Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dear Mum's Birthday: Passion Fruit Swiss Roll Cake & "寿桃" (Peach) Buns

It's my mother's birthday again. It goes without saying I have to bake a nice cake for her as well this year...nicer then the one last year. But because of the recent Father's Day cake I made, my family kind of fell in love with the passion fruit cake flavor. So I decided to bake a passion fruit cake but in the same Swiss Roll cake deco I made for my MIL's birthday cake in June. I have to say this cake is like a marriage of 2 recipes & technique I learned in these months. And this is the result of the happy "marriage", heehee.
I know I should have come up with a new design on the outside, but I really don't have that kind of time leisure, so I just went to the same design as the previous one. But bare in mind that this is a Passion Fruit Swiss Roll Cake...meaning the cake is rolled up just like the one in the Father's Day & my Hubby's Birthday cake I made. Meaning the cake layering are in vertical form. Anyway, I will upload a picture of the sliced cake after tonight's celebration. :)

Instead of using the same recipe of sponge cake (whole egg technique); I decided to change the recipe to using the egg separation method "分蛋式海绵蛋". Main reason is this method yields the softest of all the techniques (i.e. Chiffon, Sponge and egg separation). Here is my recipe:

Ingredients for Passion fruit Cake Batter (13" by 15"):
Set A:
5 large egg yolks
60g caster sugar
110g superfine or cake flour
2 tsp corn flour

Set B:
50g unsalted butter
50ml fresh passion fruit juice (~ 3 passion fruits)

Set C:
6 egg whites
pinch of salt
50g caster sugar

Ingredients for Passion Fruit Cream Cheese Filling:
150g unsalted butter
250g cream cheese, room temperature
80g confectioner's sugar
50ml passion fruit pulp
100ml non dairy whipping cream
1.5 tbsp gelatine powder melted in 2 tbsp boiling water


  • Melt the butter together with the passion fruit juice from Set B under double boiler and let cool until needed.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and greased it again. Preheat oven to 170C.
  • Again under double boiler, beat the egg yolks and sugar (from Set A) till triple in volume and thickens.
  • At the meantime, beat the egg white with gradual addition of the sugar in Set C and beat till mixture is stiff peaks.
  • In 3 separate portions, add the egg whites into the yolk mixture, folding gently till all is added in.
  • Sift in the flours in 3 separate portions as well, using the electric mixer at its lowest speed. Do this till there is no visible lumps of flour and making sure not over beating and deflating the mixture.
  • Take about 2 tbsp worth of the batter and mix into the melted, cooled butter mixture. Make sure it is well mixed and then add it back to the cake batter and gently stir to blend.
  • For the Swiss Roll decoration details, please kindly refer to this post.
  • Finally, pour the batter into the baking tray and level out with a scraper. Then bake in the oven for 13 minutes or till tester comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before use.
  • In the meantime, prepare the cream cheese filling: Cream the butter, cream cheese, sifted powder sugar, gelatine mixture and passion fruit juice together till smooth.
  • Pour in the whipping cream and continue to whip at high speed till mixture fluff up and increase in volume more.
  • For details on how to assemble this cake, please refer to this post.
I really have to work on my piping Chinese characters are not very nicely done. ;P And hopefully the taste of the cake will work out nice as well tonight. *fingers crossed*

Latest update!
Managed to get a shot of a slice....the cake was indeed very yum, just like the previous time, heehee!

Besides the cake, I also made some "寿桃" (peach) buns for my mum's birthday. Traditionally, these buns that are served during an elder's birthday celebration. Since this was my first attempt, I had a very rough work done...but still presentable...I think, lol!

