Thursday, September 25, 2014

A cake made with gula melaka and coconut milk.. and butter ^^

I have been craving cakes for about a week plus or so.

Baby pig is not helping as he told me he doesn't want any homey (@ unfrosted, un-fancy ^^||) cakes! Aaaaaarrrggghhhhhhh... oh, how I miss my dumpster, Big!

So what led to this happy ending? A pack of opened, barely used coconut milk, of course! Woo-hoo! I was attempting to cook indian asam curry fish head for the 1st time last night, and the taste wasn't quite right till I added some coconut milk (as advised, but didn't quite want to heed as I don't like coconut milk in my dishes).. so I had a 3/4 pack full of coconut milk which I didn't quite know what to do with.

And then I remembered mel@melspantrykitchen's palm sugar chiffon cake. And I found palm sugar@gula melaka in the fridge.. And the rest, as they say, is history! ^^

Gula melaka and coconut milk butter cake
~ fills an 8" baking tin
250g salted butter
180g gula melaka, grated or chopped
4 egg yolks
1-2 tbsps rum
150ml coconut milk
250g cake flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
4 egg whites
40g sugar

1. Cream butter and gula melaka till light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Don't worry about the gula melaka bits.

2. Add egg yolks one at a time till well combined. Mix in rum.

3. Fold in sifted flours and alternate with coconut milk.

4. In another bowl, whisk egg whites till fluffy, and add in sugar bit by bit. Beat egg whites till it forms stiff peaks.

5. Fold in 1/3 egg egg whites into cake batter and mix well. Fold in the rest of the egg whites gently till well combined.

6. Pour into a greased 8" square baking tin (or any mould you like) and bake in a preheated oven of 170C for about 40-45 minutes, or till skewer comes out clean.

Whoa!!! This is one of the bestest, softest, moistest, perfect textured cake I have ever made! And it tastes amazing even fresh out of the oven! Even the picky, I-don't-want-cake Baby pig thinks it is wonderful! And went, mmmmmm... mmmmmmmm... mmmmmmmmm ^^

This OMG fragrant, nicely sweet cake is perfect eaten on its own. It goes very well with coffee and tea too, but I reckon the pairing would be even better if the cake was a touch sweeter.. since I don't put sugar in my coffee ^^.

Well, I'm really happy with how the cake turned out. This cake is so very enticing due to the gula melaka fragrance, and it's luscious as well, because of the addition of coconut milk making the texture soft-silken and moist. And I know I made the right choice using SALTED butter (my favorite salted butter, of course, Golden Churn ^^), 'cos the cake turned out really well-rounded.

I'm really happy.. oops, I said that already, haven't I? ^^ ^^ ^^

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Hedgehog Factory

Woo-hoo! The Hedgehog Factory is fully operational!

We participated in our 1st event, the home schoolers' sports day on friday! I'm so proud of Baby pig @ the littlest hedgehog @ CEO of The Hedgehog Factory!

We had a good outing. It was an eye-opener, and we gained valuable experience. Though we had a slow start, the outcome was beyond our wildest dreams. I do hope Baby remembers this season! And the learning that came with it! I, for one, will treasure all the time we spent working over the event! ^^

I have also come to realize my Baby is growing up, no longer the baby in my mind ^^. Despite never baking on his own before (only assisting sometimes), he could actually make the popcorn, brownies and choc chip cookies almost all by himself, minimum help from us. Guess, turning 13 this november does mean something. I'm not too sure if I want him growing up this fast!

Well, the loot from the bake-sale has gone into The Hedgehog Factory's coffers for Baby's college fund and his europe road trip with his kor-kor, Big. I really do hope they manage to make the trip together in 4 years time. ^^

A little side-track.. because I'm really shy and all ^^, I don't ever share/brag how very proud I am of all my piggies to my friends (I mustn't get started 'cos I wouldn't know where to stop! haha!). I can only do this here, where I'm incognito and can share some of my deepest and silliest thoughts. So here goes, Baby was placed 1st among 20 edison ttdi students in this year's poetry slam! Woo-hoo! He sure had big shoes to fill (Big was tops too a few years back!), and he worked so hard for it. And boy, was he in a class of his own! Way to go, baby! Kor-kor, Big, may be the poet, but you're the man! ^^

Well, it's been a wonderful kick-start to baby pig's entrepreneur voyage. I'm really, really happy ^^ ^^ ^^

Friday, September 19, 2014

Perfectly cracked gingernut cookies

perfectly cracked cookies! ^^ ^^ ^^

Woo-hoo, I'm back!

