Monday, May 19, 2014

Kabocha Squash Chocolate Chips Muffins

Under the muffins is a cute glass table top from my friend - it's a nice background for photos too! :)

These lovely Kabocha Squash Muffins are made using the same Organic Japanese Pumpkin bought from NTUC the other day. The small and cute pumpkin actually yielded a lot of mashed pumpkin. After giving some to my mom, I could still manage to pack 3 packets of 100g each, and kept them in the freezer for later use.

Last Saturday, I met two ex-colleagues for dim sum. I wanted to bake them something and the mashed pumpkin came in handy for me to prepare some pumpkin muffins quickly. Thanks to the Halloween Pumpkin Muffin recipe from Cooking with Dog. To me, muffins is easier to prepare as compared to other bakes, as it needs no special equipment. You just need a whisk (or fork) and a big mixing bowl.

(makes 6-7 5cm diameter muffins cups)

50g Unsalted Butter 无盐牛油, soften
80g Sugar 糖 *I used light muscovador sugar  unrefined dry demerara sugar

A pinch of Salt 少许盐 *Omitted as I used salted butter
1 Beaten Egg 蛋, lightly beaten
100g Kabocha Squash - Japanese pumpkin 南瓜
40g Roasted Walnuts (1.4 oz) 核桃  *I replaced with chocolate chips instead

120g Cake Flour or All Purpose Flour 抵筋面粉, sifted
1 tsp Baking Powder 发粉 
50ml Milk 牛奶

Please refer to the video from Cooking with Dog. The instruction is very clear, and I always enjoy watching the chef cook/bake, she is so neat! So unlike me when I bake :p and my kitchen is always messy right after I baked :p

My friends said the muffin is nice and soft. I am glad they enjoyed them :)

Kabocha Squash Chiffon Cake

I was greatly encouraged by the success of my Lavender Chiffon Cake and bought more paper chiffon tube case from Daiso to continue my adventure. Only 15cm tube case was available at the branch I went to. Thus, I made 2 more cup cakes from the balance batter as the recipe from Happy Flour calls for a 20cm tube pan. Many thanks to Happy Flour for sharing the recipe :)

As the pan size I used is smaller, I wasn't sure exactly how much should the tube case be filled, so I filled it to about 60%, and the two 5cm diameter cup cake case. It turned out that the chiffon cake tube case has room for more batter, as you can see from the photo above. Maybe all the batter could fill it up :D

The end result is a moist, soft and fluffy cake. It was not as light and tall as the Lavender chiffon cake, but it was interesting to see the bits of mashed pumpkin spread out evenly in the cake when it was sliced. I didn't manage to take a good picture on the sliced cake.

Due to my lousy skill in unmounding the chiffon cake, the cake was broken on the bottom :p

Please refer to the original recipe from Happy Flour. I have made very slight adjustments to her recipe based on what I had on hand:

- 3 egg yolks
- 25g light muscovador sugar unrefined dry demerara sugar

- 1/4tsp low-sodium salt
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 70g steamed and mashed kabocha squash (aka Japanese pumpkin)
- 60g low-fat Carnation evaporated milk
- 70g organic unbleached all-purpose flour

- 3 egg whites
- 45g light muscovador sugar unrefined dry demerara sugar

It is a lovely cake and the organic Kabocha Squash I bought from NTUC was very sweet! :)

Happy baking! :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meet the Twins - Lavender Chiffon Cakes

As I continue my adventure in "cooking" cakes in the rice cooker, there was something that I had been wondering - how will the same chiffon cake recipe "perform" in an oven and a rice cooker? From the previous rice cooker chiffon cake experience, I know that the rice cooker can do the job well and save the hassle of heating up the oven and watching the temperature (and keeping my fingers crossed that the cake will rise). But it seems like the rice cooker "Cake" function took quite some time to finish "cooking" the cake.

Curiosity kills the cat. This time, I followed Happy Home Baking's Lemon Lavender Chiffon Cake recipe. Many thanks to HHB again for sharing the recipe! :) Please refer to her blog for the full recipe. I had made very slight changes: omit lemon; soak the lavender flowers in the hot water first. Somehow, I think soaking the flowers first will help bring out the flavor :D The 7" chiffon tube pan recipe fits my two 12cm (or 5") disposable chiffon pans nicely.

I put one into the oven, and the other into the RC, and waited anxiously for the results. The one in the oven finished baking after about 25 mins at 170 degC. The one in RC continued through its long process and took almost double the time. I forgot to set the timer but it took roughly double the time. Anybody has tried taking the timing before? Please share if you do.

By the time the RC finished "cooking" (in fact, I stopped it before the "cooking" cycle was completed), the oven twin had already cooled down. I put them side-by-side to compare - I can't tell who is taller :D Although it is obvious that the one that was baked in the oven has a nice brown top, while its twin has a "white" top.

After turning them over, I found that the oven baked cake's bottom is "fairer" than its twin. After  slicing them, I started to get confused which was which (haha). Is that how parents of twins feel sometimes? :) Texture wise they seem similar. The only small difference I could see was that, the RC cake looks a little bit denser near the top of the cake.

If you ask me then which method will I use next time, I will say if I need to do something else and cannot afford the time to keep checking on the oven, I will choose the RC. But in other cases, I may just use the oven as it is faster and supposed it will save some electricity?

Nevertheless, it was an interesting test. This recipe is really yummy and the sweetness is just right, there is no need to reduce the amount of sugar :)

Happy baking and "cooking" :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rice Cooker Lavender Chiffon Cake

This blew my mind totally! Who would have thought that a rice cooker can make a chiffon cake so painlessly? Ever since I saw the post from MiMi Bakery House, I could not stop thinking about trying this out for myself. I mean, we know how difficult it is to make a successful chiffon cake, or at least for amateur like me. Worries about if the oven temperature is just right, if the cake will sink dramatically once removed from the oven, if the chiffon cake is cooked on the top & bottom but still uncooked in the middle...

My rice cooker took a bit long, I think at least 30 mins to finish cooking this cake. The cake was nicely risen when I opened the top of the rice cooker. I filled it 80% full as my recipe ended up with much more batter than a 12cm (or 5") chiffon cake mould could hold. I could still fill up two 5-cm diameter paper cups. But, per Murphy's law, the 5" cake plus 2 cups could not fit into my small rice cooker together! Alamak! What's next? I hurried to turn up my oven just to bake the 2 cupcakes as if it takes any longer, the 2 cakes will not rise. Baking chiffon cake always creates anxiety in me :p

Many thanks to MiMi Bakery for the recipe and Everybody Eats Well in Flanders for the advice! This is my first ever chiffon cake baked in a chiffon tube mould. I did not invest in a tube mould as I have no confidence in baking a chiffon cake. Disposable ones are good enough for me :p

I followed MiMi Bakery's recipe for Cocoa Chiffon Cake, but instead of cocoa powder, I put 1/2tsp of dried lavender (bought from Phoon Huat) into the hot water. The lavender flavor is mild as I was cautious not to make my cake smell like perfume by putting too much lavender. I think the next time I will add a little more sugar as the cake is not very sweet. Actually, I made a big boo boo while making this chiffon cake. Instead of adding sugar into the egg yolks, I added into the egg whites :p Just a note that I used 3 egg yolks and 3 egg whites as I did not want to have to deal with the extra yolk.

First thing I wanted to do was to tell Miss B that the chiffon cake mould really works! :D This is a good start, will explore more :)