Monday, May 31, 2010

Learn2Bake May Challenge Part 2 – Pandan Chiffon Cake, My Healthy Piece of Cake

I'm so happy that Learn2Bake Club has sailed through its 2nd month with more new members joining the club and more members participating in the challenge. I think the objective of the club has finally has it's result…..and that it to have members participate in the baking challenge and learn something out it. Some people asked me if the challenge has any prizes or awards, well…….NO….but the fun of having other people baking with you and then sharing it over with their pictures and comments is already good enough. Of course, if I can make this club better , I would organize members who lives in the same city or town to have a get-together once every 2 months to meet and share ideas in person……and have a little 'baking potluck' at someone 's house ^-^……well, that is something that I have listed down to impose later to the club, and that is if members agree to it.
As of now……I'm very happy with the current outcome and ongoing activities as we are still very new and this is only the 2nd month…..entering to the 3rd month that is. So, the May Part 2 Challenge was to bake a Pandan Chiffon Cake….and I have chosen the recipe from Cooking Crave's blog. I have tried this recipe a few times already and was pretty satisfied with it. The outcome of the cake was very fluffy, light and the Pandan aroma was just great! It does not requires any frosting as this cake is best eaten plain as frosting is suppose to add calories to the cake with the amount of sugar used……..Chiffon Cake is a healthy piece of cake I would agree, as it does not uses any butter but instead …..liquid fat only such as Canola Oil. Anyway, for myself this time, I opted a different recipe for my Pandan Chiffon Cake as I wanted to try a different recipe that I got it from 'Table for 2' as she has a very unique recipe for this cake without using any 'liquid fat' ….that is why I wanted to give it a try ^-^ Well, like Wendy said in her blog……it's oil-less, not oil-free……as the coconut milk used in the recipe still contains a minimal amount of oil in it.

Here is a recipe you might want to try and it's a keeper for me as I find that the outcome of the cake…….is just as good as the one with liquid fat in it……well, since I categorized Chiffon Cake as a healthy cake, I would definitely try to have it the least oil-less as possible, LOL…….thanks for sharing the recipe on your blog, Wendy…credits all goes to you!


Batter A
5 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
100gm sugar
Batter B
5 egg yolks
100gm sugar
150gm flour
180gm thick coconut milk + pinch of salt
70gm concentrated pandan juice

1. Preheat oven to 180~Celsius. Put your rack in the centre of the oven.
2. Mix in the coconut milk and pandan juice in a bowl. Then add in the sifted flour into it until a smooth batter is formed. Set aside.
3. Beat egg whites until frothy, add in cream of tartar, whisk until egg whites are at medium peaks.
4. Add in 100gm sugar gradually and beat until stiff peaks.
5. In another bowl, beat egg yolks and 100gm sugar until thick and pale (colour of cold butter).
6. Fold egg yolks into batter.
7. Fold ¼ of egg whites into (5), and another ¼.
8. Pour (6) into remaining egg whites and fold in well.
9. Pour into a 25cm tube pan and bake for 45 minutes.(I don't have 25cm tube pan, therefore I used a 22cm and the cake rose pretty high, luckily it did not sink)

10. When the cake is done, immediately remove from oven and invert it to cool.
11. When cake has totally cooled down, remove from pan.

Happy Pandan Chiffon Cake baking....;)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Teachers’ Day – Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

"Happy Teachers' Day" to all the teachers in the's your day and we, as parents, could not find enough words to thank you for all that you have given and done to our children. Without you all, our children will not be what they are today. .....and for the children, I'm sure they would appreciate so much of what you as a teacher have given to them - the patience, the guidance, the knowledge and the teachings that have been showering upon them from Day 1 they enter the school till the day they graduate. 
My boys (all 3 of them) have been getting ready what to give to their teachers as a gift of 'Thank you" and selecting cards since a week ago. As their school is having a 'Happy Teachers' Day' party (on the 27th) , all students are requested to bring a dish to contribute to the feast. This year, the twins (Daniel & Dylan) has requested me to bake 40 pieces of cupcakes and for Ian, he requested for his grandma to cook 'Curry Chicken' ^_^ . I have selected the 'Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes' and the frosting a 'Chocolate Buttercream' would goes really well with I think Chocolate would be the favourite among many, hehe :P
I baked it on the 26th and made the buttercream too on the same day. After cooling down all the cupcakes, I lightly frosted them with a simple 'star-tip' swirl and sprinkled some hundreds and thousands. I also made some gum paste lettering to be put on some of the cupcakes that read - "HAPPY TEACHERS' DAY". All packed and ready to be delivered to the school the next morning, I kept them in the fridge and hurry up to bed.....only to realize that I'm the only one in the kitchen, whereas all of them are in bed's 12.40am.....*yawn*....good night mission accomplished!! I got the recipes from here (for the cupcake) and here (for the buttercream)...........Happy Cupcakes baking dudes ;)
p/s: By the way I doubled the recipe for the cupcakes and got about 42 cupcakes (standard size) and I also doubled the buttercream to frost all the 42 cupcakes. 


