Thursday, May 31, 2012

Best moist orange cake with orange glaze

I really like the thought of oranges in my bakes.. but yet, I've hardly done any, ever.

Well, I've been thinking a lot about baking an orange cake lately, as sweet, delicious oranges are in season again (^^). So I'm finally committing to baking one today.. an orange butter cake. You must be thinking, another butter cake??? Sorry, I have butter cake cravings.. again! (^^||) Please bear with me..

Moist orange butter cake

250g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
zest of 1 orange
230g self raising flour
125ml orange juice
4 egg whites
70g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Beat butter and 100g sugar till light and fluffy (don't overbeat!) Add egg yolks one at a time and beat till well combined. Mix in orange zest.

3. Sift flour, and fold into butter mixture in 3 batches. Mix in orange juice. Batter should be nice and smooth now.

4. Beat egg whites till frothy, and slowly add in 70g sugar. Beat till thick and glossy.

5. Fold in egg whites gently into cake mixture in 2 batches.

6. Bake as cupcakes for 25 minutes, or in a 7 or 8" round/square tin for 40-55 minutes, or till the skewer comes out clean.

I was dreaming and left the cake baking in the oven for 55 minutes. No harm done, just a darker crust/top ^^||, that's all.

Anyways, I decided to add a sugar glaze to make this simple cake a little more interesting.. ermm, actually more to get baby pig's attention.. Kids! They just like it better when it comes with sweet frosting! Okay, some adults too ^^.. Well, I like mine plain, always..

Orange glaze

Juice of 1/2 orange (left over from cake)  
Icing sugar, sifted (I used about 4tbsp, but feel free to add more)

Just whisk sifted icing sugar to orange juice till you get the consistency and sweetness you want. No right or wrong here. Pour over cake.

Oh, did I mention I used Ballantyne unsalted butter today. It's my first time baking a cake with Balllantyne (it was cheap at the supermart ^^). It has an unusually heavy "butter" smell (not in a good way! like "fishy" in fish), which I will not recommend used as a spread on bread. They are however, the owners of Golden Churn, my all time favorite butter for butter cakes (^^).

Anyways, the cake with orange glaze turned out to be truly sublime.. despite my initial reservations with the "butter-y" smell (^^). Beautiful texture, and nicely moist with a wonderful orange aroma and taste!

This is so, so, very, very GOOD!!! With or without glaze (^^)

p.s fatty hubby almost finished a quarter of the cake by himself.. and piggies love this cake glazed. I bet it will taste better tomorrow.. if there's any left!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Deliciously moist hokkaido chiffon cupcake

This is a really, really delicious recipe! I mean it!

And it's so easy.. really! Who would have thought! (^^)

Anyways, the hokkaido cake craze started last year, but I have no interest in a cake that's sold out before noon! And it costs a bomb too! Ok, not a bomb, but pricey enough.. And now that I know how easy it is to make, I really think it's should be priced cheaper ^^!

I finally had my first taste of hokkaido cake two weekends ago. Big and baby pig wanted me to take them to the bakery to get mama pig her mother's day pressie, a hokkaido cake with strawberry filling. Had to wake up early on a saturday morning to do just that. And you know what, hordes of people were there too, buying boxes and boxes of hokkaido cake (?!).  Anyways, the cake came in small paper boxes like a cupcake, filled with a custard filling. The sponge and custard was really light-as-air and melt-in-the-mouth. Nice.

So I thought I'd check out some recipes online and found one I like from not-thekitchensink, who adapted from jessie of hearty bakes.

Hokkaido chiffon cupcake (adapted from not-thekitchensink and jessie of hearty bakes)

4 egg yolks
70g caster sugar (consider using 40-50g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml fresh milk (I used Farmhouse low-fat fresh milk, no prob ^^ )
60ml corn/sunflower oil

135g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder

6 egg whites
50g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Whisk egg yolk with 70g (I'll definitely use less next time) sugar till pale and thick.

3. Add vanilla extract, milk and oil. Mix till well combined.

4. Sift flour and baking powder. Fold into cake batter in two batches.

5. Whisk egg whites till foamy and add 50g sugar bit by bit. Beat till you get soft firm peaks.

6. Gently fold egg whites mixture into cake batter in two batches.

7. Fill cupcake liners till 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

the rise, before the fall..

