Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Passion Fruit Chiffon and Dark Sugar Wheat Germ Raisin Loaf

It seems like I am pretty much hooked on making chiffon cakes lately. Whenever I come across a fruit or even a drink, I would ask myself, "Can I use this to make chiffon cake??" Lol! Its funny how chiffon cakes have "evolved" from the typical Pandan and Orange flavors. I remember my mum would bake Pandan chiffon ever so often for us and it's always a favorite treat for me. ;) Nowadays, we see such exotic flavors popping out like dragon fruit, Ribehna and even savory cheese versions. I know it's already been attempted by some bloggers out there, but I decided to try my hand making an unusual chiffon flavor, Passion fruit. ;)Its' not the first time though for me to use passion fruit to bake. I am sure anyone that has tasted passion fruit before are possibly captivated by it's strong fragrant scent. :)
And did you know that fresh passion fruit is high in beta carotene, potassium, and dietary fiber. It's juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and good for people who has High blood pressure. No wonder my mum has been asking me to eat them straight out from the fruit shell.
Since it is in season now...remember to go grab a few and savor the goodness of this fruit. ;) Back to the chiffon cake, it actually has a nice strong aroma of the fruit even though I only used the juice of 2 fruits for this 25 inch cake. :P And in order to show some "evidence" that I did use passion fruit, I added some seeds in the cake batter. No worries, the seeds are really small and totally edible...crunchy. ;)

Ingredients for Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake:
Egg Yolk Mixture:
4 egg yolks
115ml (juice of 2 passion fruit and top up with water if needed)
85 ml corn oil

80 g sugar

75g Cake flour

75g plain flour
3 g salt

1 tsp baking Powder


Egg White Mixture:

5 egg white
1/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar

90g sugar


Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl, add in all of the egg yolk ingredients and mix well till everything is well incorporated and smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 175C.
  • In another mixing bowl, add in all the egg white and cream of tartar and beat using a mixer at medium speed till foamy. Without stopping the mixer, gradually add in the sugar and beat till stiff peaks. One way to test if the white is ready, lift the bowl upside down and it won't fall, serious, not joking! ;D
  • Gently fold a quarter portion of the white mixture into the yolk mixture till well combined. Then add the yolk mixture to the white mixture and gently fold everything together till all is incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into a tube pan (no grease or non stick please) and place in the preheated oven to bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Tester comes out clean and it's ready.
  • Remove from oven and immediately invert it to cool. Do not invert/ remove cake from pan until completely cooled.
The cake is light and soft, yet the flavor is strong and refreshingly good. ;) An unusual take in flavor but definitely a pleasant one. ;)
Making this chiffon has kind of reassured me to have the courage to attempt other more "exotic" flavors out there. :) Although I am aware that there are plenty of expert bakers out there with lots of new chiffon flavors, but I am still happy and excited with my chiffon. :) Hope you too can share this little joy and try this recipe out. :) One bite and you will be "floating" on fluffy soft chiffon cloud, lol! Enjoy!
The other bake I want to show you all is this Dark Sugar Wheat Germ Raisin Loaf. I actually made this 3 weeks ago for my family's breakfast. It was a new recipe I worked out adapting from one of the previous bread I made last year, Dark Sugar Whole Wheat Raisin Loaf. Have been wanting to try it out incorporating wheat germ into the bread, so here it is!


Ingredients for Dark Sugar Wheat Germ Loaf:
340g bread flour
84g whole wheat flour
34g wheat germ
50g dark brown sugar
4g instant active yeast
8g salt
30g unsalted butter, room temperature
294ml water

For the detail method, please refer to my Dark Sugar Whole wheat Raisin loaf.

