Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chocolate Muffin


I was craving for a high domed muffin, you know, like those from Chocolate 'N Spice. I googled and found some bloggers tried to recreate the high domed and cake-like muffin. Then, I saw the photo of a somewhat familiar looking muffin on Joy of Baking and decided to use her recipe.

Some baking experts said that the temperature of the oven is the key to a high domed muffin. Setting the oven temperature at 200 degC seems to be the trick. Joy of Baking uses 190 degC, which is pretty close to 200 degC. Of course if the muffins are baked at 200 degC, they will be overbaked/burnt if you bake them for the same period of time. That requires some adjustments based on your oven at home. I didn't want to take the risk of a burnt muffin, so I preheat the oven at 200 degC, then lowered it to 190 degC at the start of the baking. I lowered it further to 180 degC after 10 mins, but had to bake it 10-15 mins longer than the 20 mins per the original recipe. More experiments will be required before I can figured out what is the secret formula for my oven :p The muffin is done once an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean (a few crumbs is ok).

Here's the recipe I used, please refer to Joy of Baking for the original recipe and method/video.

Ingredients
Makes 12 5cm-diameter paper muffin cups

113g unsalted butter, melted
130g top flour
100g organic wholemeal flour (I ran out of plain flour :p)
60g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
110g dark brown sugar + dry demerara sugar (original recipe uses 265g light brown sugar)
3 medium eggs (original recipe uses 2 large eggs)
240g low-fat milk including 1 tbsp vinegar (original recipe uses buttermilk)
few drops of vanilla paste (original recipe uses 2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
100g chocolate chips (original recipe uses 170g)

This recipe produces a soft, cake-like muffin although it uses the dry- and wet-ingredients method.

my notes:
- butter can be melted using bain marie
- to substitute for buttermilk, pour 1 tbsp of vinegar in a cup, add milk to 240g
- batter is thick
- stop folding once no trace of dry ingredients is seen
- drastic reduction in sugar results in a muffin that is not very sweet, but just nice for my palate
- chocolate muffins/cakes usually taste more flavorful the next day

Simple recipe, simple pleasure in life :)

I'm not able to take a good photo of the muffin as the color is very dark :D

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Matcha Chiffon Cake II



After my last "slanted" matcha chiffon cake, I had been thinking of attempting it again. As Chinese saying goes, 哪里跌倒,哪里爬起来 - literally translates to "get up from the same place you fell". Doing that should help me rebuild my confidence in chiffon cake baking :p

This time, I attempted HHB's Matcha Chiffon Cake recipe. This recipe is similar to Nami's recipe. Actually, I guess most chiffon cakes recipes are very similar. Thanks to HHB for sharing this recipe. I realized the tube pan I have is actually 16cm. Sotong me measured the bottom of the pan, which is 12.5cm. My sis bought the same pan from Phoon Huat and told me that it is a 16cm. That was how I realized :D It is difficult to find a recipe for this small pan size. For this recipe, which is for 17cm tube pan, I filled up my 16cm pan plus 2 5cm-diameter muffin cups.

The eggs I bought appeared to be smaller than usual (Seng Choon 1st Born Eggs), so I "boldly" reduced the oil to 35g :p Sticking to a chiffon cake recipe is the key to its success, that's why I said "boldly" :p Interestingly, I saw another matcha chiffon cake recipe on cookpad, which uses no oil! But I was not brave enough to try that recipe. Maybe next time. I also replaced some flour with rice flour, and the cake turned out soft :D

Please refer to HHB's blog for the original recipe.

Ingredients
- 80g castor sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 3 egg yolks
- 30g rice flour
- 50g top flour
- 10g matcha powder
- 35g canola oil
- 60g water



  1. Set oven to 180 degC. Using a handheld mixer, beat egg whites until white and foamy. Add about 2/3 of the sugar into the whites and continue beating until almost stiff peak.
  2. Beat egg yolk and remaining sugar until batter is pale. Add oil gradually at the same time continue beating. Add water and mix well. Sift flour and matcha into the mixture. Fold with a whisk (I find it easier to fold with a whisk) until batter appears smooth.
  3. Add 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk batter. Fold with a spatula, from bottom up.
  4. Add rest of egg whites in 2 batches. Fold until batter is well mixed and smooth. Bang the mixing bowl onto the table top several times to release air trapped inside batter. Pour batter into tube pan.
  5. Bake for 30mins in preheated oven.
  6. Once baking is done, remove from oven and invert cake on an inverted mug. Leave it to cool completely before unmoulding.
my notes: 
- Oven temperature is very important in chiffon cake baking. Always preheat the oven before starting work. Use an oven thermometer.
- Always add oil and water to egg yolk + sugar mixture, before adding flour.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Simple Birthday Cake


I baked a simple birthday cake for my sister last week. The first birthday cake I baked was for my eldest sister too, and it was my first attempt at Strawberry Shortcake. That was 2 years ago and it looks like my frosting skill has not improved at all. The lack of practice in frosting is the main reason.

