Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chocolate layer bread

Is it just me or is time passing faster. Seems like nowadays there are a lot more things to do and always not enough time, well, I am very sure you have that feeling sometimes. Even if you have the week all well planned out, it will just whisk right by. Maybe age is really catching up on me. *sigh*
So instead of letting today to be mundane, I decided to make it extra special for myself. I told my husband and girls I love them very much this morning before sending them off. I went for a swim this morning. Bake a new chocolate bread recipe. Make arrangements with my girlfriends to meet up in mid week for our usual baking fun. Painted my toe nails (haven't done that for ages!). Made my favorite chicken curry for dinner tonight. And lastly of course is to share and blog my recipe....don't you know sharing is caring. ;)

What another chocolate bread, so boring! Heehee, sorry, but I have been wanting to make this bread for awhile now....so couldn't resist anymore. :P It's actually quite different from the other chocolate bread that I've blogged, so please bare with me. ;)

I have made both buns and a small loaf with the amount of dough. And if you see carefully, there are in fact 3
different layers of dough, plain, chocolate and chocolate paste. Together they create magic in my mouth, haha!
So here is my Chocolate layer bread recipe:
Ingredients for Chocolate layer bread:
Bread dough :
250g bread flour
40g cake flour
10g coca powder
5g instant dry yeast
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
8g milk powder (about 2 tsp)
55ml heavy whipping cream
80ml fresh milk
1 tsp baking powder
30g unsalted butter, room tmp

  • In a large mixing bowl, except butter & cocoa powder, mix all ingredients together to form a soft dough.
  • Knead the dough till it is not sticky and add the butter. Continue to knead. To test if dough is ready, stretch a small piece using the finger tips of both your hands. If you can pull the dough to almost see through texture without breaking it, it's probably done.
  • Divide the dough into half. Mixing cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of water to form a chocolate paste. Add chocolate paste to one of the dough portion and knead till it's uniform in color.
  • Place both the dough pieces in separate oiled bowls, cover with plastic wrap and let proof for at least 80 minutes.
Chocolate paste:
15g cake flour
8g cornflour
16g cocoa powder
30g melted chocolate
65g caster sugar
8g agar-agar powder (jelly powder)

50ml water
1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 egg white
25g unsalted butter

  • Except for butter, mix all ingredients in a heat proof bowl and stir well till all incorporated.
  • Microwave mixture for 1 minute and stir well again. Add butter and mix well.
  • Let paste cool on plate and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1hr before use.

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter the 6 cup muffin tin and small loaf tin (7" by 3"").
  • Punch out the air in the bread doughs. Roll out both dough into 30 cm by 30cm flat square.
  • Stack the chocolate dough on top of plain dough or other way, which ever your preference is. Roll out chocolate paste, so it's 13cm by 30 cm.
  • Place chocolate paste on one side of the bread dough as shown below:
  • Flip and cover up the chocolate paste with the bread doughs and seal the edges. Roll it out to 20cm by 40 cm. Then fold it like a letter form, and roll it out till it's about 30 by 30 cm. Cut in to half , so each piece is 15cn by 30 cm.
  • One of the pieces, seal the edges making sure the chocolate paste is conceal inside. Roll it our further to 30 by 20cm. From the short side, roll it up like a swiss roll form and seal the edges when done. Place in the loaf tin and let proof for another 60 minutes.
  • The other half of dough, cut it up into 6 equal portions and roll it with the palm of your hands to make it slightly round. Place each piece in the muffin tin and let proof for 60 mins.
  • After proofing, brush top with egg wash and bake for 20 -25 mins for buns & 30 to 35mins for loaf. Remove bread from mold once it's out of the oven.
The bread is super soft and the chocolate paste is just sweet enough to eat the bread on it's own. Looking at the swirl in the bread can be quite mesmerizing....look deep into it...yes...deeper...and its telling you something. "Make me today....., make me and you won't regret it. And when you do, you'll never buy those pre-sliced sandwich bread in a soft plastic bag from some factory bakery that specializes in long shelf lives again". Hahaha! Enjoy my friends!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bingka Ubi (Baked Tapioca Kuih) revisited

