Saturday, October 30, 2010

Over the roof, Roof Top Cake

Halloween is just around the corner! Seems all exciting, but because of the busy schedule and exam that went on in the past week, I just couldn't churn out anything more. Considering all the Halloween fun and baking I had last year with my friends, this year was sure a quiet one. Sure miss my buddies back in KL...*sigh*. :P Now I can only look forward to seeing them in the coming trip that I have planned for months. *fingers crossed* Looking on the bright side, middle of this week I still manage to bake something fun which I have been wanting to try for a long time. :)) What is it? It's a Roof Top Cake! As you can see, I didn't do a neat job on this. :P So bare with me on this not so "stable" roof, lol!
It's actually a simple chocolate chiffon recipe with basic whipped cream and chocolate ganache. It is the "building" of this roof a little tricky. :P And unfortunately I didn't manage to take good pictures, hopefully I can still walk you through this clearly. :P

Recipe for Chocolate Roof Top Cake:
Ingredients for egg yolk mixture:
4 egg yolks
50g melted quality dark chocolate
70ml fresh milk
80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
20g unsweetened cocoa powder
60g cake flour
70g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
90g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder

Egg White Mixture:
5 egg white
1/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar
90g sugar

Note that I will not to posting the steps for the chocolate chiffon cake. Please refer to my previous chiffon recipes for more details. The main difference is I used a 10 inches by 14 inches baking tray instead of a chiffon tube pan to bake the cake. Bake at 170C for 12 minutes.

  1. Once the chocolate cake sheet has fully cooled down, carefully measure the length of the longer side and divide the cake in ratio of 6:5:4:3. Mine was 32 cm, so I cut the cake into 12cm, 10 cm, 8 cm and 6cm.
  2. Place the widest sheet at the bottom and frost it with your favorite cream filling, I used simple whipped cream. Then top with the next wider sheet and frost again. Repeat this till the last sheet of cake is placed on top. Refer to picture 2.
  3. Cut the cake stack in to 2 equal halves as seen in picture 3. Then gently flip the cut side down for both halves and move them so that the taller ends are places facing each other.
  4. Ice whipped cream between the 2 halves before merging them together as seen in Picture 4. Using a good serrated knife, trim off the sides of the slope so that it's not "jaggered" but a neat slope down on both sides. Enjoy munching off the trimmings, lol!
  5. Frost the sides of the roof with more cream. See picture 5.
  6. Pour chocolate ganache over the roof so that it covers it with an even coat. See picture 6.
*Phew!* I am not so good in writing such detail steps, so please pardon me, lol! Hope I have made it clear enough for those that are interested to try this cake out. :P
Fact: I love this cake, it contains everything I crave! Soft dark chocolate cake and rich chocolaty ganache with creamy whipped cream....super duper yum! A big mouthful and let it slowly melt away in your mouth. :)

I think one of my main mistake is the consistency of my ganache. The ratio of chocolate vs heavy cream was not correct and thus it was slightly harder. So when I slice the cake, the ganache was a wee bit hard to cut and it cracked in some areas. *haiz!* O well, we learn as we go right? ;)

As promised, hope this cake is slightly more interesting then my previous post and "entice" you to take up this mini challenge to make a chocolate roof cake yourself as well. :) most importantly, have fun doing it! I feel like I am "playing" half the time, lol!

Exams are over (almost I think), I bet there are numerous plans you have up your sleeves to spend with your kids. I know I have. ;)) Have a great and fun weekend all!! Oh...and Happy Scary Halloween! Heehee!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ham with Egg Mayo Buns & Strawberry Chiffon Cake

Besides the fun birthday cakes that I bake for my family, I find that my bakes are getting kind of "old story" lately. :P I wonder if it's just me or it happens to many old time bloggers out there. Does it come to a point where you ran out of ideas what to bake next. And posting another typical cake/bread recipe seems not too attractive now. I would wonder to myself "Why would my readers want to see another repeated recipe?" Perhaps the expectations has risen as time goes on...not sure is it myself or the readers have the same feelings too? Do you get this feeling too? Perhaps I need to do some blog hopping to get some inspirations and fresh new ideas. Anyway, hope my readers at the time being, won't feel too bored with yet another bread and chiffon post of mine today, lol! I promise I will bake up sometime interesting in my next post (fingers crossed)... so stay tune! For now, let's be a little less "adventurous" and check out my Ham-Egg Buns. :))
Lately I have been baking some breads for my hubby to either eat for breakfast for a quick snack during work. And this Ham-Egg bun is just one of the variation I came up with. You can twig the recipe and change it to Egg-cheese, tuna-mayo, tuna-cheese, tomato cheese get the idea.