Not that I went anywhere ^^ just that my wifi went bonkers, and it's so inconvenient to post anything. Of course, the I'm-so-lazy bit comes into play too, haha.

I'm not a cookie person. But if there's one cookie/biscuit that gets me, it'd probably be gingernut cookies. And I don't even like ginger! Once in a blue, blue moon, I'd suddenly have this crazy urge to have some gingernut cookies. I'd buy a pack, take a bite and meh, that's it. I'd not want anymore. It's really weird.. and I really can't explain the craving. I really don't like it all that much!

So when that blue moon came, there was no way I was going to waste money on a pack of biscuits that I was only going to have a bite. So I googled, and found a most wonderful, wonderful recipe! ^^

Gingernut cookies (recipe from poiresauchocolat)
~ makes 16 cookies
105g flour
1 scant tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp baking soda
1.5 tsps ground ginger
40g brown sugar
50g unsalted butter, cold, diced
1 tbsp + 2 tsp golden syrup

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Sift flours and ground ginger together. Add in the brown sugar till combined.

3. Mix the diced butter into the dry ingredients till it resembles breadcrumbs.

4. Fold the golden syrup into the mixture, by using a knife. And form the mixture into a dough with your hands.

5. Divide the dough into 16 balls and squish them to flatten them a little, and place them on a lined baking tray.

6. Bake for 15 minutes or till cookies turn golden brown and cracked.

I really enjoyed these gingernut cookies shared by poiresauchocolat, so do check out her link! Well, I've already made them twice, and even doubled the recipe, so you can tell how much I love them. They are so crisp and crunchy, gingery good! And they taste exactly like in my blue moon cravings! And a hundred times better than the store-bought "branded" cookies. Absolutely perfect over a cup of coffee, tea or dipped in milk! ^^

And I'm finally cured from the one-bite love-hate relationship with gingernut cookies! ^^

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Petit caramel chocolate surprise ^^

What do you do with leftovers? And boy do I have LOTS of leftover everything from the last bake-out for Big's farewell party!!! 

Well, lucky for me, pook@dailydelicious posted her peanut butter chocolate cups.. and I knew what I could make with my leftover shortcrust dough, toasted almond slices, chocolate ganache filling and caramel filling! Petit caramel chocolate surprise cups, of course! ^^

And the "surprise" could be anything you want to put inside the filling, between the caramel and the chocolate topping.. could be some peanut butter jam, strawberry pieces, toasted nuts, anything that tickles your fancy. ^^ or you could just fill the tart shells with just chocolate and caramel.. but you should know, it does tastes really nicer if there's another layer of flavour in between ^^    

Petit caramel chocolate surprise cups (recipe inspired by daily delicious)

Leftover shortcrust pastry dough
Leftover caramel filling
Leftover chocolate filling
Peanut butter jam, strawberry pieces, or anything you like ^^
Leftover toasted almond slices

1. Put pastry dough into mini tart moulds. Bake at 180C for 15-18 minutes.

2. Place some caramel filling (do not overfill!) into tart shells, and bake for 15 minutes.

3. Remove from oven and place your "surprise" filling, and top with chocolate ganache, and toasted almond slices, if you have/like.

4. Chill for a bit before serving. ^^  

a choc+caramel cup.. the other, can you guess the "surprise" filling? ^^

I love how these petits turned out! Quite quite delicious! mmmmmmm.. ^^

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bon voyage, big!

My Big pig has left.

It's exactly 2 weeks today that he left for college far away in the States. I cried buckets when he left. And I cried every day for almost a week, before my tears finally dried up. I'm good now. And I'm happy he's all settled in nicely and liking the college he picked. And he's making new friends. What exciting times for him! ^^

Anyways, before he left, we had a big farewell party for him. I can tell you, Big pig was a HAPPY boy! Great company, beautiful home/venue by the lake (generously hosted by his aunt Chet) and lots of yummylicious food! What more can a boy ask for, rite! And I think we outdid ourselves with the food! But I'm sure kicking myself for forgetting to charge my camera battery and not taking pics of the mains and desserts.

As always, I volunteered to do the desserts. I made red velvet cuppies, hokkaido chiffon cuppies, apple crumble, peach crumble, banoffee slabs and key lime squares. Big made brownies ^^. I also made mini caramelized onions bacon quiches, mini caramelized onions chicken quiches and of course, macarons, for appetizers, at Big and Baby's request. ^^

my 1st successful macs!