I had these buns filled with white lotus paste (no sugar added). Had thought of adding salted egg yolk in it too but decided not to, as there's too much work!! :P As for the bun recipe, it's none other then my trusty soft mantou recipe of course, hee. :D
Hope you guys are not laughing your pants off looking at my ugly "寿桃" (peach) buns. :P Seriously need some practice on the shaping. Luckily it is just for my family's consumption....hee. :D But let's hope my mum won't be disappointed in these. *double fingers crossed*

Okay folks, gotta go and prepare for the celebration tonight, will post again soon! Have a great week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chocolate Swirl Bread Loaf & Pork Floss Swiss Roll

Another month is coming to an end, and it is almost August. And before we know it, we'll be marching into the last quarter of 2011. Time is just swishing by really fast and sometimes I feel kind of helpless thinking about it. Wonder if anyone of you felt the same. :P Anyway, I'll try to minimize the wasting of time here by posting two recipes in this post. First up is Chocolate Swirl Bread Loaf. I have again adapted the 17hr pre-fermentation method in this recipe. Using the plain white loaf recipe, I incorporated some cocoa sugar powder to create the swirl effect.

Pardon me if you find this loaf rather hideous looking...kind of like the incredible hock loaf, lol! I guess I should have dine a better job on the shaping. But it's really kind of messy and hard to handle as the cocoa sugar powder melts into the dough as I place it into the loaf lessonlearn ; choose a cooler day to bake this. ;P

Ingredients for White Bread Loaf (makes 2 loaves of 9X5X5)
Pre-ferment Dough
480g bread flour
274ml water
14g fresh yeast ( I used 8 g instant active dry yeast)
7g sea salt
14g skim milk powder

Dissolve the yeast in water. Add bread flour, sea salt, skim milk powder and knead until soft. Cover the dough in cling wrap or a big zip log bag. Refrigerate to let it prove for 17 hours.

Note: The dough will expand in the fridge. So whatever container you put the dough in, do give some allowance for growth.

Main Dough:
206g bread flour
7g sea salt
69g caster sugar
199ml water
3g fresh yeast (I used instant active dry yeast)
48g unsalted butter, room temperature

Chocolate Mix:
40g cocoa powder
100g caster sugar
Method: (*note that I use only half of the dough portion for this)
  • Knead all ingredients of the main dough together, except the butter. Add pre-ferment dough piece by piece. Knead after each addition until soft and smooth. Add butter. Knead until stretchable consistency.
  • Put the dough into a big bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let it prove for 30minutes till double.
  • Punch out the air and roll the dough into a flat rectangle, about 250cm by 30cm. Sprinkle the chocolate mix all over the dough surface.
  • Cut the dough into 8 equal strips and stack them one on top of the other. Then further cut the dough log into 6 equal squares.
  • Take the stacks of square dough, place them standing up like books until it fills up the whole
I apologize for the lack of visual aid in the shaping of the loaf this time. But no worries, normal Swiss roll style shaping will work just fine. :)
    A shot of the bread's soft texture. Didn't bother to slice it this time, lol! Anyway, it's a good recipe, will make it again, perhaps with cinnamon sugar & chocolate chips next round.

    The other recipe is Pork Floss Swiss Roll. I have done this Swiss Roll before...quite awhile back. Although this combination may seem unorthodox, cake with pork floss? But trust me, it is surprisingly delicious. So far anyone that has tasted it has changed their own opinion about this unusual marriage of ingredients and rave it's yumminess. :)

    This time I used the vanilla sponge cake recipe from 孟老师的美味蛋糕卷 cookbook. This vanilla cake recipe uses the same egg separation method which always yields a soft texture. Here is the recipe:

    Ingredients for Vanilla Sponge Swiss Roll cake: (makes a 14cm X 10cm)
    Set A:
    40g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    100g egg yolk (about 5)
    20g caster suagr
    Set B:
    160g egg white ( about 4)
    75g caster sugar

    55g cake flour

    For detail steps; please refer to my earlier post for the technique.

    I will be submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #9 - Swiss Rolling Good Times hosted by Obsessedly Involved with Food. If you have not submitted yet, do hurry as it's only a few days left! Don't miss out the fun and the attractive gift that might just be yours! :)

    Okay all, have a great weekend ahead! Cheers!