Ingredients (Made 14-16 cupcakes)
115gm unsalted butter, room temperature
100gm castor sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
95gm plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
60gm unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup milk
1 teaspoons vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven to 190~C. ( I had mine at 180~C)
2. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Slowly add in the eggs, one at a time and beating it until well combined.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine.
5. Measure out the milk and vanilla essence and stir to combine.
6. Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine. Add about half of the milk/vanilla mixture and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
7. Scoop the batter into cupcake cups filling about 2/3 full. Don't be tempted to fill more to get a dome, as this recipe tends to result in a flat surface cupcake. Bake cupcakes at 180~C for about 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. 

(enough to lightly frost 24 cupcakes) 

115gm butter
60gm cocoa powder
500gm icing/confectioner's sugar

¼ cup milk 

1. Beat the butter on high speed for about 30 seconds until soft.
2. Add the cocoa powder and a cup of sugar and beat until incorporated.
3. Add half of the milk and the remainder of sugar and beat until well incorporated.
4. Continue to add milk bit by bit until you get to the consistency you want. (I used up ¼ cup and the texture was just nice)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Superb Congo Bars

I'm very excited today as I am leaving on a jet-plane to Singapore early tomorrow morning……..yeah…..will be meeting with a good friend that I have been missing for a year now. She (Joanne) has moved to Johor to work a year ago and I have promised her that I will visit her one day ……….for sure before she comes back to KK again. Since the timing is right, this is the time as she will be moving back to KK early July. Therefore, I will be away from the 21st – 23rd June and most likely will not be posting anything these few days. I am now planning to bake something for JO as she requested something from my oven….LOL ^-^ I have checked with her if she is a fan of 'chocolate' and she said 'YES'… looks like I'm going to bake something from chocolate and I'm definitely going to make it very rich and chocolaty.

 I have bumped into this recipe called 'Congo Bars' just few days ago and I find it very much like a 'brownie' but a little different in the texture and also this uses 100% brown sugar instead of castor sugar. So I'm going to give this recipe a try and see how yummy it is……..since I'm also a big fan of Chocolate and also anything that taste like Brownie…….:P
This is where I got this recipe. I find that the texture is so much like a brownie after I took a bite, but the color is a lot lighter than normal brownies would have…….as this one uses 100% brown sugar, it has a lighter shade of brown, but the amount of chocolate chips dumped into it, sure produces a very chocolaty and rich Congo Bars……hehe. The only alterations I did in this recipe is I cut down quite a lot on the amount of sugar used……..from 453gm (1lb) to 300gm only…..and yet I still find it sweet though…… do cut more down if you wish.
I wouldn't be typing down the recipe again as it would be better if you go straight to this website and take it down……..because there are some awesome pictures and ideas in making this Congo Bars in other varieties besides using chocolate chips…….so, check it out……and you might like to try out those other suggestions…..once again, Happy 'Congo Bars' baking………see you after the 23rd June……..cheers!!

  Happy Congo Bars Baking, dudes!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My 1st Attempt in Kasutera Japanese Sponge Cake

When you see me posting 'My 1st Attempt'…..that meant that I have failed in my 1st attempt and that they will be more posting on this item that I'm dying to achieve and will work harder to achieve it. First it was the Pullman White Bread, then the Macarons………, eh, I think the Macarons I totally didn't have the heart to even put up a post to talk about my first 3 attempts before I finally succeeded in the 4th one :P........well, it's too heartbreaking to talk about it L
Well, I was very curious about the Kasutera Japanase Sponge Cake or aka Castella Cake. The reason is because when I went through the recipe and the method, it was a very different group of ingredients compared to a normal sponge cake.......and as for the methods......special steps are taken to achieve that cake.........just take a good look at the original Kasutera's texture is so fine and velvety ………. I actually wouldn't call it 'sponge cake'…… it is so velvety and fine that the word 'sponge' does not actually fits the category.......its a total opposite of a normal sponge cake that I used to bake. I'm surprised why the Japanese called it a sponge cake, it's just too 'high class' for a cake of this texture to be called sponge cake.
Anyway, I wanted so much to bake this cake from the moment I laid my eyes on that piece of Kasutera I saw in the web. I don't know if this photographer has done some 'fixing' to this picture or not, but it sure captures my attention. I told myself I have to learn this cake and I will definitely try baking it no matter how many times I fail. I searched and searched and study all the pros and cons and techniques to bake this cake. I knew very well that I have gathered the 'perfect' recipe as I have seen many praised Ms Maki of  Just Hungry for this superb recipe and detailed explanation of the method that she has spend 'don't know' how much time to penned it down and share with us. So, why do I still fail?...........The answer is …….it's all on ME and MY technique and also my "not enough" understanding of this cake. My Kasutera turned out OK as a sponge cake, but of course not OK as a "Kasutera Japanese Sponge Cake".