This bread recipe is the potato bread dough I used awhile back.It's soft and delicious, a trusty recipe that I always turn to.
The creamy egg mayo and the savory salty ham combo is very yummy, do try it when you run out of ideas what kind of filling to put in your buns. ;) To the chopped up 2 hard boil eggs, I added 1/2 tsp of sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and 3 tbsp mayo. Mix well and place in the slice ham and place in the flatten dough disc, seal up nicely. Anyway, let me know how you like it if you try this out. :)
The next bake is fresh Strawberry Chiffon Cake. This is something that I have been wanting to try for a long time. :) Some how I just put it off till a couple weeks back which I have some fresh strawberries left and decided to go for it.
Ingredients for Strawberry Chiffon Cake (20 to 23 cm diameter):
Egg Yolk Mixture:
4 egg yolks
115ml of fresh strawberry puree
85 ml corn oil
80 g sugar

75g Cake flour

75g plain flour
3 g salt

1 tsp baking Powder

1/2 tsp strawberry essence (optional)

Egg White Mixture:

5 egg white
1/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar

90g sugar


  • 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.
Oops, there are quite a number of air pockets in my cake. ;P But the texture was still very soft and fluffy, a delightful treat. When I cut a slice for my DD, she said "Mummy, is it strawberry pillow cake?" I replied "How did you know?" DD said "I can smell it! And it's very soft when I squeeze it!" and she immediately proceed to give it a big bite. ;))) Since strawberry is my DD's favorite flavor, it's natural she adores this cake. :)
Although the color is not as Okay guys, it's already very "early" and I have better sign off now before I start typing Zzzzzzzz...., lol! Hope you all will try out these 2 recipes and enjoy it with your love ones. Happy baking all!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Charcoal Buns with Mochi & Black sugar

After the hectic week of birthday cake baking, life is back to normal for me again. :P I am glad that I get a little more free time now and able to bake something a little more interesting. :)) In case you all are wondering what am I referring to here, it's just something that has been on my to bake list for awhile now. It's baking charcoal bread again. I remembered the time I made my first charcoal loaf, it kind of created a "stir". Some readers were quite amazed with the addition of edible charcoal in breads and were eager to try it out on their own. It was uncommon then (more then a year ago), but I believe it's not so anymore. Now I see so many charcoal products selling in bakery stores and bloggers posting charcoal bakes. So this week, I decided to bake something original, something a friend told me to copyright it, lol! It's Charcoal Buns with Mochi and Black sugar.
I know....such a huge contrast from my previous post isn't it, lol! Looking from afar , I bet some people would think it's just a pile of black rocks or charcoal! LOL! I seriously don't know how to beautify it further, like adding toasted sesames on top etc, I just went ahead and leave it as is...plain black.

I have used the similar recipe as the previous Matcha buns with Mochi & red bean paste recipe. So instead of using Matcha powder, I used the same amount of edible charcoal powder this time round. And besides that, I replace the red bean paste with raw black sugar that was given to me from my sister. She recently went to Taiwan for business trip and bought me a couple of interesting baking ingredients to try, very sweet of her. ;) And this black sugar was one of it. Apparently people in Taiwan eat it as it is as a snack....sweet!The taste of the sugar is very deep and rich, close to molasses. And the special thing is it's a unrefined sugar, so it still contains potassium, iron, calcium and other minerals. I made the mochi less sweet and so encasing the black sugar plus the soft charcoal bun was just perfect. :)

You can see the black sugar in the muchi is partially melted. In fact this black sugar melts much easily then gula melaka. If you pop one morsel in your mouth, it will melt rapidly and leaves a slight "cooling" effect in the confectioner's sugar. (not sure if I mislead the idea, lol!):) I believe you can try finding this black sugar in major Japanese grocery stores, they should carry a couple brands. Good luck finding it! Else chopped gula melaka might be a good substitute.

