Thursday 28 February 2008

Going Green

For the past whole week, I have been thinking of nothing but baking something with my matcha or green tea powder. The choices are either a green tea with red beans loaf, or a green tea with red beans muffins...on certain days the thought of making a green tea Swiss roll seems just right. It was only this morning that I finally get down to make a green tea chiffon cake.

I didn't manage to get a 'proper' green tea chiffon cake recipe anywhere...neither from books nor the internet. Somehow, most of the recipes I could locate where not really meant for my small 16cm (6") chiffon pan. In the end, I had to fall back on the same recipe that I used to make my first chiffon cake.

As I was 'home alone' for a couple of hours this afternoon, I had some fun playing around with the chiffon cake after it was cooled off. I took numerous shots of the cake from all sort of angles...

this is one of my favourites among the lot. It is not a fantastic picture, but somehow I just like the way the image turned out.

Thanks to my very thin bladed knife, I was able to unmold the cake without too much damage done on the sides.

This closed-up reminds me of nothing...but, pork floss (^p^)

Just like my previous attempts, there were many holes and tunnels in the final product :( Not sure what went wrong, but it would likely be due to the folding of the egg whites to the yolk batter??

Instead of the usual green tea and red beans combo, I replaced the red beans with some dark chocolate chips.

Even though I used a tablespoon of green tea powder, the taste of green tea was not as prominent as I would expect. Nonetheless, I find the green tea and chocolate chips combination rather 'delightful'...a very interesting blend of flavours.

Matcha Chiffon Cake with Chocolate Chips

Ingredients(make one 16cm cake)
1 tablespoon green tea powder
30ml milk
2 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
20ml vegetable oil
40g self-raising flour

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
50g caster sugar

some dark chocolate chips

  1. Sieve flour and green tea powder together, set aside.
  2. Separate egg yolks/whites and bring to room temperature.
  3. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until sugar just dissolved. Add in milk and oil. Whisk till combined. Sieve over the flour and green tea powder mixture and fold gently with a spatula until flour mixture is fully incorporated into the batter.
  4. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until mixture becomes frothy and foamy. Add in the sugar in 3 separate additions while beating at high speed till just before stiff peaks form*(after note: after several attempts at baking chiffon cakes, I learned that the whites should be beaten until just before stiff peaks form).
  5. Add the egg white foam into the egg yolk batter in 3 separate additions, each time folding gently with a spatula until just blended.
  6. Pour 1/3 of the batter into a 16cm (6 inch) tube pan (do not grease the pan). Sprinkle chocolate chips over the batter. Pour the remaining half of the batter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pour the rest of the batter into the pan. Spread the batter evenly.
  7. Bake in pre-heated oven at 170 degC for 25 ~ 30mins or until the cake surface turns golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and invert the pan immediately. Let cool completely before unmould.

Thursday 21 February 2008

It's MeMe time!

I have recently been two fellow bloggers: Mrs B of Mrs Bs Baking and Bridget over at bake at 350, thank you!! :)

Here are the MeMe rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

I spent quite a fair bit of time trying to come up with 5 interesting facts about myself...I almost wanted to give up as I am really quite a boring person, yawn...zzzZZZZ

I guess most of my readers have the same common interesting in baking, so I would like to share with you things that are related to baking, blogging and photography:

  1. I own a small 'desk-top' size Tefal oven. It's only big enough to put in a tray not bigger than 12 by 10 inches! Due to the limited space in my kitchen, I have to keep it in the kitchen cabinet after each use.
  2. I am using a bread maker which is considered cheap and economical...the brand is Bluesky, and it cost only S$69.90...a cheap deal as compared to other brands which are in the range of a few hundreds. So far it has really served it's basic purpose.
  3. We live in a flat that has got 3 bedrooms and 1 study room...and the 4 of us occupy only 1 bedroom! I take most of my recent photos in one of my empty bedrooms!! It is the best or let's just put it as, the only, spot that I could get fair amount of natural light.
  4. I use a Canon Powershot G3 (4 mega pixel)to take all the photos I have posted here. So far, I could only manage to set the camera to the auto-mode, turn on the macro function, turn off the flash and shoot away.
  5. I use a free software, Picasa 2, to crop, adjust the contrast and sharpness of my photos. It's quite an idiot proof software...excellent for people like me ;)
Now I will like to tag the following 5 fellow bloggers:

1. Aimei at Baking Cottage
2. Ovenhaven at Epicurean Escapism
3. Mandy at Fresh from the Oven
4. My Home Kitchen
5. Cocoa at Maskan Istimewa

and here's a tart that I will like to share with all of you out there...thank you for taking the time to visit my humble blog. I truly enjoy reading all your comments and feedback :)

I shall name this the Triple Almond Tart...

here's a closer look...the tart was made with ground almond or almond powder (which means the same thing) for both the pastry base and the fillings...the top was then sprinkled generously with almond slices. I adapted the same recipe as the Peach Tart. As usual, I used a 18cm disposable foil tart pan, since I have only a normal 16cm tart a result I wasn't able to make nice scallop effect on the rim :(

the sides was ok though...thanks to the foil tart pans that I got from Phoon Huat...that has got the side scallop on the pan...I do noticed that those available in supermarkets come in straight edges/sides only.