My mistakes, I reckoned would be :-
  1. I did not beat out the air bubbles in the batter enough to release all the air and that resulted in a spongy cake with a loose and crumbly texture;
  2. And I beat the eggs on medium speed, which resulted bigger air bubbles and that's why the cake turned out to have bigger airholes. This cake requires complete patience and it has to be beaten at 'low speed' - no hard and fast rules here;
  3. And I opened the oven door to many times to check on the doneness of the cake as it actually passed the suggested time, and therefore I started to worry that the cake will be too dry, thus resulting the top of the cake to sink a bit when it's finally done L
  4. And I wrapped the cake too early when it's still hot, konon too scared that the moisture will disappear if I waited to long for the cake to cool down (haiyo, silly me) into a plastic bag to lock in the moisture, ended up the steam in the plastic bag actually soaked the cake a bit on the top.
It was said that a good and successful Kasutera Cake should be moist, with a very fine texture, and is very light. It should have dark brown and sugary top and bottom. It is sweet but not those really sweet to the tooth kind of cake and it is rich, with a taste owing it to the honey used. My Kasutera is moist, but not fine in texture , it has large airholes and are so not refine and the crumbs are coarse. My brown top was pretty, but the bottom brown was scarred by me when I try to remove it from the parchment paper, aiyo, :(

I am definitely going to bake it again and I am going to achieve a Kasutera Japanese Sponge Cake like this one as shown in the pic……….so perfect and velvety and so refine ^_^ Tempted to bake one after looking at this picture? This is the picture that got me mesmerized and eager to try baking my Kasutera ……Tell me what do you think?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Madeleines, ain't this name sound sweet and lovely…..well, it does and it is. These little teacakes were made famous by Marcel Proust, who referred to them in his novel 'Rememberance of Things Past' in which he narrated that he experiences an awakening upon tasting a madeleine dipped in tea. Madeleines are very small sponge cake with a distinctive shell-like shape acquired from being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions.
Recently I have bought 2 Madeleines shell-shaped pans from Daiso Japan and instantly, the urge to bake some Madeleines are on………hehe. I have this 'The Cookie & Biscuit Bible' Cookbook that was presented to me by my 3 lovely boys during New Year this year. I read this book every now and then like when I'm free, because this book has over 400 recipes on cookies and biscuits from all over the world. What I like about this book is it has step by step pictures showing the method………which I totally agree, "Pictures tells a thousand words".
I chosed the recipe for my first Madeleines from this book, and it's very easy to follow and very easy to understand too. The outcome of these little tea cakes are wonderful, with a buttery fragrant when it first came out of the oven, as for the texture, it is like eating a little sponge cake…..but a little denser and compact I would describe it……..I would say it is best to be eaten the it was made. Sprinkle some icing sugar on the top of it and have it with a cup of English Breakfast Tea, that would be lovely………and hope it be able to bring some good old memories back to you of those olden days…………like it did to Mr Marcel Proust ^_^
Happy Madeleines Baking …………J

Ingredients (Makes 12)
165gm plain / multi-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
75gm icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 Tbsp lemon or orange juice
75gm butter, melted and slightly cooled
Grated rind of one lemon or orange

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190~C / 375~F. Generously butter a 12 cup madeleines pan. If you don't have one, you can always use a muffin pan.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and icing sugar in a bowl for 5 – 7 minutes, until thick and creamy and the mixture leaves a ribbon trail when the beaters are lifted.
  4. Gently fold in the lemon juice and rind using a rubber spatula or metal spoon.
  5. Beginning with the flour mixture, alternately fold in the flour and melted butter in four batches, with a rubber spatula.
  6. Leave the mixture to stand for 10 minutes, then carefully spoon the batter into the tin. Tap gently to release any air bubbles trapped in there.
  7. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, rotating the pan or tin halfway through baking.
  8. Test the madeleines with a skewer inserted into the centre and if it comes out clean, it's done.
  9. Tip the madeleines on to a wire rack to cool completely and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