Yup, you heard right. Macarons. The dreaded macarons. Which I've not had any success and had given up on 2 years ago, after 3-4 failed attempts! That one! Aaaaaaaargh! But what to do, my piggies want it.. so I gave it another shot. And finally.. success, at last! But macarons are still "iffy" for me.. sometimes I get them right, but not always! Anyways, I'm soooooo DONE with macarons! No more! Not for a long, long time! ^^  

leftover not-so-nice-looking macs ^^

To my dearest Big, I'm the one who's blessed to have had you to love, and to have you love me back too. So, till you come back in 9 months time.. blinkers on, and kick ass in college! Love you sooooooo sooooooo much! ^^ 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Banana chocolate chip petit cakes

My Chubby piggy loves the combination of banana and chocolate chip. I think it's a winning combo amongst kids.. probably because of the choc chips! ^^

When it comes to banana cakes, I love using Agnes Chang's recipe.. of course, with a few tweaks here and there ^^. Her recipes are easy to follow and pretty fail-proof for amateur bakers like me, and they're yummy too.

Banana cake (adapted from Agnes Chang's I Can Bake book)
~ makes an 8-inch cake, or 14 cupcakes and a small loaf cake
227g unsalted butter
170g sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of mashed bananas
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
240g cake or plain flour, sifted
1 scant tsp baking powder, sifted
1 scant tsp baking soda, sifted
150g chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 170C.

2. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on an electric mixer.

3. Add eggs one at a time till well mixed, on low speed.

4. Fold in mashed bananas.

5. Sift flours together and mix into the cake batter alternating with milk in 2 or 3 batches. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips.

6. Pour into lined cupcake tins or greased cake tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes for cupcakes, and about 50 minutes for a whole cake.

When I first started baking cakes, there's always a 50-50 chance they turned out dense and kuih-like ^^||. That's when I tried all methods, and re-discovered the egg separation method (a method favored by my aunt who fanned my taste for such cakes).. and also the use of self-raising flour.

Recipes using flour, baking powder and baking soda, stumped and eluded me. So I resorted to replacing them with self-raising flour. Of course by now, after many misses and trials, I know what I did wrong.. AND now, I SIFT my FLOUR/S TOGETHER for at least 3 times!!! Yup, so simple, right??! Also so simple for lazy people like me to miss and skip, haha!

This is the outcome of the direct, easy method of mixing in eggs. Texture is as beautiful, soft and moist as the eggs separation method. A minor, almost unnoticeable difference is that this cake has a slightly sandy-crumbs look. And though both are soft, the egg separation method gives a slightly spongey, wee QQ@boing-boing effect. Seriously, most people can't tell the difference.. not even my piggies who have been fed cakes using eggs separation method. Only the nit-picky.. like me, haha! ^^

Well, it has been good babysitting Chubby. We managed to cook instant noodles, fried rice and french toast together. I'm so proud of my Chubby, he made french toast for his parents after learning it. I think he's a natural ^^

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Abso-licious apple pie!

My piggies' all time favorite treat ~ revisited! ^^

Can't believe it's been 2 years since I last made apple pie! Well, that's 'cos big and baby pig's mom makes the best apple pie.. so I steer clear of this bake. But since chubby pig is visiting and he doesn't get apple pie very much, I decided to make some for him. ^^

I've always wanted to make a latticed top crust, but I've never gotten it right ^^ll.. this time I used a ruler to make the strips after getting the idea from a baking show on tv. And success at last! Er, I know it's not exatly pretty and it's far from perfect, but at least, I'm half way there!  ^^

I used the same easy peasy apple pie recipe from martha stewart and smitten kitchen for the crust and used fuji apples for the filling because of its crunch. I don't care for green apples as I prefer a naturally sweetish pie which we usually eat as it is, sans vanilla ice cream most times! ^^

Well, there's nothing like having freshly baked, warm apple pie! Chubby was in seventh-heaven! He loves the flaky buttery crust and the gorgeous simple filling! ^^ "This is the best apple pie I've had!".. so chubby said. Er, well, he's not had that many to compare with, of course, haha! ^^

Now if the ultimate apple pie connoisseurs (big and baby), say it is.. then you'd better believe it! They have after all, been fed only the best apple pies! And they love this apple pie!

Poor fatty hubby.. there was none left for him. And boy, was he miffed. Sorry fatty, I'll make sure to make more next time! ^^