It has been really rainy lately, plus a few sky "shattering" loud thunderstorms. But you know, I like rainy days (can do with out the thunder though). In some way, to me, rainy days gives me a cooling and lazy feeling....something I welcome whenever I'm at home. In fact, an excellent escape in a lazy weekend afternoon with my favorite cup of tea. Watching the rain fall and listening to the constant sound of rain drop....quite mesmerizing. Sorry but I ain't a sunshine girl, I actually shy away from the sun....whenever I go out, sunblock and sunglasses is a must!
But fortunately this morning, there was no rain, so I got to play a game of tennis with my husband. As usual, we had breakfast and then off to the wet market.
Lucky for me, I found
some quality tapioca selling there. I figured it'll be great to bake Bingka Ubi today, one of my favorite nonya kuih. The texture of the tapioca I bought was smooth and very little water was released when I grated it. These tapioca will yield a softer texture on the kuihs, not at all hard and grainy.

This is not the first time I blog about Bingka Ubi. However this time round I was couragous enough to try out a new recipe I came up myself. *fingers crossed*
Ingredients for Bingka Ubi / Baked Tapioca Kuih:
750g finely grated tapioca
60g gula melaka
60g caster sugar
1 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cornflour
200ml of fresh coconut milk

  • Peel and finely grate the tapioca. If there is water after grating, collect it and let stand for 10 minutes. Collect the starch at the bottom and add in to the grated tapioca.
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C. Butter an 8 inch square pan. (Mine's an oval pan)
  • In a small saucepan, add coconut milk, both sugars, salt, cornflour and the lightly beaten egg. Stir to mix and start the heat at medium. Stir constantly till everything comes together and the sugar has melted. Remove from heat
  • Add the egg mixture to the grated tapioca and mix well till all blended.
  • Pour the mixture into prepared baking pan and drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and spread evenly till it coat the top layer.
  • Bake in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes or till tester comes out clean. Another way of checking is your whole kitchen will be filled with the yummy scent of baked tapioca.
The kuih was very yummy. It's not hard at all, just slightly firm and not hard or too chewy. The sweetness is just right for me and my husband, perfecto!. ;) Looks like I got my recipe!
One thing I realize after baking Bingka Ubi a few times now is that after overnight refrigeration, the kuih becomes more firm (so it's okay if it's a little soft right after baking) and slightly sweeter. So good with a cup of Chinese tea.....enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Honey Bee Rich Chocolate cake

Have been craving for a slice of rich chocolate cake for awhile now. Yes, those with the works, pretty icing on top and all so soft cake inside. ;) Did not want to buy from the nearby bakery store because I have either tried them or the cake is way too BIG to be finished . Anyway, I was due to meet up with my girlfriends to do a cake fondant decoration today, so I thought what better excuse then this for me to bake a chocolate cake to be used for the deco! Yoohoo!

So the night before I have happily baked this rich chocolate butter cake and this morning I woke up extra early (6.30am) to make the chocolate buttercream (you need buttercream to let the fondant to adhere to the cake). But little did I know (lazy me did not turn on my cellphone until 8.30am) that the friend that was suppose to teach us the fondant deco could not make it! *tripe sigh!* So we have to postpone the event....so what do I do with the cake & buttercream? I just did my own deco then...without the fondant though. :)

I search through my pantry and was surprised to find a pack of marzipan! (Sorry, that's me sometimes, buy and forget) With that I came up with a plan on how to decorate the cake....and Vola! I ice the cake as per normal with chocolate buttercream and pipe the flowers and leaves with normal butter cream. And lastly I used the marzipan tinted with yellow and black to mold the bumble bees on top. BTW, can you guess which bee is made by my 5yr old daughter? Not too shabby ai?

The chocolate butter cake is really good by the way, it's chocolaty and buttery taste, very satisfying. And guess what, no egg yolks, pretty healthy huh! Well....that's if you think butter is not too bad, haha. You can most definitely bake the cake and eat on its own.

Ingredients for Chocolate butter cake (for 6" cake):
90g unsalted butter, room temperature
150g caster sugar
75g cake flour
50g unsweetened coca powder
1/2 tbsp baking powder
100ml fresh milk
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and 100g sugar together.
  • Sieve the flour, coca powder, salt and baking powder into the butter mixture. Mix well.
  • Add milk and vanilla extract and stir till well blended.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line a 6 inch round cake pan with parchment paper and butter again.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk egg white till foamy, add reminding sugar and whisk till shiny and almost stiff peak.
  • Gently fold in the egg white to the flour mixture till just incorporated.
  • Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes for till tester comes out clean.
I have opt to use half of the chocolate buttercream recipe that I used in my Christmas log cake. Even though it's a lot more work involved then the basic buttercream, the texture is smooth, not grainy where you might taste the sugar, a much better choice. Furthermore, it's also a lot easier to spread on the cake if I do say so myself.