This is going to be another of those 'first time experience' for me, as I have never baked using fresh berries before……though I have always wanted to do so….but staying in a country that has a humid and summer all year round climate…..where could you get fresh berries?...….I meant really fresh, plucked from the farm or your garden...…..berries??? hehe…..I finally get this kind of experience although I'm not the one who plucked it (Mulberries), my in-laws did it at one of my Hubby's aunt's house. She has this Mulberry tree growing in her garden and it has its season for bearing fruits, according to her. This time, my in-laws went to her house for a visit and it just happened that 'it is' the time of the year that it bears fruits. My MiL said she was having fun plucking those fresh and lovely Mulberries from the tree. I can imagine how fun it was……….imagining you are in a Mulberry farm, having a basket in your hand, and plucking the ripe Mulberries from its tree………that would be such a lovely scene ^_^
So, she plucked and plucked and came home with a small basket of it…….but doesn't really know what to do with it…….blend it for juice, make Mulberry Jam…..or??? As my Hubby's aunt said Mulberries fruits has a lot of goodness too……..if you are interested to look up at the internet to find out. When I came home from work, my MiL told me to take a look at these berries and see what I can do with it…………..well, as of now, you should know me very well, whatever came to my head or my mind first...… will be "Baking" LOL.
I was so convinced that these Mulberries will be a good bake no other than Blueberries, Strawberries and any other berries………as they are all berries :P Well, in fact, it is! I used one of the recipe in my collection that actually calls for Blueberries and happily substituted it for Mulberries. Guess what, the caketurned out perfect, it's moist and with a sense of Spring………and I just love the little tangy taste of the Mulberries juice  at the after baked, that it sipped out from the fruit on each little piece of the cut cake. The color of the cake was awesome too…….very fresh and you just wanted to take a bite by looking at it. Then I added the Cream Cheese Frosting with a few drops of Lemon Juice, spread it on the top of the cake, it blends in really well with the cake and it tastes ………….GREAT!! You should try baking this at home, I mean maybe you can't get Mulberries, but well, hey…… long as you get any kinds of berries……..they should turn out this way…………………so Happy "Berries" Baking ^_^

Mulberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients for the Cake
60gm    Unsalted butter
50gm    castor sugar
1     egg
½ tsp    vanilla extract
75gm    all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp    baking powder (I opted this because I'm using SRF)
¼ tsp    salt
50gm     sour cream
1½ tsp milk
55gm     fresh or frozen Mulberries or any berries you prefer

60gm icing cugar
40gm butter, softened
80gm cream cheese, softened
Fresh mulberries for decorating

  1. Preheat oven to 180~C and lightly greased a 15cm tube or bundt tin, set aside. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together, set aside.
  2. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl, beat with hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla, and egg, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour mixture and mix well.
  4. Add the sour cream and milk and mix well until combine. Stir in the Mulberries into the batter, and pour the batter into the prepared mould.
  5. Bake until the cake is golden brown, and the cake spring bake when touched, about 25 - 30 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before frosting it.

6.Make the frosting: Beat the confectioners' sugar and butter together, add the cream cheese and (I added a few drops of Lemon juice – it's optional), beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Frost the cake with the frosting and decorate with fresh Mulberries.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


*Sigh*………I know how discouraging it is to start a line with a sigh……LOL….no lah, that was exactly how I felt on Tuesday morning when I went to work……I guessed it's the lazy bugs visiting. I posted how lousy I felt in status bar in Facebook, and a few friends suggested I should go home tonight and bake the hell out of it……..LOL….which I seldom do, because I always bake when I'm feeling happy, not when I'm feeling lousy…………………well, that's because I think I'm just afraid that what I bake will fail me and it will make me feel even lousier :P…………………..but since these two friends (JB and CW) suggested, I gave it a try, and planned out nicely what I wanted to bake for tonight…….and I chosed "Pate a Choux" or also known as "Choux Pastry".

The reason why I chosed Pate a Choux / Choux Pastry is because I have a DB Challenge to accomplish by 28th of this month and the theme this month is to bake 'Pate a Choux' to make a piece of "Montee" (a mounted piece of Croquembouche that comprises only Choux Pastries). So, since I still have some time to brush up on my skill in making this Pate a Choux (as some of you may know, my 1st attempt in making Pate a Choux failed as the Choux does not puff, it sink so sadly and badly L) before I carry out the challenge, I'll use this night as a trial.
Therefore, the recipe I used to make this Choux Pastry is actually the recipe given by the DB host of May, and it is a recipe that she adapted it from Peter Kump's Baking School in Manhattan by Chef Nick Malgieri. This recipe is a sure keeper as I can tell you now, my 2nd attempt turned out really good, the structure of the Choux was so solid, but the texture inside of it was soft, and even until the 3rd day (today) as I still have some left in a container I stored in the fridge. As this was baked quite late at night, I finished baking at around 10.30pm, so didn't have enough time to make the Crème Patissiere, so I just filled it with whipped cream and dusted icing sugar on top……..and they kids just loved it, they bring these to school for 2 days in a row now……..:P

Happy 'Pate a Choux' Baking………^_^

Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28) (I got 26 as mine was slightly bigger)
¾ cup water
85gm unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
125gm all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt

Preparing batter:
  1. Preheat oven to 425~F/ 220~C, and lined 2 baking tray with parchment papers.
  2. Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.
  3. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 minute to cool slightly.
  5. Add 1 egg and the batter will appear loose and shiny. Keep stirring and as you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes. It is at this point that you will add in the next egg and repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.
  1. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip.
  2. Pipe choux about 1 inch-part on the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high and about 1 inch wide.
  3. Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of the choux when piping.
  4. Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).
  5. Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.
  6. Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degres and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 – 25 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool. The Choux can be stored in a airtight box overnight.
Happy Choux Pastry Baking !

