for this cake all caused by dear daughter :(. I actually prepared the fruits in advance to bake them a few days later since I was able to get both the strawberries and blueberries together, canned peach is not a problem since can get it everywhere . But who knows when I was about to bake the cake then I realised my princess had finished the strawberries, I bought 2 punnets and she finished ALL within a few days! She dun even spare me a few :/ arghhhhh.......

Luckily I still had cherries, although was not a good choice for me as the color is quite close to blueberries but better than nothing.



My cake didn't turn out as beautiful as the rest of the bloggers, the top cracked probably due to higher temperature of my oven. But it was beautiful enough to recieve a lot of "wow" when everyone saw the cake. My husband kept saying that this cake is very pretty and eye catching. This is definately a best choice to give away if you want to impressive the receivers :).


Recipe from HHB and I had increased the ingredients to make another loaf to give away to my beloved cousin cum best friend. Outlook not so pretty but nevermind as long as it taste great, right ?^^.

Ingredients: (for one 7" cake pan and one 8" x 3" x 3.5")
150g butter, soften at room temperature
210g caster sugar
75g low fat yogurt
4.5 eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1.5 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1.5 teaspoon lemon or orange zest (I used lemon zest)
315g plain flour
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
assorted fruits for topping (I used fresh blueberries, cherries and canned peaches)

Method:
1. Wash, cut (chunks or slices, as desired) and drain fruits, toss with siugar (if desired) and set aside. (if using canned fruits, wash the fruits to remove the syrup, omit the sugar).
2. Grease (with butter) and flour the side of the cake pan and line the base with parchment paper.
3. With an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, yogurt till light and fluffy.
4. Dribble in the eggs gradually and beat till incorporated in the batter. (The mixture may appear slightly curdled.)
5. Add vanilla extract and zest. Mix to combine.
6. Sieve over flour and baking powder and mix till smooth. (To avoid getting flour all over the work surface, you may mix the flour into the batter using a spatula, just a few strokes will do, then use the electric mixer to mix the batter till smooth.)
7. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
8. Arrange fruits on top, don’t press the fruits down into the batter. Decorate the fruits as desired.
9. Bake at pre-heat oven at 180C for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake. Cover the top with foil in the last 15 mins of baking to prevent the top from getting over browned.
10. Leave the cake to cool in the pan for about 5~10 mins. Unmold and transfer to wire rack to let cool completely. Dust the cake with some icing sugar if desired.

Verdict?
The cake is soft and moist, not oily at all and sweetness is just right for most of us, might be not so for someone who has sweet tooth. The aroma of the cake filled the house during the baking session. And like what HHB said, this cake is very addictive that you'll not stop at one slice but keep going back for more instead. The cake was finished within 1/2 day by my family, everyone loves the cake. Another keeper.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Awards




I was very surprised when recieved message from Chef Dennis that he has given me these awards. This is indeed very honorable to recieve the awards from a certified Chef and it is so encouraging especially to an amateur baker who started baking 1 year ago and blogging 7 mths ago. Chef Dennis, thank you so much and I am really very very appreciated.

According to Chef Dennis, to receive the awards one should :
(1) copy and paste the award to your blog.
(2) list 10 things about yourself.
(3) list 10 things that make you happy.

10 Things about me :
Here

10 things that make me happy :
1. My husband, daughter, family and friends
2. Spending times with my husband and daughter
3. When my daughter is happy
4. Baking
5. When my bakes turn out good
6. Making birthday cakes for someone special
7. When someone appreciate or give compliments on my baking
8. Vacations
9. Indulge in good food
10. Gathering with friends

Although Chef Dennis never indicate that must pass on the awards but I would like to share the joy with the bloggers that I have missed out previously. I have a long list but I am trying to keep within 10 so I guess I have to leave the rest for my next awards :P.

I would like to present these awards to the following bloggers that not only I admire their baking and cooking, I am appreciated with their frequent lovely comments given and/or being my followers and/or added me in their blog list (in no particular order):

Pei Lin @ Dodol & Mochi
Kristy @ My Little Space
Angel @ Cook.Bake.Love
ICook4Fun @ My Kitchen Snippets
Shirley @ Kokken69
DG @ Tested and Tasted
Quinn @ Quinn's Baking Diary
Jane @ Passionate About Baking
Small Small Baker
Happy Flour

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dulce de Leche Coconut Brownie



As I still have 2 more cans of DDL sitting in the cupboard, I am looking for some recipes to try out and saw the photo of DDL brownie posted by one of the mum forum's member. I surf net to get the recipe and there were many bloggers tried this DDL brownie and raving about it tat made me decided that I must bake it. Thanks aquariusgal for sharing.



Since I have coconut flakes left from my previous bake of coconut cream cake, I decided to add 1 cup into the brownie. As I was afraid that the brownie will be too sweet, I reduced the sugar to 150g. I do not have a square cake pan so I used 8" round cake pan instead.


I didn't swirl the batter lightly when I spooned in the DDL that's why the swirl is not visible and also most of the DLL mixed into the batter :(. Next time I will be more careful and gentle.



Recipe from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz which can be found here.

