Thursday, October 8, 2015

Go Ride the Rainbow



Honestly, I had never thought about making a rainbow cake before this. My impression was that it is filled with artificial coloring. But of course rainbow cakes look beautiful. Being terrible at frosting cake, I've always avoided frosted cakes :p

Two days ago, my niece came home with a cute little mini rainbow cake model made out of some kind of clay. It looks very real and the kids were yearning for some. They asked if I know how to make one. "Well.. I've not made one before... but I can try..." I replied with hesitation. You know you've got to keep your promise to kids. Well they are not small kids anymore, but they are and will always be to me :D

My adventure begins.. a new challenge, and excitement! I am not that keen in using bottled coloring, although I would consider if out of wits - you know, you don't wanna burn your own bridge, give yourself an alternative :D

Thanks to Foodmadewithlove and Growing a Green Family for sharing their recipes and ideas, I was inspired and started preparing with no hesitation. You know, sometimes the more you hesitate, the more the likelihood of not pursing - ok, that's only me I guess :D

The thought of baking cakes 7 times in a day is kind of daunting. But what other choice do I have when I only have one 20-cm cake pan? Nike - just do it.

By the time I was baking the 5th cake, I was thankful that I had no ideas for the other 2 colors and had decided to stop at 5 colors.

Please refer to Food made with Love for the original recipe. For help on natural coloring, please refer to Growing a Green Family. Both blogs have very useful tips and steps on how to make a rainbow cake. Here's the recipe I used, mostly adapted from the two lovely blogs:

Ingredients
For one 20-cm round cake

120g cake/top flour (sift with baking powder)
2/3tsp double-acting baking powder
40g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
60 to 80g caster sugar (I reduced the sugar to 60g for the last 3 cakes as I was mindful of the amount of sugar for the entire cake eventually)
120g milk
1 egg
1 drop of vanilla paste

Flavors:
Blue - 45g fresh blueberries & 60g water, boiled to release color, then mashed using a strainer.
Green - 2tsp matcha powder, sift with flour.
White - just follow the cake recipe.
Orange - 1 medium carrot, boiled with water covering carrot, discard water, mashed.
Pink - 1 small red dragon fruit, mashed.

Notes:
- The pink layer was too moist, one dragon fruit is probably too much :p This layer also took longest to bake.
- I was between pumpkin or carrot. There was not much taste of carrot, maybe it's because I boiled it first. Maybe I should have just shred it and use it without boiling.
- Blueberry layer looks pretty and tastes best, in my opinion :p


For the frosting, I followed this recipe from Simply Recipe. I reduced the icing sugar to 1.5 cups. Still a tad too sweet for me.

Honestly, I don't think I will make this cake again because it's too much work. Unless I have a few pans of the same size :) Will probably also try a different frosting, cream cheese frosting is not quite my cup of tea :p But overall, it is quite a good experience! The cake looks pretty when it was sliced :D But seriously, I would not recommend eating more than one small slice a day because it is just loaded with way too much sugar and fats :p

Although not related, while I was making this cake, I thought about our Founding Father, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.

"There's a glorious rainbow that beckons those with the spirit of adventure. To the young and the not-so-old, I say, look at the horizon, follow that rainbow, go ride it." - LKY

Thank you, Mr. Lee, for giving up your life for a successful Singapore.


Blueberry puree looks purple but amazingly turned a
pale blue once mixed with batter.

Red dragon fruit took longest to bake, I guess there's too much puree.

Frosting is definitely not my forte.

Everyone was attracted by the cake just because of the colors :D
Taste not guaranteed :p

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Taiwanese Style Milky Baked Mooncake 2015



Two years ago, I made these Taiwanese Style Milky Baked Mooncake following 鲸鱼蓝蓝小窝居's recipe. What I like about this recipe is that it is crunchy (like a cookie), and Lye water is not required. It is also pretty straightforward to make. You don't even need a mixer, just use a whisk to mix the ingredients until fluffy. This time, I used Korean Rice Syrup (bought from Korean store) instead of Golden Syrup. I did not use egg wash this time.