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Black Forest Swiss Roll Cake with Cream Cheese & Fresh Cherries

    Hi folks! Hope all is well. :) It's already past mid week and it's as usually busy for me. But all work and no bake makes me dull, lol! So finally I "squeeze out" some time this afternoon and did the Swiss roll cake I have been thinking of for the past week. :) It's Black Forest Swiss Roll Cake! Seen it on other bloggers' post which urged me even more to try it. Since there were some fresh cherries left in my fridge, I used them instead of canned ones. I guess the downside is that the cherries can get a wee bit tart. :P Luckily my family love fresh cherries, so they have no problem with it at all.:)) Personally, I like the slight sourness in the fruit which makes the cake's over sweetness just right. :)
    I have adapted the same egg separation technique "分蛋式海绵蛋" for this Swiss roll cake from 孟老师的美味蛋糕卷 cookbook. For more details on the recipe and steps, please refer to my previous post on Chocolate Swiss Roll.
    Instead of using just plain whipping cream for the filling this time, I added cream cheese into it. It turned out very smooth, extra creamy and went really well with the chocolate cake and cherries. Simply decadent! Read on for the cream cheese filling:

    Ingredients for Cream Cheese Filling:
    200g cream cheese, room temperature
    3 tbsp fresh orange juice (you can use lemon juice)
    30g caster sugar
    100ml non dairy whipping cream, cold

    In a large mixing bowl, place the cream cheese in and start beating it till smooth and creamy. Add the orange juice, sugar and continue to beat till smooth. Lastly pour in the whipping cream in and start whipping till the mixture fluffs up and increase in volume by double. Give it a taste test to see if the sweetness is just right for you, adjust accordingly. Chill in the fridge till needed.

    The only thing I find it hard to handle was the chocolate shavings. With this kind of hot weather, I had to move the cake & chocolate shaving in and out of the fridge, just to prevent it from melting. :P And notice the sun is almost setting when I'm taking these photos....can't afford the strong rays shinning on my "precious", lol!
    Once again this cake technique has yield super soft and spongy texture. It doesn't deflate like the chiffon technique and it taste much softer then the usual whole egg sponge technique. :) Overall, a wonderful recipe. :) My family simply loved it! If you have the time, I highly recommend you give this a try, definitely worth it! :)

    Okay all, have a good day! Cheerio!

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Pumpkin Pork Floss Mantou

    Making breakfast for the family has become a routine for me. I seldom purchase off the shelf bread loaf or frequent any bakery unless necessary. And ever since I found a couple of good bread and pau recipe, making breakfast seems not all that troublesome or difficult now. All you have to do is twig the old trusty recipe a little or simply adding new ingredients to make it different. ;D This time I used the same mantou recipe which I so loved and added pumpkin to it. Simple as that, we got pumpkin mantou. ;) And just the other day I saw Vivian Pang adding pork floss in her mantou and thought I try it too. Result? Delicious! :)
    Truth is, I actually had 2 failed attempts on making this steam pumpkin mantou before this. Nothing disastrous, but just kind of puffed up and then deflated right after I remove them from the steamer. :P *sigh* Suspecting that it might be the butter I added into the dough, I omitted it this time and it just turned out perfect. *phew!*
    With the addition of savory pork floss was a superb idea! My kids loved it, even my picky eater. ;)) The pork floss I used has sesame and seaweed in it, so it's even more fragrant, yum. ;))

    Ingredients for Pumpkin Pork Floss Mantou (Makes about 16 to 20):
    Starter dough:
    120g pau flour (original calls for plain flour)
    1/2 tsp active instant dry yeast
    80ml warm water
    pinch of salt

    Knead all the ingredients together till it comes together to form a soft, smooth dough. Chill in the fridge up to 6-8hrs before use.
    Main dough:
    100g starter dough (the other half can continue to chill up to 36 hrs before use)
    1.5 tsp active instant dry yeast
    300g pau flour
    180g steamed pumpkin
    20 ml water
    40g caster sugar
    1/4 tsp salt