8. When cupcakes are cool, fill cake with filling (in piping bag with nozzle) by pushing the piping nozzle into the centre of the cake and pipe in filling (you'll feel your cake expanding.. stop when the filling starts to come up to the top). 

all wrinkly and crinkly now

The cupcakes turned out really well. I tried one right out of the oven and thought it was quite well done - a light sponge with a beautiful texture.. however, it probably is not as light(-as-air) as the ones from the bakery. Anyways, I still think this is an achievement, cos I hardly ever get my chiffons right (^^)! It was however a tad sweet, in my opinion.

Though the sponge cake was good, it was not spectacular.. yet. Something was still missing. The custard filling, perhaps? Err.. what do you do with custard powder expired in 2006? On to plan B.. what plan B???

Strawberry cream filling

200ml whipping cream
150 ml strawberry pie filling

1. Whisk cream till stiff. Do not over-whip. I did, and wasted 200ml worth of cream (><)

2. Fold in strawberry pie filling gently. Add however much you like, to your taste ^^

Yes, the mind works in amazing ways.. especially when it comes to making do (^^||). And I remembered an old super easy favorite frosting/filling.. strawberry filling with whipped cream (^^). A frosting/filling that makes everything EXTRAORDINARY!

And voila! An amazingly spectacular deliciously moist melt-in-the-mouth hokkaido chiffon cake! I really mean it! (^^)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pain aux noix.. not!

This is probably my 2nd attempt at making bread involving rye flour. Another disaster!

Today I tried a pain aux noix recipe posted by daily delicious. Her walnut loaf turned out so beautifully.

Alas! Mine just fell flat! (><). I'm sure there's absolutely nothing wrong with her recipe.. it's just me.. again. Err.. did I mention I added apricots and cream cheese cubes to the recipe, and reduced the walnuts?

I'm not sure why I can't form the dough at all.. well, what's new? This seems to be my achilles heel! So I just threw a blob of dough onto the baking paper. Nothing like daily delicious's nicely shaped loaf.. (><||)

Anyways, as flat as my pain aux noix with cream cheese and apricots was, the crust was perfect! The texture however was a goner, taste so-so, everything else so-so.. also so, so far from perfect!

Sadly, the quest for the perfect pain de campagne continues.. (><)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

sunday brunch - baked beans, minced beef and eggs

Finally, the last of the cooked minced beef from the bibimbap dinner, many days ago!

Fatty hubby (little piggies too) likes breakfast, the full  works.. eggs, ham, bacon, sausages, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms.. So I decided to use up the minced beef and cook him a mix-mash of his favorite breakfast!

Here's my take on a healthy all-in-one breakfast/brunch - baked beans, minced beef and eggs. Low in fat and carbs (^^). All you need is just a can of baked beans in tomato sauce, cook it in a pan, mix in the minced beef and add eggs last. No oil or seasoning needed. So easy, right? (^^)

You can eat this on its own, or have it with toast. This can even be a dish for lunch/dinner, served with rice and veggies. Seriously, this is a DISH served in many malaysian family meals. Kids love this!

Yay! I've completed 4 meals with one dish - cooked minced beef. By the way, this was not intentional. I'm really not that clever to have planned this (^^||).. But this has been really fun.

And yes, I re-hash my food ALL THE TIME.. seriously (^^)

Friday, May 18, 2012

One dish, many meals

You didn't think I'd really slave over dinner, did you?

You guessed, right! Tonight's dinner is leftover cooked minced beef from the bibimbap dinner, 2 nights ago.. in spaghetti sauce (ready-made, of course). I feel rather clever about this (^^||).. And fatty hubby is no wiser.. He didn't make the connection with the weird beef sushi too (^^).

And since we needed some veg, and fatty hubby loves soup, I decided to make a simple soup out of spinach and egg. Just add 2 tbsp of soy sauce and some salt to season. And you have a healthy, clear soup ready.

fatty hubby's favorite, spaghetti bolognese 
Believe it or not, I still have a portion of cooked minced beef left.. so watch out for my next "one dish, many meals" creation.. soon (^^)

"leftovers" sushi

What do you do with leftovers?

You make sushi, of course!

This is what I made with the leftovers from my bibimbap dinner last night.. not the best tasting sushi because I didn't use short grain rice. But it was not too bad (^ ^).