As for the garden decorations on top of the cake, I have use basic buttercream, basically 100g of butter at room temperature and 100g of powdered sugar (sieved) and mix well to become thick paste.
Overall I had a lot of fun decorating the cake, but wish I can get my hands on fondant the next time (with my girlfriends). Fingers crossed...let's hope next week we can do it. ;)

If you see closely, you'll notice I have added chocolate chips in the middle layer of icing for the cake...extra texture and yes, more chocolate, haha! ;D And if you wonder did this cake did it for me....yes, right at the sweet spot, heehee. Anyone out there craving for chocolate?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yogurt Polo Bread Loaf

Time to try out another new bread recipe from my new favorite cookbook, 孟老师的100道面包. There's like 100 of them recipes, so you all will keep seeing many bread posts from me , 'cos I wanna try them all! Hahaha. Anyway, this time I decided to work on this Yogurt Polo Bread loaf. The crusty sweet top is really quite alluring, can't wait to taste it!
Actually wanted to try something more different, but my girls have been asking for white bread these 2 days....so I figured this plain yogurt loaf with polo top is plain but not too plain. :)

And yes, I finally got my smaller bread loaf tin...didn't want my loaf to turn out all flat like a ciabatta again! But I have to admit this recipe looks simple, but getting the polo pastry on top of the proofed bread is kind of tricky! And it kind of deflated the bread a little when I did that. :-P *sigh* So please bare with me if the bread loaf still look a little flat. :-P
Overall the bread texture is soft. But because the polo crust top is sweet, so the bread is pretty plain on it's own. The next time I make this, I would opt to make the bread slightly more sweet. But again this is definitely better then good old plain Gardiner. :)

Ingredients for Yogurt Polo Bread Loaf:
Set A:
250g bread flour
35g caster sugar
tsp salt
80g plain yogurt
3g instant yeast
80g of water
Set B:
20g unsalted butter, room temperature
Polo Pastry:
40g unsalted butter, room temperature
30g powdered sugar
15g lightly beaten egg
55g cake flour
10g milk powder

  • In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients in Set A and mix well till it comes together to form a soft dough.
  • Knead the dough till it is not sticky and add the butter in Set B and continue to knead. To test if dough is ready, stretch a small piece using the finger tips of both your hands. If you can pull the dough to almost see through texture without breaking it, it's probably done.
  • Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let proof for at least 80 minutes.
  • To make the polo pastry, in a bowl, add all the ingredients in and mix well till it forms a uniform thick paste. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before use.
  • Punch out the air in the proofed dough. Divide the dough into 3 and roll into logs. Plait the dough and place in to loaf tin to proof till it fills 90% of the tin.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Using two plastic wrap, roll out the polo pastry into a rectangle shape, enough to cover the top of the loaf surface.
  • Very gently, lower the polo pastry on top of the proofed bread and brush the surface with egg wash.
  • Bake in the oven for 30minutes and remove from tin immediately after the bread is done.
  • Cool completely before slicing.
A close look at the bread. Will be good with your favorite spread.
Me and my girls already ate 2 slices with Nutella after I cut it...pretty nice. :) My girls love the polo pastry alot, because it's sweet and crumbly like a cookie. :) I wonder if I can make a cookie recipe out of that, haha. ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Let me see, how long have I not make chiffon cake now?? Hmm.....probably a good 3 years up to now! I remember when I was in California, I used to whip up a Pandan chiffon cake like once every other week! Some how it did not come across my mind to make chiffon cake once I come back to Asia, reason being it's selling in many places here and it's cheap! But browsing through all those really great recipes from fellow blogger, apparently there's so many flavors out there, chocolate, blueberry, banana and even rose chiffon cake! Cool!