    Red Bean / Lotus paste filling

    Method for Red bean / Lotus paste steam buns:
    1. Place everything in a large mixing bowl except the butter and knead till it comes together. Once it forms into a dough, add in the butter and continue to knead for a good 5 to 7 minutes on the mixer or 10 minutes by hand till it is elastic and smooth.
    2. Place the dough in a greased bowl and let proof till double in size. Punch out the air and divide the dough into 2 portions. Roll round and let rest for 5 minutes.
    3. Take a dough portion and roll it out with into a big flat rectangular, about 20am by 30cm. Brush with water and sprinkle with about 1 cup of pork floss or how ever much you like.
    4. Roll it up from the long side like a swiss roll and then slice it up into 8 or 10 equal portions. Place on a grease proof paper and let proof in the steamer (cold) for 10 minutes.
    5. Start the stove fire, once the water boils, lower it to medium low and let steam for 8 to 10 minutes. Then turn off the fire and let the mantous stay into the steamer for another 5 minutes before taking them out.

    The mantous turned out soft and delicious, definitely a keeper. In fact I made it again a couple days later but minus the steamed pumpkin puree. I made fresh milk mantou with pork floss and it was equally good. :)
    Hope you all are a little more motivated and make it for breakfast tomorrow for your family. For sure a home made breakfast is more more healthy and wholesome then those outside. :))

    Ooops, duty calls! Got to go, so I have to stop here and come back again with another post soon.
    Have a good week ahead all!

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Brasied Pork Ribs (红烧排骨) & Strawberry Banana Wheat Gem Cake

    I have been slacking on blogging lately. :P Just don't seem to be that motivated to blog....and frankly speaking I don't really know why. Perhaps it's a phase that I or probably many of you fellow bloggers out there experience every once in awhile. :P Well, maybe I should go blog hopping to get me all motivated again....:P But thanks so much to you all whom has constantly come back and give me the encouragement, appreciate it!

    Today I have 2 recipes to share. First up is a savory dish call Braised Pork Ribs (红烧排骨) which my family enjoys very much. :)
    This dish may sound complicated to prepare, but it is actually not. :) I believe anyone can come up with this wonderful dish. :) I got this recipe from 大排档浆 ( Hawkers' Fair...Sauces; Book 7).

    Ingredients for Braised Pork Ribs (红烧排骨)
    Hong Xiu Sauce (红烧浆 ):
    6 shallot, peeled and chopped
    2 tbsp chopped garlic
    2 tbsp minced ginger
    100ml oil

    5 tbsp oyster sauce
    3 tbsp light soy sauce
    1 tsp salt
    3 tsp sugar
    dash of pepper
    300 ml water

    Heat up the oil, saute shallot, garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add seasoning and bring to cook until the whole consistency thickens. Remove from heat and set aside for later use.

    Braised Pork Ribs: (served 4)
    600g spare ribs, (cut into pieces & rinsed once with boiling water)
    1 star anise
    5cm cinnamon stick
    5 to 8 tbsp Hong Xiu sauce (红烧浆)
    1000ml water

    Heat up 1 tbsp oil, saute star anise and cinnamon stick until fragrant. Add in spare ribs, Hong Xiu sauce and stir fry until aromatic. Add in water and bring to oil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour or until spare ribs are tender.

    The ribs were really tender and flavorful after that 1 hour of slow braising. It is such a nice dish to serve up with steamy hot rice. :) My kid will always ask for extra rice when served with this yummy braised ribs. So who says you can't eat restaurant dishes at the comfort of your home? Try it will ya? :)

    The other recipe is a healthy and delicious cake which you can serve up for your family anytime; Strawberry Banana Wheat Gem Cake. I saw a similar recipe quite sometime back and wanted to try it out but with different ingredients. The original recipe calls for flax seeds but I changed it to wheat gem since I figured it should be just as healthful and wholesome. :)