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010


     I have always loved 'crumble' or 'streusel' recipes, I have dozens of them and are still collecting. The reason why I love them is, it gives you a very satisfaction 'first bite' as it's cookie-like crust on top is so buttery and fragrant. I just loved it! So today, I have planned to bake Apple Crumble Pie that I have been wanting to bake for so long already, everytime it just happened that I don't have apples in the house. Then, one day when I was browsing in the BWM store, I saw they have this 'Apple Pie Filling 'packed in 250gm and 500gm tub. So, I bought one tub of 250gm and decided that I can finally bake my Apple Crumble Pie, although I know that making your own apple pie filling would be much better than getting a store-bought. Well, maybe for this time only lah………next time I'll definitely make my own….;)

    So the recipe I used this time is taken from 'Famous Cuisine – The Lifestyle Cuisine Magazine & Cookbooks No.44', one my Hubby's cookbook collection……..hehe, most of his cookbooks now becomes my regular reference already, LOL. Actually the original recipe calls for peach as it is a 'Peach Crumble Pie'. In fact I do have recipes that is an Apple Crumble Pie ones…..but just wanted to try this recipe out to see if the sweet shortcrust pastry for the pie crispy or not after a day..… there are just so many of them out there, some good ones are still crispy like a biscuit after one day.

    What I can summed up for this one is, it took me extra 20 minutes to bake, as I think I rolled the crust too thick, hehe :P, as for the filling, eventhough it's a store bought, I would say it's not that bad too, but a bit sweet, that's all. The pie crust was crispy the day it was baked, for sure and turned soggy on the second day and same goes to the cookie crumbles…….I guessed it's because the apple pie-filling was wet, therefore that's the cause of it. But, if you can finish the whole pie on the day you baked it, I would say this recipe is 'a keeper'…….^_^, for me, I had trouble finishing it, as the kids don't really fancy eating apples in a pie……haha, and definitely not Hubby……so I am the only one who is digging my dessert spoon on it………geez, I bet the scale must have gone up a bit already, especially when I pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream……..stop, stop, stop right there!!! 

    Here, this is the recipe, do try it out and you might like it……Happy Apple Crumble Pie baking, folks! ^_^

    APPLE CRUMBLE PIE - Adapted from Famous Cuisine Magazine No:44 
    For Crust 
    200gm plain flour
    60gm icing sugar
    130gm butter, cold and cubed
    1 egg yolk

    For Filling 
    250gm Apple pie-filling (store-bought)

    For Crumble 
    80gm plain flour
    20gm castor sugar (I used 20gm brown sugar instead) 
    40gm butter, cold and cubed

    1. To make pie crust : combine sifted flour and icing sugar. Rub in cubed butter using your fingers, add in the egg yolk and knead to form a dough. Do not over knead. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    2. Pre-heat oven to 170~C. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin in between 2 sheets of parchment paper, and press into the 20cm / 8 inch pie dish. Trim off the edges.
    3. Evenly spread the apple pie filling on the pie dish.
    4. To make crumble : rub butter into combined flour and sugar until mixture becomes coarse bread crumbs. Sprinkle on the top of the apple pie filling.
    5. Bake in preheated oven at 170~C for 35-40 minutes or until cooked. (I took 60 minutes to get it cooked)

    Happy Apple Crumble Pie Baking !

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Learn2Bake May Challenge Part 1 – Cupcakes Well Dressed for Happy Mother’s Day

    Oh yes, 'Happy Mother's Day" to you all and as Learn2Bake is celebrating Happy Mother's Day with all the members, we are having a challenge tied in to create cupcakes for this occasion. I haven't been making cupcakes lately ( I think the last cupcakes I made for this year was during CNY) and was a bit 'shaky' when piping the buttercream on the cupcakes……LOL, I hope I get them dressed up decent enough, well…… least presentable to be posted in this blog and also to presented to a dear friend for Happy Mother's Day…..and of course for the Learn2Bake May album ^_^
    There are 2 types of cupcakes flavor featured and also 2 types of buttercream to match the cupcakes…….Lemon Cupcakes & Chocolate Cupcakes and as for the frosting, we have Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream and Chocolate Buttercream. 
    This year Mother's Day was a bit of a memorable and special one for me, as I have never baked and sent my cupcakes to anyone before…….this year, I made the Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream and sent them to a dear friend (AO) for Happy Mother's Day..........I have just known her through the L2B Club and I knew we have something in common and I guess we will be good friends in the future. I wish her and her family will have a very warm and Happy Mother's Day…..xoxo

    This year's Happy Mother's Day was a bit busy for me, so I managed to only make one batch of the cupcakes and so the Chocolate ones I didn't get the time to do it. Here are the recipe for the Lemon Cupcakes and also the Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream recipe that I have selected.