Anyway, interested bakers can head over to my Matcha buns with Mochi & Red bean paste recipe for reference. The possibility to different bun flavors and fillings are endless! Hope you guys will give it a try. :)

Have an advance nice weekend ahead guys! Cheerio!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A gift from mummy (Part II)

As I have mentioned in my previous post A gift from mummy (Part I) , I did make a separate birthday cake for my dear daughter just for her birthday celebration with the family. Just like my elder child's birthday, we usually will celebrate the kids' birthday together with the extended family. So I had to come up with the cake fast since I only have 1.5 days to complete it before the event. *Stress* My daughter has gone to and fro with the theme of the cake which didn't help a bit! First she wants Dora, then she says Princess Aura and then Tinker Bell. I had to do some research online to show her a few pictures to convince her what she really wants. After much thought, she finally decided with one and so I made this for her....
Comparing with her last year's Snow White Birthday cake, it was just as "laborious", lol! Not because it was more work, but because I was not as experienced with fondant. With the Snow White cake, I did chocolate icing to cover the cake, but with this Tinker Bell Cake, I used fondant...a lot more "dangerous" if you ask me, lol! Luckily I managed to cover the cake nicely and no visible air pockets trapped inside. ;D Yippeee!! You should check out my first fondant covered cake....quite bad, lol! So experience and luck play a major part here....but if you attended the "W..." course, they will definitely show you how. I didn't attend any class, so all these you see any mistakes or imperfections....close one eye okay? Lol!
One of the "exciting" part about this birthday celebration was to actually move this whole cake to my MIL's house! If you have watch Food Network Channel, they always have this Food Challenge where famous bakers will come to bake beautiful, mostly tall and multi tiered as well. At the end of the challenge the bakers will have to cautiously move their master piece from their work table to the presentation table. Everyone would be holding their breadth every time they do it...fearing that the lovely piece of edible art will topple and gone to waste. Quite fun to watch....but when it was my turn to do something like this, it ain't fun I tell you! Although the trip was only 10 minutes, I was all stressed out, lol!
Thank goodness, I managed to transport the cake to my MIL's place without much "damage" to it. Perhaps the Tinker Bell topper was a little "shaken up" with a few minor cracks, but the rest is all well...I think. :P You can see Tinker is slanting to the left...*sigh* Good thing it didn't topple before the party was over. ;)) I guess my mistake was not adding enough stabilizer so that my topper is hard enough...well I learn something every time. :)Here is a shot of the cut up cake (yes! we cut it up!) You can see there's 4 layers of chocolate sponge cake, sandwiched with chocolate whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries. I have adapted the Chocolate Sponge Cake recipe from Kitchen Corner, a fool-proof recipe I must say, thanks Grace! All along there is this "myth" that we have to use butter cake for a fondant cake...but I am glad that I proved it otherwise. ;) This sponge cake was able to hold my fondant up really well and it was much softer, lighter and with the chocolate whipped cream, it was delicious! I am glad I took the risk else I will never know. ;)A slice just for me...yum! I love the slight tang from the fresh strawberries and the dark chocolate (I used Valrohna..again) cream and cake, a perfect combination. ;) If you wonder why I always use chocolate cake all the time..that's because my whole family are chocoholic! Lol! So it's purely a request from my daughter....and yes the strawberries too. :P
I will leave you with this last shot of the whole not cut up version of the cake....a nicer view I guess. :) Overall I was really happy with this cake and my family enjoyed the cake too, especially my little girl. I am so glad I only have to do this a few times a! Hope you all enjoyed viewing the cake or perhaps a little motivated to try out fondant? Either way, hope everything went well. ;)

P.S.: There is something wrong with the Blogger image upload, I can't upload larger versions of my photos! Anyway, will try loading them again tomorrow. ;)

Have a good week all!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A gift from mummy (Part I)

If you have been wondering why have I not been updating my blog lately...well I have a really good reason for that. It's my younger daughter's birthday and I have been really busy, planning, baking and decorating the cakes for her. And because of my daily duties, to work with these extra jobs on hand, really requires planning. But I was really glad I managed to pull it off and everything went and as planned. *Phew! Big relief!!* And if you are wondering why is post title names Part I, that's because I made cupcakes for her class celebration and another actual birthday cake for home celebration. Without further ado, here is are the cupcakes!
It's been such a long time since I made fondant cupcakes. The last time I did it was way back last year for my elder child's graduation party in school. :) So making these cupcakes was like a refreshing course for me. ;D Even though it took me two days to complete these, I really enjoyed the whole process. ;) It's almost like getting to play with my old favorite toy again, heehee. :)