    Ingredients for Strawberry Banana Wheat Gem Cake (makes a standard loaf pan)
    210g unbleached plain flour
    3 tbsp toasted wheat gem
    150g caster sugar
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 large eggs
    Zest and juice of 1 navel orange
    3/4 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
    3/4 cup ripen banana, peeled
    1/2 cup vegetable oil

    • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, soda and salt together and set aside for use later. Grease and lined with parchment a standard 9X5" loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 180C.
    • In another bowl, mash up strawberries and banana together using a masher. It's ok if the strawberries are chunky as it will give extra texture to the cake.
    • Add orange zest and juice and mix well. Then add in caster sugar, eggs and oil and mix till well combined.
    • Make a well in the flour mixture and add in the wet ingredients. Stir to combine but DO NOT over mix.
    • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or till the tester comes out clean.
    The cake is surprisingly moist and refreshing with all the fruits and zest in it. Plus the use of vegetable oil instead of butter makes the cake lighter, not dense at all. If you worry the wheat gem might give a grainy texture, well not at all, your kids won't even know you've added something so wholesome in their cake. :D I'm very please with the outcome and taste of this cake, truly a successful attempt which I will bake again for my family next time. Plus I definitely won't feel guilty eating up a couple slices at one go. :)

    BTW, feel free to substitute some of the ingredients in the recipe, wheat gem to wheat bran, orange to lemon and strawberries to other berries. :) Have fun trying and baking it!

    Okay folks, time to leave you all for now and hopefully be back soon with something more interesting. ;) Have a good day all!

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    HoneyBee Swiss Roll Cake

    I have finally did it! Something I have been wanting to do for awhile...another Swiss roll cake decoration!
     Doesn't this picture just cheer you up a little? It almost seems like a little kid doing a new kind of art work, lol! Since my last couple of attempts with the Pikachu Mango Swiss Roll and my MIL's birthday cake, I promised myself that I must do it again. :) I knew I had to do a picture with a bee in it, heehee.
    This time I followed the recipe given in my cookbook. And mind you, its in Japanese and I am half guessing the words and trying to translate it online, lol! And the best part is I actually modified the recipe and so as to increase the volume to fit my bigger baking tray...scary right, lol! :P Anyway, the recipe calls for a simple vanilla cake using egg separation method, almost like chiffon cake technique. Here is my recipe, translated by yours truly (use it at your own risk, heehee) :

    Ingredients for Vanilla Swiss Roll ( 10 inches by 14 inches cake tray) :
    Egg Yolk Batter:
    4 egg yolks
    40g caster usgar
    75ml water
    50ml vegetable oil
    1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
    100g Cake flour

    For decorations and drawings
    • (A) Four separate small bowls with 1tsp of above batter placed in it(for red, pink, yellow & brown food coloring) Note that I use 1 tsp of cocoa powder instead of brown coloring
    • Add 1/4 tsp of cake flour into each bowl and mix well (Next time I will omit this as I find it hardens the batter a little and thus separating the decoration from the Swiss roll)
    • (B) Another bowl with 2 tsp worth of above batter place in it (for green food coloring) Note that original recipe calls for green tea powder but I used green food coloring.
    • Add 1/2 tsp of cake flour to the bowl and mix well.
    • 1 egg white beaten with a pinch of cream of tartar & 10g caster sugar till stiff peaks. Take 1/3 of this egg white and mix in (B) mixture while the remaining 2/3 is divided equally among the 4 bowls in (A) and mix well.
    • Place your desired picture on the baking tray and place a greased parchment over it and grease it again. Preheat the oven to 165C.
    • Pipe the decorations on the parchment as required and bake in the preheated oven for a minute. Repeat till the whole picture has been piped out and baked except for some of the outlines which will require black food coloring later.
    Egg White Batter:
    5 egg whites
    40g caster sugar
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    • Beat egg white till foamy, add cream of tartar and continue to whip. Gradually add in the sugar and continue to beat at high speed till it reaches stiff peaks.
    • Fold white into the reserved main egg yolk batter gently in 3 separate portions till all is incorporated.
    • Pour batter over the baked decoration and filled up the baking tray. Level it nicely and then place in preheated oven to bake for about 12 to 14minutes till the top is golden brown.
    • Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from tray and peeling off the parchment.
    This is how it looks like once all the decoration has been baked on to the cake and yet to be rolled up and outlined. Note that outlining the picture should only be done after you have filled and rolled up the Swiss roll. Simply just use some food coloring with 1/2 tsp of water and a fine tip brush will do.
    Please pardon some of the "untidiness" you can spot from the Swiss roll. It can be really hard to control the cake batter to make it perfectly the way you want it to look like. I'm sure those bloggers that have attempted this will know what I mean. :P There were a few mistakes I made while making this, biggest one was forgetting to grease the parchment and causing some of the batter to stick! *sigh* Anyway, I am still happy with the end result...even thought it took me a whole 3 hours to complete it! ;P
    I have filled the cake with simple whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries, plus a thin layer of chocolate ganache...which explains why there's this brownish color on the inside. :P