    (recipe adapted from Cupcakes Bakeshop by Chokylit)
    Ingredients (Yields 12 regular size cupcakes)
    115gm unsalted butter, room temperature
    180 – 200gmcastor sugar (please adjust to your own preference)
    3 large eggs
    190gm all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp salt
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ½ cup milk
    3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    zest of one lemon

    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
    2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.
    3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
    4. Measure out the milk and vanilla.
    5. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
    6. Mix in lemon juice.
    7. Scoop the batter into the cupcake cups to 2/3 full. Tap the cupcake cups on the table to ensure the batter fills the bottom. Bake at 350~F / 180~C for 20 -25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

    Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (enough to lightly frost 12-14 cupcakes)

    113gm unsalted butter, room temperature
    170gm of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
    190 – 250gm sifted icing sugar
    ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    ½ tsp grated lemon zest

    1. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy.
    2. Add cream cheese and beat until combined.
    3. Sift ½ cup of the icing sugar into the butter and cream cheese.
    4. Add the lemon juice and zest. Beat until combined.
    5. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like. You might not need all the icing sugar required.
    6. Scoop the icing into a disposable piping bag with your selection of tip and you are ready to frost.

    Tip: Always let the cupcakes cool down to room temperature before frosting.

    Happy Mother’s Day to All Mothers and Happy Cupcakes baking….xoxo

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Sausage & Chicken Floss Flower Buns

    Yeah, it's Sunday again….meaning I have the whole day to bake something that requires extra time compared to other items and that is ………."BREAD OR BUNS"!!! Yes!!, I just love to bake bread or buns, given the intervals of resting time in between, both for me and the dough, haha………and the outcome is always so satisfying, I just love it !
    Today, I'm going to bake some 'Sausage & Chicken Floss Flower Buns', don't get confuse, it's nothing actually compared to the normal Sausage Buns, just that this one, you spread some mayo on the top of the bun when it came out of the oven and then sprinkle some chicken floss on it…… for the outlook of the bun, it looks kinda like a flower with 5 petals, that's all……..if you don't want all this fancy stuff, just plain Sausage Buns with/ without the chicken floss will be just as yummy ^_^
    This time I chose to use the 'Basic Sweet Bun Dough' recipe from one of my cookbook – Y3K Bread Magic by Alan Ooi. This book would be a good investment as the recipes inside are all those commercial buns and breads that we can normally find in the local bakery………well, if you can bake it yourself, then you might not need to visit the local bakery so often like I used to………, you'll have so much satisfaction seeing the bread or buns that comes out from your oven , looking so commercialize leh………^_^, of course practice makes perfect, right………So, Happy Buns Baking today, folks……..cheers!
    Oh yes, just to let you know the texture of the buns – it's really soft and even after 3 days in the fridge, when I warm it up in the toaster, it still is very soft and FYI, this time, I did not use the mixer to knead the dough at all……'s all 100% 'hand-knead' as I want to see the difference. Moreover, to tell you the truth, every bread kneading instruction tells you that you have to pass the 'stretch test' in order to know that your dough is ready,………………but hey, I did not pass the stretch test this time, as after kneading for about 30 minutes, I'm done with all my strength I have……….and call it done. But, the texture was no difference to me at all compared to the one that has passed the test……………'s just as GOOD and SOFT!! So, start kneading …………..hehe ^_^

    Basic Sweet Bun Dough (Straight Dough Method)
    Ingredients A:
    330gm high protein flour / Bread Flour
    ½ tsp salt
    1 ½ Tbsp Milk powder
    60gm Castor sugar
    Ingredients B:
    1 egg – Grade A
    Ingredients C:
    120ml water
    10gm instant yeast
    Ingredients D:
    40gm butter