Remember the lotus seeds paste I made? After feedback from my family, I added more oil and rice syrup and re-fry the paste. I finally achieve the consistency I want! The paste is smoother and the color turns darker after re-frying. The paste also looked more moist. I think the key is not to over-fry it too, once it pulls away from the frying pan, add maltose (as many recipes suggested, or in my case, I substituted with rice syrup), and fry a bit more. So, it's taste over health :p I added perhaps 2 to 3 tbsp of oil, and about 1 tbsp of rice syrup. You can find this rice syrup in Korean mart, it's called Ssalyeot 쌀엿. I am not sure if it's the same as maltose or 麦芽糖 (in Chinese), but from the English translation, they seem to be the same. 

My mom calls this 月饼干 as it is like a cookie :D

Finally, lotus seeds paste which is smooth and moist, and best of all, homemade.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Snowskin Mooncake with Lotus Seeds Paste



Challenging homemade lotus seeds paste after 2 years. My last attempt failed miserably - the paste was not smooth at all. The blending really needs to be done longer, which was what I did this time round. The end result is: the paste is certainly not as smooth as store-bought ones, it still looks a bit dry, but tastes ok. I wonder if it's because I fried it longer than it is required? Not sure how I can make it smoother - perhaps add more oil? Or should I add maltose? Until I gather enough courage and energy to do this again, these questions remain unanswered :p If you have the answers, please do let me know :)

Big Thank You to Table for 2, Christine, and Siukitchen for sharing their recipes:
 Table for 2..... or more's Homemade Caramel Lotus Paste recipe
 Christine's recipes' Lotus Seed Puree recipe
 Siukitchen's video how on to fry lotus seeds paste

The ingredients I used:
 - 200g dried lotus seeds (without skin)
 - 100g demerera sugar
 - 100g grapeseed oil (you may need more oil as my paste was not very smooth)


After soaking the lotus seeds overnight, boil
them for an hour with water barely covering the seeds.

Puree the lotus seeds in chopper until smooth.

Lotus seeds puree ready to be fried.

After frying with oil and sugar for about 20 mins.





Updated on 6 September 2015:

Ingredients for the snowskin:
- 38g kou fen
- 40g icing sugar
- 4g grapeseed oil
- 60ml water

For matcha flavor, add:
- 1/2tsp matcha powder (matcha taste is quite light, you may want to add more)

Method:
1. Put kou fen and icing sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix together with a spatula.
2. In a separate mixing bowl or measuring cup, add water and oil.
3. Add liquid ingredients to dry, quickly mix together in ONE direction. You need to work quickly to ensure a smooth snowskin. Else, it will become a lumpy mess :p

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Teacher's Day Cupcakes

Cupcakes decorated by little hands, straight from her heart :)

For her cousins, frosted with just buttercream, m&m's
and modeling chocolate.

Happy Teachers' Day! The kids in schools are celebrating Teachers' Day today. My little one wanted to bake some frosted cupcakes for her teachers in school. Her requirement is fondant covered cupcakes - so as her "assistant" for this event, I made a trip to Phoon Huat to get a small tub of Satin Ice Rolled Fondant. Unfortunately, the white color fondant was not available, so I got the baby blue one instead.

For the buttercream, it was kinda last minute when I decided to make some. In my last attempt to make fondant cupcakes, I did not need any buttercream as the fondant was able to "sit" on the cupcake, perhaps due to the paper cups I used. In any case, "chef" of the day requested buttercream, so I found this small batch buttercream recipe. Many thanks to Celebrating Sweets' recipe, it is very useful as I know we just needed a bit of buttercream to keep the fondant in place. I recalled throwing away buttercream made using another recipe, and really do not want to waste food like that again. Also, this buttercream recipe only uses icing sugar, butter, vanilla essence and a tsp of fresh milk. It was just nice for frosting 11 cupcakes thinly.