Verdict?
The brownie is moist, rich and chocolately, sweetness just nice for me. I can tasted the crunchy coconut flakes during each bite and I felt so satisfied when biting into DLL, so sinful yet so heavenly! I cannot stop at just one slice but I had to control in order not to grow my size to be like a house :P. Well, I still ate 3 slices in total, luckily the brownie finished fast by my family and friends or else I will eat more hee hee hee... The brownie was gone within a day, this shown how good it is, definately a keeper.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Coconut Cream Cake



This cake was for my friend A who I knew for many yrs. She has the same name of my dear daughter's favourite cartoon charactor, sometimes I am wondering why dear daughter love this cartoon charactor more than others? Is it influenced by A cos she had given the doll of this cartoon charactor as birthday present when she was 2 or 3 years old? This doll was the 1st big doll she had received, the few dolls that she had was barbie dolls, so definately impressed her for seeing such big doll. I didn't buy any doll for dear daughter as I dun really wan her to be so girlie that spending all her times with dolls. Not sure is it cos of me or she is by nature, she dun play doll until she was over 4 or 5 years old and rarely play as well.


A likes anything with coconut so I had set in my mind long time ago that I am going to bake her coconut cake. I had searched for recipes since then and keep as record so that I can choose the best (base on my assumption lah) to bake during her birthday.



You see, when I need to bake a cake for special event, definately will not be a smooth journey. For this time, I nearly forgot her birthday! I was sick for the last 1 week and still not totally recover thus I didn't monitor the date at all. I got to know her birthday was around the corner just 2 days before and it was the time I knocked off from office. When on the way back, I kept recalling the ingredients that will be required for the cake (worst is I still have not decided which cake to bake :P) so that I can make the purchase before go home. Since I dun really can remember what ingredients that require so I just made the purchase based on my gut feel, those that I think are definately a must e.g. coconut milk, coconut flakes, whipping cream, lemon, fruits for deco etc.


Once after shower and dinner, I went to dig out all my recipes and searched for the suitable one, one which sound or look good and also most importantly, I will need to have the ingredients that required at home. For cake, I selected the orange coconut cake from Cooking Ninja. She shared 2 method to make this cake, i opt for the 1st method which according to her will produce light, moist and fluffy cake. For frosting, I love the outlook of the cake photo for the tropicana cake in Romancing with Cakes by Connie Leaw so I decided to use her frosting.


I baked the cake after dear daughter sleep, I was quite sleepy too but I still need to get working on it. I did not have enough time to delay for another day since I can only work on the cake late at night so one day will be for baking cake and the other day is to frost the cake.


Well, must be due to my tireness (excuses! the real reason must be due to my sucks folding skill), I had over folded the batter again :( The cake was quite dense and compact in some area rather than fluffy and soft. I overlooked of the notes from Cooking Ninja that she will reduce the amount of milk for next baking, thus the batter is very watery. It was not easy to mix well the eggwhites, I took longer that probably causing the deflating.



For Lemon Coconut Cake : Recipe adapted from Cooking Ninja.
Ingredients : Yield 6" cake pan & 12 cupcakes)
2 eggs
125g butter (softened)
50g dried schredded coconut (I used flesh coconut flakes)
250g sugar (I reduced to 120g cos I think 250g is way too sweet)
180g self raising flour
1 tbsp grated orange peel (I replaced by lemon since I dun ve orange at home)
250ml milk (I regretted that I should go ahead with my initially thinking of by replacing some with coconut milk)

Method :
1. Preheat oven at 180°C and greased a 6" round cake tin.
2. Separate the egg white and egg yolk.
3. Beat the egg yolk, softened butter and sugar together in a big bowl till it is creamy and fluffy.
4. Stir in the grated lemom peel and the coconut flakes and then add in the flour.
5. Pour in the milk and stir till combined.
6. Beat the egg white until stiff peaks formed. Fold it into the mixture till combined.
7. Bake it for about 60 minutes until the wooden stick comes out clean.
8. Leave it to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out on the wire rack.

For Frosting : Recipe from Romancing with Cakes by Connie Leaw.
Ingredients :
50g milk
50g coconut milk
1/2 tbsp gelatin powder (mix with 2tbsp boiling water)
200g whipping cream

Method :
1. Warm the milk and coconut milk (do not overheat).
2. Add in dissolved gelatin and mix well.
3. Whip the cream and mix well with coconut milk mixture.

To Assemble :
1. Slice the cake into 2.
2. Apply sugar syrup on the cake to keep the cake moist.
3. Apply coconut cream on each layer of cake and sprinke some coconut flakes, chill for 30 mins.
4. Cover the cake with the remaining coconut milk and decorate with coconut flakes.
5. Chill the cake till serve.

* The whipped cream became a bit running after I added in the coconut mixture, thus I had to chill in the fridge to harden for easy spreading.
** I only used up 1/2 portion of the whipped cream.

Verdict?
The cake is full of the aroma of lemon and I can tasted the cruncy coconut flakes during each bite. The sweetness of the cake is just nice for me and the cake tasted good, I believe it will taste so much nicer if it is not deflated.
A was so impressed when she saw the cake especially was a coconut cake :). She said the cake was well received by her family, even her 3 yrs old son kept asking for more. A feedback was the cake will be perfect if the the texture is slightly more fluffy.

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