If you noticed the sides of my loaf looks kind of "torn"...well, it's because I used olive oil to grease my bread tin instead of the usual butter. Wonder why it made the loaf stick to the tin?! But I learnt my lesson, will not try that again for sure. ;P
The bread still turned out great despite it's not so attractive exterior. :P My 2 kids didn't even noticed the goodness I added into the bread and they totally enjoyed the loaf, one slice after another. :)
Here is a shot of my daughter's hand holding a half eaten slice with a generous spread of cold butter over it. She made me took this picture saying "It is very nice." I guess she really did enjoyed the bread, lol! That's really heart warming for me... ;)

Hope you all will get in the kitchen today and make something for your love ones today...I know I will be later. ;) Take care & have a great week ahead you all! ;)



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Wonderful Mid-Autumn Festival to all, 中秋节快乐!

I just want to take this opportunity to wish all my family, friends, followers and readers, a peaceful and happy Mid-Autumn Festival. Although the weather at this moment is really bad (raining cats and dogs outside) over here in Singapore, but I do hope it doesn't dampen this lovely festive mood. Even though we don't get any public holiday for this festive occasion, I still have a warm feeling whenever it comes by. Reason being the belief of 嫦娥 reunite her husband 后羿 on this day and thus this legend lives on, influencing the people (at least me) that this day (八月十五) is a day to reunite, gather with your love ones. So I hope you will be with your love ones today, sharing some yummy food and mooncakes and gazing at the moon. ;)
This year I have settled with just making the same old spiral mooncakes which I made for the past 2 years. Due to time constraint and several events circling at around the same time, I didn't want to be too adventurous this year. But I did try my hands on making snow skin mooncakes this time....which is as far as I went. :P
I got the recipe from "Do What I Like", Florence's blog. I used some Disney characters moulds to make this and it turned out pretty good. :) However the skin didn't stay soft for 3 days like what Florence said, on the 3rd day it turned slightly dry and hard....but still edible. :P Anyway I am happy I gave this a try, because only practice then I can perfect it. :)

Last weekend, my family and I went to Clark Quay to get in the festive mood. We anticipated that it will be very crowded but we didn't mind because we knew that it will be fun watching the beautiful lanterns and some live performances.
Here are some some interesting photos and video to show you which I took while I was there, watch on...



Check out this lantern. ;) This is actually given to my elder daughter by a Minister of Parliament, Dr Lily Neo during a live performance in Clark Quay. Very special...;)
video
I hope watching the photos & the fireworks will brighten you up! I know I did. ;)

BTW, don't forget to watch the moon tonight while you munch on those delicious mooncakes and sip on that cup of tea. I believe it will warm your heart just staring at the big round gorgeous moon. Doesn't it feel nice to know that we are all looking at the same moon? Sure makes me feel that the world is just that bit smaller. ;)

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival All, 中秋节快乐!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hubby's Birthday 2010: Durian Cream Cake & Dark Chocolate Truffle Cherry Cake

My husband's birthday was here again. I wanted to make something special & different for his birthday cake and had been pondering over this matter for quite sometime. ;P Reason was his favorite fruit was Durian, so making a durian cake seems like a super idea. However, the kids were not fans of durian so they won't get to enjoy their daddy's birthday treat. :P So that falls back to chocolate cake again, similar to that birthday cake I made for him last year. And since I couldn't really decide on one, I decided to go ahead and make both! Call me crazy but I think it'll be crazier if I made a durian chocolate cake, lol! So on his Lunar birthday (based on Chinese calendar), I made him his favorite, Durian Cream Cake.