It was a breeze to bake the chocolate cupcakes, and I am sure I will use this recipe from FoodieBaker again and again, especially helpful for baking large quantities of decorated cupcakes. Honestly, I was skeptical about the taste of this cupcake initially as the recipe uses oil, but the result was a definite "yummy!". It is soft and goes well with the buttercream and fondant.

While the cupcakes were being baked, "chef" started her fondant decoration. While decorating, she looked serious at times, and goofy other times, especially when she popped m&m's into her mouth while decorating! :p She told me that was the "best part of making cupcakes" :D

The part I dreaded most was the cleaning up :p But seeing how much fun "chef" had, I guess it is worth it?

Do you remember what you brought to schools on Teachers' Day? I just happened to recall that my mom used to bake kueh bolu for us to bring to school on Teachers' Day. I still remember that my mom would bake these using a charcoal stove at our backyard (when we were still living in the Kampung) in the hot and humid Singapore weather. They smelled and tasted delicious and no matter how my classmates teased me about them, they were the yummiest cake to me. It is truly the love and sweat of a mother..

Happy Teachers' Day to all teachers! Whether you are school teachers, tuition teachers, piano teachers, gym teachers, mothers, etc... to me, as long as you are sincerely sharing your knowledge, you are a teacher :) Thank you for sharing your knowledge, which has benefited and appreciated by many people, and have a wonderful Teachers' Day! :)



The front most cupcake is the only one I got to
decorate, permission granted from "chef".

A gigantic cupcake among the rest, as I ran out of silicone cups.
Bad idea, as it needed more time to cook as compared to the smaller cupcakes.
So please use cups of same size for even baking and less trouble :p

Friday, August 28, 2015

3-Ingredients Cookies Made by Little Hands Part II



Just the other day, my daughter was browsing through my blog and we stumbled upon this cookie post written back in 2013. That was 2 years ago! Time really flies... "Please can we make these again, Mummy? Please.." she pleaded.

This is the 3-ingredient cookies recipe from ochikeron. Until now, I am still not very good at handling cookie dough - either it cracked or the cut dough would not come off together with the cutter :p

The icing was made using simply lemon juice and icing sugar like last time. You can decide the consistency you prefer to work with by adding the icing sugar into the lemon juice bit by bit. The chocolate icing is actually from my modeling chocolate experiment. I was doing some research on making modeling chocolate and found this video from MyCupcakeAddiction and Joy of baking's recipe very useful.


Teacher's day gift


All decorated by my little one :)
Updated on 3 September 2015:
Recipe for Modeling Chocolate, adapted from Joy of Baking
200g Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chips
60g rice syrup (I used rice syrup bought from a Korean store)

By the way, I tried making Modeling White Chocolate using Cadbury's White Chocolate Dream bar, but it failed miserably. I am not sure if it's because I over-mixed it, or there was not enough rice syrup.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Soya Sauce Braised Chicken


This is not an excuse for this unappealing photo - originally I had no intention to post about this recipe but this blog has become kind of like a "recipes folder" for me. This is an easy and useful recipe which I believe I will cook again, and you may want to try it if you are looking for an easy home-cooked meal.

The original recipe for the Soya sauce braised chicken can be found here. Thank you to original author who shared this recipe on The Straits Times SoShiok.

You may notice the Namasu (Daikon and carrot salad) on the side, which was made following justonecookbook. It is very easy to make this. I actually prefer the Pickled Daikon recipe from justonecookbook as the taste was stronger after leaving in the fridge for 2 days (Apologies, I didn't take a photo of that). The Namasu tastes lighter and is probably meant to be eaten right after you prepared. Am I right, Nami? :)

The Pickled Daikon was crunchy and delicious! Best part is, it is so easy to put together that there is no reason not to make at home if you like pickled daikon. So do check it out at justonecookbook :)

I halved the Soya Sauce Braised Chicken recipe to cook for 2 person.