There was no strawberries nor was there any Rocher at home, but fortunately there was a packet of Kong Guan "gem" biscuits at home and they came in handy for the cake decoration. For Singaporeans who are around my age, this gem biscuit brings back some fond childhood memories. This biscuit was a favorite snack when I was a child. The cake looks kind of funny but colorful :D My sisters and nieces all had a smile when they saw this cake.

As always, sponge cake and chiffon cake are my greatest challenge - I am never confident until the cake is done baking and cooling. I had wanted to follow the recipe from Cook.Bake.Love because the name of the recipe "[Easy to Succeed] Basic Sponge Cake" boosted my confidence :) But Murphy's law was at play again - I broke the second egg yolk and some yolk went into the mixing bowl with egg whites. The recipe was supposed to be a chiffon cake method. Since I didn't want to waste the eggs, I immediately transformed it to a whole-egg sponge cake recipe :p Fortunately, the cake turns out fine, although I did wonder if it was supposed to be taller than what it was.

Here's the recipe I used. Please refer to Cook.Bake.Love for the original recipe and method.

Ingredients
Makes one 8-inch round cake

- 4 medium eggs
- 90g castor sugar
- 40g melted butter
- 106g top flour
- 1 drop vanilla paste



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Matcha Chiffon Cake


This morning I baked a Matcha Chiffon Cake using Nami's recipe. Many thanks to Nami for sharing the recipe :)

My cake slid off the tube pan when I inverted it, thus you can see that the cake is a bit slanted :D I read from All That Matters that it could be due to several reasons. As I looked back to the process, I suddenly recalled that there was a major hiccup during the process: I should have added in oil and water before adding flour + baking powder + matcha. Instead, I got the order wrong and did the reverse! That could be the reason why the cake slid off the pan :p Nevertheless, the cake is moist and tasty.

Here's the list of ingredients I used based on what I had. Please refer to Nami's blog for the original recipe.

Ingredients
For one 12.5cm diameter tube pan (Updated: bottom of pan measured 12.5cm; top of pan is 16cm)

- 3 eggs, separate (the egg I used is between 40g and 50g)
- 75g top flour
- 3tbsp canola oil
- 4tbsp water
- 10g matcha powder
- 85g dry demerara sugar
- 2/3tsp double-acting baking powder

Please go to Nami's blog for the detailed method and video :)



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kabocha Squash Chiffon Cake (Rice Flour)


When it comes to baking, I can't procrastinate for too long, because I may never do it. Maybe it's the same when I faced other issues in life :D Been wanting to challenge chiffon cake or sponge cake again, but never gathered enough courage. Every chiffon cake baking is stressful for me - check the oven temperature, make sure all ingredients are measured correctly before I start work, separate the eggs carefully and ensure all bowls are clean and dry, etc etc. There are a lot of planning and preparations to be done. Unlike baking muffins, where little preparation is required.

I googled around for new recipes to try. Noticed that some recipes do not use milk, not sure why? In the end, I went back to the previous recipe I used, which is from Happy Flour. I replaced the thick coconut milk with low-fat fresh milk. This recipe is meant for a 20cm tube pan, but I only own a 12.5cm tube pan :p So I poured 2/3 of batter into this, and grabbed the nearest pan I could reached, which resulted in a funny looking cake, see photo at the end of this post for a laugh :D

And guess what? I used up the plain flour yesterday, which is an opportunity for me to try baking with rice flour :) Ever since I saw teacher Carol's gluten-free chiffon cupcake, I have been wanting to try it. So this cake is gluten-free, I guess? :)

Oh no, the cake did not shrink - I poured the leftover batter into my paper chiffon cake mould which was too big!

The look of this cake tickles me, it is so funny looking :D But surprisingly this tastes soft and spongy too.