    My kids loved the cake...taste wise that is, they don't really fancy much of mummy's "art" work. :P The cake is indeed very soft...and no cracks when rolled. Shall make it again with other flavors next time.

    Thanks for staying and reading my long post. And hope my explanation is clear enough for those who wants to try out. :P

    Needless to say, I'll be submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #9 - Swiss Rolling Good Times hosted by Obsessedly Involved with Food.

    Have a good weekend folks!

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Fresh Cherry FrangipaneTartlets

    A couple weeks back, when I saw the nearby grocer having some fresh bing cherries on sale, I grabbed a couple of punnets without hesitation. :)) Somehow eating this fruit just brings back some nostalgic memories of my past life in California. Going to the cherry orchard and plugging those ruby red fruits fresh from the trees....and straight to my mouth, heehee. I also remember baking cherry pies and jams...such a luxury since it's so abundantly available there in CA. However back in Asia, it's so scare to see it selling in the grocer and it's usually pretty expensive. :P Anyway, I have this lovely and delicious recipe that uses fresh bing cherries which has become my family favorite; its Fresh Cherry Frangipane Tartlets.
    These tartlets might not look scrumptious to you but once you take a bite, you would wish you have baked a dozen more!
    The cherries had retained its juices during the baking and combining it with the soft cake like frangipane filling which is both nutty and creamy, its such a wonderful combination! Not forgetting the flaky and buttery pastry tart crust encasing all these....yum yum!

    Ingredients for Fresh Cherry Frangipane Tarlets: (makes about 10)
    Pastry tart : Please refer to my Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Custard Cream tarts.

    Frangipane filling:
    120g butter, soften
    120g icing sugar, sifted
    1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    2 large eggs
    1 tbsp cake flour
    165g finely ground almond meal
    1 cup of fresh bing cherries, pitted and halved
    Some chopped chocolate (optional)
    1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla together till well combined
    2. Add the first egg and beat well. Then crack the 2nd egg in and continue to beat till mixed in.
    3. Then add in the flour and almond meal into the egg mixture and combine well.
    4. Preheat the oven to 180C and take out the tart pastry that has been pressed into the greased tart tin shells. Please refer to my Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Custard Cream tarts for the steps on making the tart pastry. Note that no pre-baking is needed for the pastry tarts in this recipe.
    5. (Optional but it'll definitely taste better) Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp amount of chopped chocolate at the base of the pastry tarts.
    6. Spoon the frangipane filling into the pastry tarts and fill it about 2/3 full. Then press in 4 cherry halves in to the filling. Repeat till all the tart shells' been filled.
    7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes till the top is golden brown and the tester comes out clean.

    I got really good reviews for this tartlet when I gave some to my sister, parents and in-laws. They were actually asking for more but I couldn't find any more bing cherries in the nearby grocer anymore. :P Looks like the super short "season" is over. :P I was thinking to myself should I freeze some cherries next time but wonder if the taste of the tartlets will be the same. :P Oh well...we'll see. :)

    Okay, gonna keep this short and will post again very soon. ;)
    Have a good day all!