Well, can't be helped.. I have only a mix of long grain brown and white rice. I try not to keep short grain japanese / korean rice at home because they are just too delicious - out-of-the-world DELICIOUS!!! I can even eat it PLAIN! And that's bad.. because rice is nothing but carbs! If only I was blessed with "I-can-eat-anything-and-not-put-on-weight" genes! (^ ^||)

Anyways, since I had some julienned cucumbers and carrots, and minced meat left, that went into my sushi. Now, I don't think it's usual to use meat in sushi.. fish and seafood, yes.. meat, I think not (^^||)! But since I have to finish it.. we're good!

Now that I think about it, I could have made bibimbap sushi or onigiri too! That should be nice (^^)

I wish I'm more creative when it comes to important stuff, but my little mind just works best when it comes to cutting corners, baking or cooking! (^^||)

Korean-japanese fusion sushi, anyone???

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cheat's bibimbap

We love bibimbap! (^^)

That's rice topped with vegetables, egg and meat (optional), and special sauce (gochujang), served in a hot stone / earthenware pot. And it's really easy to replicate at home.. plus minus a few ingredients (^^||).. well mostly minus, in my case.. so here's my easy and fun take on bibimbap..  cheat's way (^^)

spicy hot gochujang.. i like!

First, you MUST have gochujang (korean hot chili pepper paste), the main ingredient for making bibimbap. You can easily get gochujang in korean marts as well as some better stocked supermarkets. I have only tried and trust Haechandle (pronounce hae-chan-deul) brand, which contains no MSG. I love that it's piquantly spicy hot, yet a bit sweetish too.

Next, you MUST have rice. Best if you have japanese / korean short grain rice. They are the fluffiest, yummiest staple that god created (^^)! I used a mix of brown and white long grain rice for "healthier" reasons. (^^||)

best quality sesame oil

And more importantly, a good bottle of sesame oil too. It's the make-or-break ingredient for bibimbap!

Then you can start assembling whatever ingredients you can find in the fridge to make your bibimbap.. could be anything.. spinach, cucumber, carrots, bean sprouts, toasted seaweed, sliced cooked shiitake mushrooms, ferns (?!).. whatever is available.. If using greens, do blanch them before using. If using cucumber or carrots, julienne finely. As you can see, I only have cucumber, carrots and seaweed (^^||)..

You are now ready to prepare your bibimbap. Mix all the ingredients, rice, veggies, toasted seaweed, 1 tablespoon of gochujang and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, together. And don't forget the egg (raw, sunny side-up, poached, well done..) now (^^||). I don't recommend using any raw eggs at home, unless you are using a hot stone pot like the ones they use in the restaurants. Season to taste with more gochujang or sesame oil if you like. Mix well, and lunch or dinner is served (^^)!

Oh yes, if you are not too lazy, and want your bibimbap to be AWESOME.. add some cooked minced beef. You can cook your meat any way you like. I stir fried mine with some soy sauce, minced garlic, sliced shallots, diced yellow onions, grated ginger, sesame oil and a pinch of salt (season to taste).

messy mix.. just trying to keep things real (^^||)

So bon apetit! .. serve with a long handle korean spoon, of course! (^^)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A wonderfully moist old-fashioned (?) marble cake

I couldn't resist.. making butter cake.. AGAIN!!! (^^||)

Well, a variation of butter cake, anyway.. a marble (butter) cake. This is my first time marbling.. I think I did ok (^^).

This recipe is from thelittleteochew who found the recipe on pickyin's blog. Their cakes look absolutely divine! Tall and spongy, so my kind of cake.. gorgeous! And I love that the recipe calls for egg separation.. my kind of "FAIL-PROOF" recipe! (^^) However, I didn't quite follow the instructions as per their recipe.. as it was kinda complicated (ok, I'm lazy.. ). So I did it my way, just like I would for my butter cakes. Do check out their wonderful blogs for the actual recipe and beautiful pictures.

Moist old-fashioned marble cake (adapted from thelittleteochew)

8 eggs, separate yolk and whites
9oz / 255g caster sugar (separate about 100g sugar to beat with egg whites) 
12 oz / 340g unsalted butter (I used salted butter, Golden Churn)
9 oz / 255g plain flour (I used 255g self raising flour, so I omitted the baking powder)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 tsp salt (since I used salted butter, I omitted this)
8 tbsp fresh milk (optional, but I added to be sure the cake turns out moist)

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Beat butter and 155g sugar till light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat till well combined. Mix in vanilla extract.