In order to get my "groove" back in baking a chiffon cake, I decided to start off by making my usual...Pandan Chiffon cake. :) That should not be too hard I think. :) *finger's crossed*Instead of using my usual recipe, I used the one from Yochana's Cake Delight. She's such a pro, by using her recipe, I was pretty confident that my cake will turn out okay.
Hey, hold up here...how come my chiffon cake did not have that brown crusting sides?! I was kind of disappointed when I unmold the cake...it did not look as nice as what the other blogger baked! Why?! *sigh* Perhaps my oven temperature is a bit low? Or perhaps my tube cake pan is not a good one? I guess I will have to try a higher temperature the next time to be sure. :-P But at least it did not flop...:-P
Overall the taste of the cake is really good, soft and fluffy, nice! My girls seems to like it a lot, my younger daughter ate 2 slices after I cut the cake! Already one third of the cake has been devoured....yippee!
Will perhaps do a bit more research on chiffon cakes baking before plunging into making one the next time round...looks like it's no easy peasy stuff for sure. ;) Might attempt to make plain vanilla or chocolate chiffon cake next time. :)

Anyway, do drop me a comment or two or even give me some pointers if you know where I might have done wrong?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chocolate chip Swirl Bread

Heehee, I'm really loving this bread making obsession of mine! Nothing describes the tiny leaps of joy whenever I see the dough rising up all pretty and nice. And the aroma....yes the smell of fresh baked bread....it's so good, I can literally be lost in sweet thought just smelling it, haha. While waiting for the bread, I always have a mix feeling of curiosity and anticipation on how the bread will turn out. But best of all, tasting the prize at the end, biting into that all so soft yummy bread.....I tell you, total satisfaction! Wonder if other home bakers are as indulging as I am, haha!

This time I have opt to make a chocolate bread recipe from 孟老师的100道面包. This recipe happen to be quite popular among the other fellow blogger, Chocolate chip Swirl bread. Of course the other reason for me to make this is pretty obvious, my girls and I love chocolate. ;) My little girl has specifically pointed out this one from the recipe book!
But if you have notice, my loaf is kind of "flat", not so squarish like the usual loaf bread...reason being my loaf tin is bigger and longer then the required size. Have been wanting to buy a shorter tin but did not get the chance to go down to the bakery supply store. :-P But in terms of taste and texture, this bread has nothing short coming, if you know what I mean. :) I can proudly say on behalf of the bread "I'm ugly but I'm yummy", haha!
I did make some slight changes to the recipe. I added 10g more butter to dough at the final kneading stage. I also added slightly more chocolate chips to the dough, to make it even more chocolaty! You know you can never have enough chocolate, haha.
The taste is really good, soft and fluffy. The overall sweetness depends on the kind of chocolate chips you add in. If you use milk chocolate chips, it will be sweeter of course. I used semisweet, so it was not overly sweet but still good to eat on it's own. :)

As for the shape of this bread, I will either double my recipe next time...so it'll look more squarish or get my butt down to the bakery supply store to buy the smaller loaf tin, haha. For recipe, please click link. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Passion Fruit Yogurt Pound Cake

Have you tasted Passion Fruit before? If you have, I'm sure you know it's really sour to eat on its own. But it has this really great aroma that it's quite unique. I remembered the first time I tasted passion fruit was in Hawaii, like 6 years ago. It did not give me a deep impression at all, such little juice and so tart in taste. It's just that it has this strong fragrant and aromatic scent.

My husband and I happened to see passion fruits on sale in the wet market a couple weeks back. We bought half a dozen back home, trying to recapture the taste experience we had before. As expected, our face went all shrivel up from the sourness of the fruit, haha! And so I thought why not make use of this wonderful aroma from this unique fruit and make it into a desert that everyone can enjoy.
Note that passion fruit need to be ripe before you can use it, meaning it's exterior is all wrinkle like a prune, then you are sure the fruit is good to go. ;) I let mine seat for almost 2 weeks before it was fully ripen.
And so, I went through my pantry and decided to make a passion fruit yogurt pound cake.