Here's sending you a 'virtual' slice of the me, this is really good stuff! Enjoy ;p

(make one 18cm tart)

40g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
30g caster sugar
1 tablespoon (15g) lightly beaten egg
80g flour
20g ground almond

60g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
50g brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g ground almond
10g flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the original recipe calls for 2 tbs of rum)
50g almond slices (as toppings), lightly toasted

  1. Lightly grease an 18cm tart pan, set aside.
  2. Toast ground almond (do it for both the pastry base and filling) at 100 degC for 10mins. Stirring in between. Let cool.

  3. Pastry base:
  4. Sieve flour and ground almond together, set aside. If the ground almond is too coarse for the sieve, don't worry, just dump it with the rest of the sieved mixture.
  5. With a manual whisk, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  6. Add in the egg gradually, whisk the batter till well mixed each time the egg is added.
  7. Add the flour/ground almond mixture in 2 to 3 additions into the batter. Fold with a spatula.
  8. Form and shape the pastry into a round disc. Roll out the pastry in between 2 sheets of cling wrap or baking paper or two sheets of cut-out plastic bags, to about 23cm in diameter.
  9. Remove one side of the cling wrap or baking paper. Place the rolled out pastry over the prepared tart pan. Mould the pastry into the tart pan, smoothing the edges and the rim carefully...if the pastry is too soft to handle, chill it in the fridge for 10~15 mins.
  10. Chill the moulded pastry in the fridge for 20mins.
  11. Remove from fridge, use a fork to poke some holes on the pastry. Brush the top of the rim with egg wash. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 degC for 10~12mins until the edges are slightly browned. Let cool completely before adding the filling.

  12. filling:
  13. With a manual whisk, cream butter and brown sugar till the mixture turns fluffy. Add in the egg gradually, mix well each time the egg is added.
  14. Add in ground almond. Fold with a spatula till well incorporated. Sieve over the flour onto the mixture. Mix with the spatula. Add in vanilla extract and mix well.
  15. Spread the filling onto the cooled pastry base. Ensure the edges are all filled up. Sprinkle the surface with almond slices.
  16. Bake in pre-heated oven at 170 degC for 30~35mins, until the filling and almond slices turn golden brown. To prevent the almond slices from overly browned, bake the tart at a lower rack position for the first half of the baking time, then shift it up to the middle rack position...alternatively, you may cover it with foil halfway between baking.
Recipe Source: Delicious!! Baked Cakes, Ikuko Omori

    Saturday 16 February 2008

    Coffee Yoghurt Cashew Nuts Cake

    I was very glad that I finally got myself to bake this Coffee Yoghurt Cashew Nuts Cake yesterday. I have been staying away from this interesting recipe as it requires 200g of butter in total, 50g for the crumbles and 150g for the cake batter! To me, to use up almost a whole block of butter for a 20cm (8") cake is way too much. I decided to give it a go only after I convinced myself that I shall not eat more than 2 slices of the cake, and the rest will be shared with my other family members ;)

    The original recipe uses walnuts for the crumbles, but out of convenience, I substituted it with roasted cashew nuts...which happened to be among one of the many Chinese New Year goodies I have on my kitchen counter.

    The crumbles were made with a mixture of ingredients such as crushed digestive biscuits, chopped cashew nuts, instant coffee powder, brown sugar and butter. Don't you find that the combination of these ingredients sounds very promising...I was quite certain that it would taste really crunchy, nutty and very flavourful. It was not an easy task to break the cashew nuts into pieces by hand and I didn't like the idea of chopping, so I engaged my younger boy to help me 'hammered' the nuts using a small rolling pin!

    It was quite simple and straight forward to prepare the cake batter. Although I would advise that an electric mixer be used instead of a manual whisk as illustrated in the cookbook which the recipe was took me quite a fair bit of arm power to mix the batter. Besides the usual butter, sugar, eggs and flour, yoghurt is also included in this recipe. The cake batter was then sandwiched between 3 layers of crumbles. The consistency of the batter was rather thick and firm as compared to the usual thin, runny batter that I have since accustomed. I believe the batter has to be thick so as to hold the layers of crumbles.

    Even though it was not specifically stated in the cookbook, I thought it would be good to use a springform pan or one of those removable bottom pans to bake this cake, as the crumbles would fall off if the cake were to be inverted?? However, to date, I have yet to acquire any of these pans, so I made myself an improvised one. I first covered a normal cake pan with a large sheet of foil, then lined it as usual with a layer of parchment paper, both for the sides and the bottom. (It was also not written anywhere in the cookbook that the cake pan has to be greased or lined?!) When the cake was done, I simply lifted up the foil to release the cake from the pan...remove the foil before sliding it onto the cooling rack. The parchment paper was then removed when the cake cooled off slightly...I noticed that the cake firmed up a little after it had cooled off completely.