    1. Combine ingredients A together in a mixer (if you are using the mixer) or put on the work surface and make a well in the centre (if you are hand-kneading). Give it a slight blend before adding in ingredients B and C. Beat using a 'S" hook or use a scrapper to combined the ingredients for approximately 5 minutes to form a dough. Add in ingredients D and beat / hand knead for a further 5 minutes until the dough has a smooth surface. * Check whether the dough is fully developed by stretching a small piece of the dough with your fingers. If the dough can be stretched into a thin layer without tearing, it is ready. But if it does not stretch well, then beat or knead further till it passes the next stretch test. (Like I mentioned earlier, I did not pass the test, but my buns are still fine :P)
    2. Remove the dough and leave it in a big bowl, covered with a piece of damp cloth or clingwrap. Leave bowl in a warm place and let the dough to proof for about 30-40 minutes (or even longer if room temperature is not warm) until it doubled in size.
    Sausage & Chicken Floss Flower Buns (Yield: 10 Buns)
    Ingredients: 1 quantity of 'Basic Sweet Bun Dough'
    For topping: 250gm chicken floss, 100gm Mayonnaise and 10 pc chicken sausages
    For glazing: 1 egg (beaten)

    1. When the dough is done proofing and has doubled in size, take it out and scale each portion to 60gm (you should be able to get 10 pieces, I got 10).
    2. Take one piece of small dough, flatten it with your palm, and roll it into a long shape, then place a sausage on it, roll to wrap it up.
    3. Use a knife, cut 5 slits on the exterior side and join both ends to form a flower blossom. Do the same with both the remaining dough portions.
    4. Place buns on a greased baking tray, set it slightly apart so that it has room to rise as it will still need a final proofing before baking. Set it aside in a warm place and lightly cover with a cloth or cligwrap and let it proof for another 45 minutes or more.
    5. Once it has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 180~C.
    6. Brush with egg wash and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven, spread the top with mayonnaise and a good sprinkle of the chicken floss. Ready to serve.

    Happy Buns baking !~

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Strawberry Macarons with Strawberry Jam Filling…….my 4th attempt

    Hahahaha, do I sound so 'kesian' when you see my post title "4th attempt"…..LOL …..No joke oh, this is really my 4th attempt in making Macarons, and you wouldn't believe it when I said my last 3 attempts ended up all in the bin, and it was so heart breaking that I didn't even want to take a picture to show anyone, aiyo L
    But as I told myself, I would give it another try , the last one, before I call it 'done' for Macaron for good……….and thank goodness, this Labour's Day sure paid off. It's actually quite funny, when I woke up this morning, I just felt that I wanted to make Macarons today, and I think today is 'D' day for Macaron and I just felt that I will succeed this time……hehe, six sense konon oh……..LOL
    I followed this recipe and was really keeping my fingers crossed all the way that this time I'm going to make it right…….no more flop please…….
    You wouldn't believe me when I told you that I actually stand beside the oven, staring at the Macarons, waiting for the 'feet' to appear before my eyes and praying really hard……….as my last 3 attempts, all of them ended up without feet, and some even so runny that it doesn't stay in shape when I piped it on the baking paper. Hey, guess what……after 7 minutes inside the oven, and my constant staring at the oven.......the feet slowly, but steadily and elegantly appear in front of me, ARGH!!!!! and I was like………"I did it! I did it! My Macarons has feet, finally !!!!" in the kitchen ,and the kids came running into the a state of shock.......and ask me what happened. I think they must have thought that their Mummy has gone insane…….after a series of baking…....hehe, sorry Angels………Mummy is just too happy and couldn't believe her own eyes, haha ^_^

    I strongly suggest you guys to schedule a time to bake some Macarons. It's just so lovely and beautiful just looking at it, and the texture, it's very light-weight, sweet………and I actually don't know how to describe it…….but one word…'s awesome and lovely and definitely satisfied!! ………yeah, I know, though the chances of failing is a bit on the high side, but hey, I would say, it sometimes depend on individual too. I have seen countless blogs where they got it at the very first time, some on the second at least. So, here's wishing you all - Happy Macaron baking……..I have already schedule my next Macaron appointment, LOL^_^

    Here is where I got this recipe……check it out! I followed exactly as stated…….no alteration at all :P

    Happy Macarons Baking ;)

    DIY Puff Pastry Chicken Pie

    A promise is a promise……..but do accept my apology for the late posting of this recipe as requested by a few of you. I was searching for the photos of this recipe to refresh myself what is it actually……….and I guessed I'm so ooo……….way back behind oh……I have so many recipes posting that wasn't been posted yet…….really sorry about that, will definitely try to make up and catch up too.
    In fact the main focus on this Chicken Pie would be the DIY Puff Pastry as the filling can be of anything that you like and comfortable with…… might like Curry Beef, Mushroom Chicken, or even plain vegetable pie will be good too. Therefore, do excuse me on the recipe for the filling, as I did exactly the same with my previous post on "Chicken Dome Pie"……you knowlah, I'm not a cook when it comes to the wok………so I normally settles down with something that doesn't requires me to a heavy cooking and ended up messing the whole kitchen with splattered oil here and there…..hehe :P
    I hope you will be understand the diagram that I have draft out (it's a courtesy from here) to show you how you go about folding the dough and the pastry margarine and to form the layers in a puff pastry. For your information, the more amount of time you fold it, the more layers you'll get ……..and the maximum should be around 5-6 folds, as the more folds you do, the pastry margarine will thins out and eventually, it blends in with the dough already.
    So, this is the original recipe and I normally halve it as I find that it's quite a big amount to make the whole ingredient. With the halves, I normally can get about 10-12 pieces of curry puffs or 8-10 chicken pie with a pastry cover……………hehe.