A simple 6 inch square cake, containing 6 layers of vanilla sponge and 6 layers of durian cream. Well, you would wonder if there is any significant meaning in that? No, lol! It's just so happened, that's all. :)
I had made it so small because only my husband and I will be enjoying this cake, so better not make it any bigger then necessary.
Here it is, a slice of the durian cream cake. :) Pretty tall for such a small cake I must say. Well, it almost looked like a cube, lol! But a delicious cube that is. :) The vanilla sponge cake was nice and soft, so when it's sandwiched between the thick luscious durian cream, it was perfect! Each bite is light and yet packed full of flavors...a dream desert for durian lovers, well besides the real durian of course. :)
I am actually rushing to post this up, so I'll skip posting the recipe this time. Will try to post up the recipe in future if opportunity comes. Overall, very satisfied with this simple cake, and dear hubby was delighted too. :)
The other cake I made for him on his actual birthday, which was yesterday is....drum-roll....Dark Chocolate Truffle Cherry Cake! Never heard of it? Well, that's because I came up this cake "combo" myself, lol! I wanted to make something deep, dark and chocolaty, but yet I wanted to add that bit of moisture to the cake, so can cherries seems appropriate. :) Almost like black forest but not exactly because of the truffle layer. :P
As you can see, it has a number of "rough edges", not that well decorated...*sigh*. Reason was I only started working on it on that morning and even went out lunch and shopping in between before even completing it, lol! Well it's a Sunday fellows, ...heehee. ;)
Although I had the idea of making a dark chocolate truffle cherry cake, but I have no clue what so ever how am I gonna decorate it! I had to browse through all my bakery books for ideas, but still couldn't piece up to a nice picture. :P In the end I just went with the flow, and went with more melted chocolate and thus this not so fantastic looking cake. :P
As you can see from this cut out slice, this is just a simple 2 layer chocolate sponge cake with a thick layer of dark chocolate truffle (yes, thicker then the sponge cake, lol) and sweet cherries sandwiched between, yummm! And considering I use purely Valrohna 70% cocoa baking chocolate and powder, you can imagine now deep and chocolaty this cake will be. ;)
I think I can have a slice of this any time of the day or year, lol! Hubby? Of course he loved it too! Luckily the rest of the family enjoyed it very much too and complimented it was chocolaty and not too sweet. :) I was glad I made this 2nd cake for the rest of the family to enjoy. Although much more work involved in making 2 birthday cakes....but isn't 2 better then one? Lol! But I told my hubby...just this once, hahaha!

Have a great great week all!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plum-Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Fact, I always look forward to going back to my parents place. There is always good food, good company and lots of laughter and love involved. My parents are excellent cooks and their theory is to cook more then enough to feed an army. Wasteful? Try telling it to them, but they that feel if everyone has eaten to their heart's content, one will be happy. And happy we are every single time. ;) Left overs? Always taken home to savor the next day by us siblings of course, lol! Their generous move always made me motivated to bake something nice for them. This time is no exception. I made an Italian Plum-Cream Cheese Coffee cake. My parents love fruits and I always make a point to incorporate fruits into my bakes for them to enjoy.
Very rustic looking right? Not as pretty as I hoped it will be, lol! Simple butter bake at the bottom, stone fruits and topped with dollops of cream cheese mixture...how homey and simple can you get with this?
This was made a few weeks back when plums were still in season. But you can definitely replace the plums with any fruits that you fancy. So slow on blogging nowadays, made me feel really out of fashion sometimes, lol! :)

Ingredients for Plum-Cream Cheese Coffee Cake: (Makes an 8" round)
Cake:
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
5 tbsp caster sugar

2 large eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1.25 cup (150g) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
100ml fresh milk

Filling
8 to 10 plums, cut half and pitted
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 package of the standard Philadelphia cheese )
1/2 cup (112g) caster sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease an 8" spring-form pan or a fluted, deep tart pan. Place parchment paper.
  • For the cake, cream together to butter and sugar will creamy. Add eggs, vanilla and blend until smooth.
  • Fold in flour and salt to make a smooth batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Gently pressed in the halved plums with cut sides down into the cake batter.
  • Cream cheese layer: Mix cream cheese and remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk till well blended. Spread the mixture over the plums in the cake pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and appears set, about 45 mins. Cool completely before slicing to serve.
A shot of a sliced piece, looks much better then the whole cake I think. :) At least we get to see the juicy bright purple plums in the cake. :) Perhaps I have pressed the plums way too deep into the cake batter, so cannot really see the fruits from the outside. :P I love the tangy & juicy taste from the plums, a very nice combo with the creamy cream cheese top. And the soft butter cake layer at the bottom makes an excellent compliment to it. ;)
This cake is a really simple and delicious cake to whip up. Try it yourself and you will taste this delicious cake just like me and my family. ;) Happy Baking!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Soft Buns (65℃汤种 method)