I did quite a bit of research before I started working on this. I even sat down and watched an episode of the cartoon with my girl! Lol! I really liked it by the way. ;) If you have not seen Pororo before, check out their website to find out more. ;)
I shan't go into too much detail as to introduce the characters to you. Actually I cannot remember some of their names already. But when I brought the cupcakes in to my girl's class the other day, her classmates were going like "Pororo!! That's Eddy, that's Loopy" etc get the idea. All the kids were really thrilled getting a cupcake and I was glad they enjoyed eating it too! ;D I used my yogurt vanilla cupcake recipe adapted from the Blueberry Yogurt Muffin recipe. I followed the recipe exactly except for the yogurt, I used plain low fat yogurt instead of blueberry ones. It turned out really nice, not as dense as the usual butter cake.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed viewing the pictures.I know I have enjoyed making them very much, lol! Do stay tune for my next post for my girl's birthday cake. :)) Hope I can find sometime to post it up soon though. You all have a good day! Cheers!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Passion Fruit Sour Cream Cake

Another week is almost over now and again it was very busy one for me. Nowadays I have to plan my time properly in order to have some time off for myself. Not complaining here, I do find some kind of satisfaction at the end of the day seeing everything is done and in order. Take today for example, after chauffeuring my kids to school, I went ahead to do my grocery. I then I come home to cook Spaghetti for my kids' lunch. Before I know it, it was time for me to pick my kids back from school. Back home, I then proceed to make Mango Sago with Pamelo desert so that I can bring to my mum's tomorrow. I then made steam yam kueh for my family's breakfast tomorrow. (At the same time I was doing revision with my girl) Immediately after, I start to prep for dinner. After a couple of hours of boiling and sauteing, dinner was ready by 5pm. Not wasting anytime, I quickly wash and clean up the house, i.e. vacuum and mop up the whole house. *Phew*

I am no super woman, so I wonder how long I can put up with such hectic workload I put myself through. Frankly speaking, doing all these cooking and washing is all a matter of choice but I do enjoy it to some degree if you ask me, lol! Nevertheless I still have to occasionally remind myself to take a breather before I "collapse" someday, lol! *kidding* But now comfortably seating in front of my laptop, and typing out my thoughts is actually such a comfort for me. Nice....

My post today is yet another simple cake that anyone can make at home. Passion Fruit Sour Cream Cake. YUM! Another passion fruit recipe...well because my mother is such a fan of passion fruit, I decided to make another cake with it for her. I actually made this over the weekend since I was gonna meet my parents for lunch.

Love the golden color, doesn't it just cheer you up a little? Made it into 2 small loaves but should be able to fill a 10 cup bundt cake pan. This recipe is actually adapted from my previous passion fruit recipe. ;)

Ingredients for Passion Fruit Sour Cream Cake:
300g plain flour
225g caster sugar
tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda
220g unsalted butter, room temperature
4 eggs

100g low fat sour cream
70ml fresh milk
Juice of 4 passion fruits
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.

If you have used passion fruit before, you know the smell will perfume your whole house once the bake is one.
The cake turned out nice and buttery soft plus it's very fragrant. It's so simple to whip up, you just need a little over 1hr to get it done. :) A great gift to family and friends with out too much hassle. Not forgetting to make more and enjoy it yourself of course. A good slice and all you need is a cup of your favorite warm beverage to go with it.....mmmm, pure enjoyment. :) My parents enjoyed this cake very much. Note that I have reduce the sugar quite a bit, so feel free to add more to suit your taste.
A shot of the tender golden crumbs. Hope I have moved you to try this recipe out. Be quick about it since the passion fruit season is almost over. But most importantly, have fun baking it!! Cheerio! Have an early happy weekend!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Teochew Peach-Shaped Dumplings (Puen Kueh / Peng Kueh)

Is it just me or is the year swooshing by real fast? It's already the start of October now and soon enough we will be talking about Christmas and New Year! And since this is the final exam month, parents and kids will be pretty busy. I guess as a parent, we usually try our best to physically or mentally support our kids to skid though these tough weeks. Whether you seat down and do revision with them or just giving them encouragement all the way, I am sure they will appreciate it. One of the things I like to do during this time is to make more comfort food, it delights the kids and fills the tummy too. So I finally get to work on this family favorite kueh. It's Puen Kueh, traditionally a Teochew kueh that is usually shaped like a peach and colored in pink. It's usually stuffed with glutinous rice, dried shrimp, mushrooms and boiled peanuts, yum!
I am sure many of you have seen and also eaten this kueh before. It's very fragrant and the chewy texture from the skin and glutinous rice is very satisfying. ;) Believe it or not, I actually plan to make this kueh for a good 3 months and finally got the chance to make it last week. ;) From finding the perfect recipe to getting the mould and ingredients, then finally the time to make it! So you can imagine how happy I am when I finally bite into one of these babies, lol!