Ingredients
(slight changes from original recipe. Please refer to original recipe for ingredients and method)

125ml mirin
125ml light soya sauce
125ml dark soya sauce
125ml water
1 dried bay leave
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 skinless, bone-in chicken thigh (from NTUC)
5 pieces of dried Japanese mushroom, soaked in water for at least 30 mins, then, slice

Method

1. Blanch chicken thighs in a pot of boiling water for 10 mins. This is to remove any unwanted scum.
2. Drain chicken thighs and rinse with hot water. Drain. Set aside.
3. Put mirin, light and dark soya sauce, water and garlic into a pot. Bring to boil. Once the sauce has come to a boil, add chicken thighs and mushrooms. Cover and bring to boil again.
4. Once it has come to boil again, lower heat and simmer for 35-45 mins.

The chicken is tender and tears off easily. Depending on the brand of the soya sauce you used, you may need to adjust the amount to suit your taste. It was a little too salty for me (even though I tend to prefer salty food). This was the first time I have used bay leave in my cooking, and I find that the aroma was pretty nice and its presence was definitely felt in this dish.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chocolate Muffin again




These chocolate muffins are made following the recipe from Joy of Baking. The muffins stayed soft for 2-3 days (kept in zip-lock bag in room temperature).

My notes:
- reduced sugar to 110g of  dry demerara sugar
- baked at 190 degC for 30 mins
- to replace buttermilk: use 1 tbsp of vinegar and fill up to one cup with fresh milk, let sit for 5 mins

This is an easy recipe and you really do not need to pay for that expensive chocolate muffin from Starbucks :p

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Chocolate Coated Cornflakes


Possibly the easiest recipe which yields delicious results :) My kid requested for these last week, and I gladly agreed to make as it is fail-proof. I followed Nasi Lemak Lover's recipe. It is so easy that the only tedious part was filing the mini paper cups with the cornflakes. The toughest part of this recipe was resisting the temptation to eat them as I filled them up :p

I used a mix of Hershey's semisweet chocolate chips and Ghirardelli bittersweet and semisweet chocolate chips.

Apple Crumble Pie / Tart


Apologies for the lack of visual appeal - my apple crumble pie looks kinda ugly.

I made this following the link on Miss B's Everybody Eats Well in Flanders blog. Encountered a few hiccups while making this - dough was soft and stuck to the parchment paper as I tried to place it on the tart mould (after rolling dough between the parchment paper). As I halved the recipe, I "forced" the dough to fit into 2 of my 18cm-diameter-tart mould, so the dough was quite thick (that's me being too "smart"). Next, I added a mountain of caramalized apples on top of the dough, which made it hard to place the crumble over the apples evenly (what was I thinking). Basically, everything seemed to go wrong :p

Lucky me, the end result was still delicious despite the hiccups :) So, for any recipe, it certainly helps to follow the pan size all the time :p

It was the first time I tried to caramelize apples, thus I wasn't sure when it was considered done. Some sites suggested simmering until the liquid appears, for approximately 10 mins; others suggested simmering until liquid is almost gone. I did the earlier, and the apples still had a bit of crunch and not too soft. I guess if you want really soft apples, you can simmer them for a longer time.

Best way to serve apple crumble pie is probably a little warm, top with a scoop of ice-cream. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Kabocha Squash Chiffon Cake - Deja vu






I had a long break from baking any cakes (other than muffins) - partly due to health as many of us at home are putting on weight :p

Baking chiffon and sponge cakes continue to be the most daunting task for me. However, every successful bake brings immersed satisfaction :D

Bought the kabocha squash from Isetan supermarket, which tasted really creamy. I followed the same recipe from Happy Flour, but used fresh milk instead of coconut milk.