Yes, I baked bread again. It is indeed a never ending quest for me, because eating bread is a daily affair for me, whether its breakfast or just dough craving. And to be able to have fresh baked bread (made by myself) is really a true satisfaction. ;) But it's not all "sweet endings" if you know what I mean. There are always occasional mishaps, especially when trying out new recipes. But surprisingly, trying new recipes is actually the fun of it all for me, lol! :P It's funny how Happy Home Baker was telling us her "obsession" with bread baking and I see myself sharing the same sentiments. :D Whatever chemistry bread making has me hooked is really hard to explain. :) Regardless, I'm loving it and not stopping anytime soon, heehee. ;)
Although this is not my first time making bread using 65℃汤种 method, but I can safely say this Chocolate Chocolate Chip soft bread buns are one of the best ones I've made so far. :) It is really soft and fluffy and the strong chocolate aroma was very inviting!
This recipe is actually adapted from Cafe Corner's Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough . Had bookmarked this recipe for awhile now and I saw Gert made it the other day, it just made me want to bake it even more. Today I finally got to it and I modified it to what I like best....Chocolate buns! How did I do it, check it out:

Ingredients for Chocolate Chip Chocolate Buns (65℃汤种 method)

340g bread flour

100g plain flour
30g Valrohna Cocoa powder (use any kind you prefer)
30g milk powder
80g caster sugar
3/4 tsp salt
7g instant dry yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
150ml lukewarm water
40g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Water Roux:
25g bread flour
125ml water
*Please refer to Cafe Corner's site to see the detail explanation and steps on making water roux.

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl, add in all the ingredients (including all of the water roux mixture) except the butter and chocolate chips. Mix everything well and knead it till it comes together to form a soft dough.
  • Continue to knead the dough till it is not sticky and it's pulling away from the sides of the working area of bowl.
  • Add in the room temperature butter and continue to knead till it is very elastic and pass the window test. For this case, the dark brown color of the dough is harder to see through. So, as long as it doesn't tear, it should be good to go. But knead time would be around 20 to 25 minutes with hand and 10 to 15 minutes with mixer.
  • Place well knead dough into a oiled bowl and let proof in the switched off oven alongside a bowl of hot water for at least 1hr to 1.5hrs till it double in size.
  • Remove from oven and punch out the air. Weigh out the dough and divide it equally into 12 portions. If you prefer smaller buns, go for 16 portions. Roll round the portions and let rest for 10 mins, covered, before shaping.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out one of the portions into a flat oval shape, sprinkle some chocolate chips on top and roll it up like a swiss roll. Seal and roll it out again into a flat oval. This timeroll it up into a swiss roll once again and seal nicely into a round dough ball. Place into a well greased baking square pan (I used 22cmx22cm) Repeat with the rest of the dough portions till all has been rolled and placed in pan.
  • Let the shaped dough rest covered for 10 minutes before baking. Meantime, preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Bake the buns in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes till the top is dark brown and when you pat on it, it sounds hollow. If the top browns too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil and let it continue to finish baking.
  • Once it is done, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan. Let the freshly baked bread cool completely on rack before storing it in airtight containers. This delicious bread should stay good and soft for at least 3 days.
Proved to baked. When these fluffy buns baked up in the oven, the whole house smells like chocolate heaven! When it came out from the oven, me and my kids can't wait to tear one out to eat! And we did just that, lol!
To think that my last bread post was also a chocolate bread recipe, you can imagine how much I love chocolate, lol! And I definitely didn't see anyone complaining about that in my family. :)
Actually, how do you know if your bread is baked to perfection? This is a method I want to show you...check out the video:




video
A well knead and nicely baked loaf will usually spring back even after you give it a good squeeze. :) Don't worry, I don't usually "torture" my bread this way, lol! Just wanted to show you guys that's all. :)
Overall I am really satisfied with this chocolate bread recipe. I know I will be making this again and again for my family and myself of course. ;) You guys should give this delicious bread recipe a try too. Got to run now....have a good week guys!