Recipe Adapted from "Delightful Snacks & Dim Sum' by Agnes Chang
Ingredients for Puen Kueh (makes 22-25):

Ingredients for filling
550 g glutinous rice, soaked overnight and drained

3 tbsp fried shallot oil
1 tsp chicken powder

8 shallots, peeled and chopped
100 g dried prawns, soaked, drained and roughly chopped

8-10 dried mushrooms, soaked, drained and diced

70g peanuts, soaked and boiled with a touch of salt or used canned ones is fine

2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for Skin
550 g rice flour
120 g tapioca flour
1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

760 ml boiling water

3 tbsp fried shallot oil or cooking oil

1/4 tsp of red food colouring gel

Method For Filling:
  • Prepare the steamer over medium fire. Then steam the pre soaked glutinous rice with a knotted pandan leaf (optional). Steam for a good 40-45 mins. Note that I added about 100 ml of water into the rice to steam together. And continue to drizzle 25 ml water over the rice every 10 minutes. This ensures the rice to cook more evenly. Make sure you give it a taste test before stopping the fire.
  • Now we prepare the other ingredients for the filling. In a wok, add 3 tbsp cooking oil over medium low fire. Add in chopped shallots, cook till slightly brown and aromatic. Add mushrooms and roughly chopped dried shrimp. When the whole mixture is aromatic, add in the steamed rice and seasoning. Give it a good toss to make sure everything is well combined.
  • Lastly add in the peanuts. I add them last because I didn't want them squished when tossing. 
  • Once everything is uniformly mixed in. Set the filling aside and prepare your kueh skin.
Method for Dough Skin
  • I usually use the stand mixer to do the kueh dough mixing. As there is usually boiling water involve and needs to be rapidly combined, the mixer will do a better job then a spatular or hand. It's too hot!
  • So in a large mixing bowl, add in both flours, sugar and salt, give it a quick mix to combine. Then get ready your boiling water while the mixing blade is still turning at its lowest speed. Ever so carefully drizzle in the hot water in while the mixer is on, don't pour all at a go! The dough will slowly come together. Once all the hot water has been added, add in the 3 tbsp of oil and the food colouring. Continue to mix till the dough becomes one inform pink shade. You might need to scoop the dough around to get it to mix well since it is kind of sticky. But don't worry, it will be less sticky when it cools down a little.
  • Cover the skin dough with a moist towel and proceed to set up your wrapping area. You will need extra oil to grease the mould and the steaming plate where you place the kuehs. Have your steamer ready on medium low while you are wrapping.
  • I can't really give you the amount of dough skin you need to wrap one kueh, as I myself got it through trial and error. You can start off using 50-60g, gradually add or remove as you need. 
  • Flatten the dough skin to 1/4cm thickness. then spoon about 2 tbsp of glutinous rice filling in the middle. Carefully wrap up and seal any openings. Place it in the greased puen kueh mould and press gently to let it take the mould's shape. Knock on the edge to release the kueh out. Repeat till all the skin or filling is used up.
  • Steam the kuehs for 10-15 minutes. You are essentially steaming to cook the skin only since the filling was already pre-cooked. Repeat till all the kuehs are steamed. Brush a little cooking oil or shallot oil on the surface of the steamed kueh to prevent it from sticking.
I have been using this old school mould for years. It only costed me $2? It's not a fancy mould but it has been doing it's job well. 

The result was quite satisfactory. :) The texture of the skin was just right and the flavour of filling was good too.When it was freshly steamed, my kids and I happily enjoyed a couple of them together, just plain with no sweet sauce or chili. Yup, it's that good ok, haha.

I tinted the skin dough to pink so as to take on the traditional Peng kueh look.  If you opt not to add any food colouring, be prepared to have white puen kueh!

I have made this recipe for countless times and passed it to many of my friends and family to try. Most of them have enjoyed it very much. It's an old school treat that will always bring back fond memories of childhood! I am glad I am creating it for my kids now. :)

2 days after I made these Puen Kueh, I cut the remaining pieces and fried them up. All crispy and golden....super yum! ;D As expected, my kids love this more then the steam version....including my hubby of course. Even when we buy these peng kueh from stalls outside, we usually pan fried them till  all crunchy on the outside before eating them. Yes its better fried....most of the time. :P 

Guess I will have to be making this again pretty soon. Thanks for reading!