Ingredients for Passion Fruit Yogurt Pound Cake:
150g plain flour
160g caster sugar
½tsp baking powder
110g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs

70g of plain yogurt
Juice of 4 passion fruits (about 4 tbsp)
pinch of salt

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line a loaf tin with parchment paper and butter it again. (I used a 7" by 3.5" loaf tin )
  • In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time till well mixed in.
  • Add in yogurt and stir till incorporated. Then add in the passion fruit juice and mix well.
  • Add in flour, baking powder and salt and stir till just blend in.
  • Pour the cake batter into the loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 mins or till the cake tester comes out clean.
  • Cool on rack before slicing.
When the cake was almost done, the nice aroma that filled the whole house was "intoxicating," so nice!
The cake turned out very soft and light, not dense like the usual pound cake. It's sweet but not overly sweet and a hint of citrus from the passion fruit at the back. Overall I can say I'm very satisfied with this cake recipe. Might even try it with other citrus fruit next time, like lemon or grapefruit. If you worry there is a pungent scent or sourness from the fruit, it's not at all....my daughter has taste tested it and she loves it!

A close look at the cake, you can see the "fine grain"...not thick and dense. I think the taste will mellow out tomorrow, so the passion fruit scent might be even stronger and better! So good with a cup of tea...yum-O! Try it and let me know what you think. ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pizza & Dressed up Peanut Butter Cookies

School's out! Its school's 1 week break now and I get to spend lots of time with my 2 sweeties at home. We did lot's of fun stuff together, playing teatime, going swimming and even painting toe nails etc. And since it was rainy today, I figured we do something fun at home instead. So instead of the usual noodles and rice for lunch, I suggested making their favorite pizza (Hawaiian) together and they both jumped for joy! My kids love pizza...I'm sure yours too. I guess besides that, my girls know that they can get their hands on the dough and have some fun!

I know, why take the trouble to make pizza?! Why not just call and delivery?! Well, somehow I feel homemade pizza is a healthier choice, you get the choose the better ingredients...you never know what extra topping they put in your delivered pizza?! *just kidding, haha!*

We did some kneading together, but this new dough recipe I used is harder to knead and my girls just gave up and watch me do it, haha. But they did help me with the toppings. :) This recipe is pretty basic, just the kneading part needs more work:

Ingredients for Pizza Dough:
100g Bread flour
100g cake flour
10g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2g Instant yeast (about 1/2 tsp)
110ml water

  • Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate till everything comes together into a dough.
  • Knead the dough till it's surface is smooth.
  • Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let proof for at least 60 mins.
For recipe for the tomato sauce and topping, please refer to my previous Hawaiian pizza post.
One of the main difference in making this pizza is that I actually stuffed some mozzarella cheese on the edge of the dough and roll in to make the wall around it. See picture below:
The stuffed cheese gives extra texture and flavor, really yummy! Think I'm gonna stuff cheese in my pizza dough edge from now on. ;)
So what's for desert? Well, my girls have been asking me why I have not baked any cookies for them lately. Ooops.. heehee. So today I decided to make some peanut butter cookies for them. Then I thought it'll be really fun for them to help me "dress up" the cookies. We decorated the cookies in 2 ways, one of them is as below:

Actually I got inspired by Bakerella's Perfectly Peanut Cookie recipe, but I thought I modified it to suit my family taste:

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Cookie:
1 cup of smooth peanut butter
60g of plain flour
50g of unsalted butter, room temperature
115g caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
75g semisweet chocolate melted
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
1/4 cup chocolate rice
1/4 cup multi-colored candy rice
1/2 cup M&Ms

  • Cream the butter and sugar together. When it's well mixed, add egg and stir till incorporated.
  • Add peanut butter and stir well till everything is blend in. Add flour and salt and continue to mix till it come together.
  • Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Take dough out and divide into 20 to 22 balls. Half of the cookies for M&Ms and the other half for dipping in chocolate.
  • For dipping in chocolate ones, use a fork to press the cookies both vertically and horizontally to make a criss-cross pattern.
  • Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 minutes till the edges turn golden brown.
  • Cool the cookies on rack before decorating them.
  • Dip one 1/3 of the cookie in chocolate and then into either chocolate rice / multi-colored rice / ground peanut.
  • Place on wax paper and refrigerate till the chocolate set.
  • For the other set of cookies for M&M, just press the M&Ms into the cookie dough and press slightly to make a flat disc.
  • Bake at 180°C for 15 to 18 minutes till edges are golden brown.
These cookies has a crunch and rich buttery & peanut taste, but not too sweet, so it goes well with the chocolate and M&Ms. A must try for peanut butter lovers!
I had lots of fun with my girls today baking all these goodies. I'm sure they enjoy eating them as much as I making and eating them too. ;)