    ¾ Puff Pastry Recipe
    880gm All Purpose Flour / Plain Flour
    13gm Salt
    510ml water, room temperature
    660gm Butter slab / pastry margarine

    1. Sift the flour, mix it with salt and water and form a dough, you might need additional flour to mix it until it doesn't stick to your fingers anymore. Do not over knead it.
    2. Cover the dough with a cling wrap and let rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
    3. Roll out the pastry margarine / butter slab to 2/3 of the dough (as shown in the diagram). Make sure that there isn't too much excess dough at the side.
    4. Fold #1 according to the diagram and then Fold #2. Wrap it up with cling wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
    5. The turn the dough 90 degree and repeat the fold #1 and then fold #2 (without the pastry margarine / butter slab of course).
    6. Repeat another 90 degree turn and let it let rest for 30 minutes again in the fridge. (Always remember, puff pastry requires a lot of resting for the dough each time you have fold it….*sigh*).
    7. Then again, repeat the 90 degree fold until you have a good 5-6 turn, where it will gives you approximately 243 layers for 5 folds and 729 layers for 6 folds.
    8. Again…….before you do anything to it, please let it rest again for another 30 minutes….LOL, I know you are getting impatiently already……..:P, but it's a must oh, no joke.
    After all the resting is done, pre-heat the oven to 180~C. Now you may cut it into your desired shapes, or use a round cookie cutter of 9-10cm, to cut out a circle and press it into your pie tin, then spoon in some filling, cover it with another layer of puff pastry, the size slightly smaller (about 6-7cm) and seal it with egg whites at the rim of the pie tin. Remember to always use a fork to poke a few holes on the top of the cover to let release the trapped hot air when baking.
    Use a pastry brush to egg wash it and bake at 180~C for about 20-25 minutes or until it is golden brown in colour. Take it out, cool on the wire rack and ready to serve.

    Happy DiY Puff Pastry Baking ya........;)

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    Banana Bread

    I haven't yet try baking with fruits as yet …….not for cake and bread, or even cupcakes. But today I had a pretty good chance of baking one as my FiL gave me some very ripe bananas that he has peeled off the skin and kept in the fridge for me after hearing me said the other day, that I would like to try baking something with bananas……hehe, he remembered J
    On my way driving home, my head is already searching for the recipe that I have in collection about baking with bananas. I saw this recipe "Banana Bread" on the website the other day and because it has so many good comments about it, I decided to take it down and give it a try one of these days. I am curious too on what will be the difference between this Banana Bread and a Banana Cake in texture………which mean I will be baking a Banana Cake very soon, hahaha.....….stay tuned oh :P
    What I found out is, this bread requires a longer baking time, but overall, the texture of the bread was fine, very dense, aromatic and unlike cakes…… doesn't gives you the richness that a cake does, that will make you feel guilty after having a second piece (hehe)……….and it's not that sweet, so it actually taste really good with a cup of coffee or tea for afternoon tea. Oh yes, one more verdict about this bread is, don't expect it to be moist like a cake, but it's also not that dry too lah.........that it'll stuck in your throat :P, maybe because it falls under the 'bread' category………could it be?
    Anyway, I hope you will like this and I have planned to add 2 tablespoons of milk into the batter the next time if I ever make this banana bread again ……just to see if I can add a little moisture into it, ^_^ Happy Banana Bread baking …….cheers!

    Banana Bread (Makes 8 – 10 slices)
    250g all-purpose flour (I used Self Raising Flour, therefore I cut down the Baking Powder to ½ tsp only)

    2 teaspoons baking powder (I used on ½ tsp)
    125g unsalted butter, softened
    160g castor sugar
    4 ripe bananas, mashed
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and flour a 19x11cm loaf pan. ( I used a 22x11cm loaf pan instead because I don't have a 19x11cm size)
    2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
    3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a separate bowl, then add in the mashed banana and mix well.
    4. Add in the eggs, one at a time until all the ingredients come together, add in the vanilla extract.
    5. Fold in the dry ingredients into the butter mixture part by part until fully combine, being careful not to overmix.

    6.   Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the read is cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve in thick slices with butter and a cup of coffee is perfect!

    p/s: I just found out that the banana bread is even better consume the day has become a bit moist after a day.....:)

    Happy Banana Bread Baking ;)