3. Sift flour, and fold into butter mixture in 3 batches. Mix in milk. Batter should be nice and smooth now.

4. Beat egg whites till frothy, and slowly add in 100g sugar. Beat till thick and glossy.

5. Fold in egg whites gently into cake mixture in 2 batches.

6. Scoop out 1/4 of the batter into another bowl. Add sifted cocoa powder and mix well.

7. Pour batters into baking tins, alternating between the two mixtures. Start with the yellow batter and end with the cocoa batter. To create a marble effect, swirl a long skewer into the mixtures.

8. Bake for 40-55 minutes, or till the skewer comes out clean.

Well, the cakes (I baked them in 2 6-inch round tins and 2 small loaf tins) turned out beautifully.. nicely tall with a light, moist spongy texture. Next time I'll bake them in 2 6-inch tins only, for a REALLY TALL cake! And a teeny weeny bit more sugar and milk should do no harm too, I think.

I'm happy with the results still, though I can't be sure if I produced the same kind of cake as the little teochew or pickyin. Guess I'll never know, cos I'm too lazy to find out (^^).

Anyways, I'm happy I got to bake, and fatty hubby is happiest.. he gets his butter cake! A win-win situation for all, don't you think?! (^^)

p.s. cake tasted DIVINE today! it was GOOD, freshly baked yesterday.. but it's perfect now, the next day! perfect sweetness! perfect moistness! perfect texture! perfect taste! there's absolutely no need to add the extra sugar or milk! yay! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Awesome sour cream apple cake

It's good to be back ^^! Well, it's not like I've been away or not been baking at all.. just that I haven't baked anything interesting or new lately.

I'm not sure the reason for my lack of inspiration.. but something finally caught my eye today..  a sour cream coffee cake. No, there's no coffee involved here, just a cake that goes really well with coffee that's all. That's why I dropped the "coffee" part, lest you take it literally like I did (^^||)

As usual, after comparing recipes online, I ended up adapting from the pioneer womaneatlivetravelwrite and one of my favorite bloggers, smitten kitchen, from which the insipiration came from. Do check out their wonderful recipes, but consider reducing the sugar (^^).

Sour cream apple cake (my reduced sugar and fat version)

115g unsalted butter
125g sugar (reduced from original recipe of 1 cup/200g sugar!!!)
2 eggs, separate yolk and whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream (I topped up with 50ml fresh milk as my sour cream tub came in 200ml)
250g self-raising flour
a pinch of salt

Apple topping

50g brown sugar (reduced from original recipe of 1 cup/200g sugar!!!)
50g flour
1 tsp cinnamon (feel free to use a bit more)
1 cup walnuts, chopped (I used just a handful, cos that's all I had ^^)
50g unsalted butter (1 stick = 113g was suggested, but I highly recommend reducing!)
2 cups diced apples (2 apples would be about right)

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Makes about 18 cupcakes or an 8 inch round/square cake or whatever tin you fancy.

2. Cream butter and 75g sugar till light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and mix till well combined. Mix in vanilla extract and sour cream next. Then fold in sifted flour into mixture.

3. Beat egg whites with the rest of the sugar (50g) till stiff. Gently fold this into cake mixture. (I added this step as this produces light, beautiful texture cakes)

4. Prepare apple topping by combining all dry ingredients and diced apples. (If you want a crumble-like topping, make sure you mix flour, cinnamon, butter and sugar together first into crumbs.. then add in walnuts and apples. I didn't, hence the goeey topping ^^)

5. To prepare cake, pour some cake mixture into the baking tin/s, followed by some apple topping mixture. Add the rest of the cake mixture and cover the cake with the apple topping mixture.

6. Bake 25-30 minutes for cupcakes and 55-60 minutes in a cake tin, or when a tester comes out clean.

This turned out to be a truly beautiful bake! The texture was perfect! Nicely light, springy-bouncy and oh-so smooth and moist! Almost like the moist blueberry cream cheese butter cake I made before.

I'm so glad I got the sugars right too. Not too sweet, just nice! I like that I could taste the natural sweetness of the apples. This is so delicious! (^^)

Chubby pig says it's all.. "AWESOME"!