    The extra time and effort to get this cake done really paid off. The cake tasted very delicious! The crumbles was indeed very flavourful. It went very well with the soft and moist cake layer. I was pleasantly surprised by the smooth and fine texture of the cake crumbs. Judging on the consistency of the cake batter, I was expecting something more 'muffin-like' - fluffy and airy. On the contrary, it tasted almost like a cheesecake, rather velvety and almost melt away in your mouth! My husband treated himself to one slice once he caught sight of the cake...and I was really pleased when he nodded with much approval. I shared the cake with my other family members and it was also very well received. I am certain this cake will be a crowd pleaser, great as dessert for any dinner parties. This recipe is certainly a keeper!


    for the crumbles:
    100g digestive biscuits (crushed)
    50g walnuts, lightly roasted and chopped coarsely (I used cashew nuts)
    50g light brown sugar
    5g instant coffee powder
    2.5g cinnamom powder (I omitted this)
    50g butter, cold

    for the cake layer:
    150g butter, soften at room temperature
    100g caster sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten (about 100g)
    half teaspoon vanilla extract
    a pinch of salt
    200g cake flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    150g plain yoghurt


    1. Mix crushed digestive biscuits, light brown sugar, chopped walnuts (or cashew nuts), cinnamon powder, instant coffee powder in a mixing bowl. With finger tips, rub in the cold butter until the mixture becomes crumbly. Set aside.
    2. Sift cake flour and baking powder, set aside.
    3. With a manual whisk (or an electric mixer), beat butter with sugar until the batter becomes pale, creamy and fluffy.
    4. Mix in vanilla extract, salt and mix well.
    5. Add in the eggs gradually, mix well each time the eggs is added.
    6. With a spatula, stir in the cake flour/baking powder mixture. Stir until the flour mixture is fully incorporated into the batter. The batter at this stage will be quite thick and firm.
    7. Add in yoghurt in a few separate additions, stir well each time the yoghurt is added. The batter will become smooth and 'spreadable'.
    8. Line the bottom of a 20cm (8") springform pan or a loose bottom pan with 1/3 of the crumbles. Spread evenly and press firmly with the back of a spoon.
    9. Add in half of the cake batter, spread evenly with the spatula. Sprinkle the top of the cake batter evenly with 1/3 of the crumbles. Add in the remaining cake batter, spread evenly. Sprinkle with the rest of the remaining crumbles.
    10. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170deg for 35-40 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
    11. Remove cake from oven, let cool slightly and unmold. Allow to cool completely before slicing/serving.
    12. The cake can be left in room temperature or left to chill in the fridge. If allowed to chill, let the cake returns to room temperature before serving.

      Recipe source: adapted from 曾美子的黃金比例蛋糕

    Thursday 7 February 2008

    Happy Chinese New Year

    Today is the first day of the lunar new year, I like to wish all Chinese readers a Prosperous Lunar New Year!


    As I didn't manage to bake much CNY cookies, to make up for the lack of photos, I have posted my elder boy's 春联 or couple he wrote during class.


    Sunday 3 February 2008

    Cranberry, Orange & Chocolate Chips Muffins

    Since the beginning of the year, with the new set of daily routines, I am finding it more and more difficult to spend time on baking or blogging :(

    It was with some luck that I managed to squeeze in some time last week to bake a batch of muffins. I adapted the recipe for the raisins & chocolate chips muffins and turned it into these Cranberry Orange & Chocolate chips muffins. A great way to use up those little packs of dried cranberries or craisins that I have bought several weeks ago.

    The muffins were baked almost to a perfection...what I mean is, that my oven took the same recommended time to get the muffins all beautifully browned. With the help of a oven thermometer, I had let the oven preheated slightly above the required by the time the muffins were in the oven, the temperature dropped to the desired level at 180degC.

    I liked the way the muffins were all cracked nicely on top...and they tasted fabulous...very fluffy and moist...despite the fact that there's no yoghurt or buttermilk used in this recipe. The craisins and orange combo went every well together too. The only thing that I can find fault with these muffins is that they were a little on the sweet side for me...all due to the white chocolate chips that I have used! Next time I will either cut down on the sugar, or used dark chocolate chips instead.

    (makes 8 muffins)

    60g unsalted butter, melted
    zest of 1 orange
    250g plain flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup chocolate chips (white or dark)
    1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    125ml milk
    50ml orange juice
    125g granulated sugar (original recipe calls for 150g sugar)


    1. Pre-heat oven to 180degC (350 degF).

    2. Melt butter in a saucepan, over low heat, set aside to cool.

    3. Sieve together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl.

    4. Add chocolate chips, craisins, orange zest and mix with a spatula. Make a well in the centre.

    5. Place egg, melted butter, milk, orange juice and sugar in another bowl. Mix (with a manual whisk) until thoroughly combined. (To cut down on washing up, I mixed these ingredients into the saucepan which I used to melt the butter).

    6. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour. With the spatula, gently fold all the ingredients to form a wet batter. Just mix until the flour are incorporate into the batter. DO NOT Over mix. The batter will appear lumpy.

    7. Spoon batter into paper muffin cups. Bake for 15~20mins until muffins turn golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

    8. Let cool on a wire rack.
    Recipe source: adapted from Bread baking by hand or bread machine, by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno