Sunday, 23 October 2016

Pandan Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes

Really love the pandan fragrance ... and the sweet looking pastel green in petite cupcake liners.  My big kids love anything sweet ... glad that I could satisfy them with these petite pandan hokkaido chiffon cupcakes that were not too sweet, lesser amount of fat (no butter & sugary buttercream) as compared to some typical sugary frosting cupcakes.

Bookmarked the recipe some time ago, recipe adapted from Doreen of my little favourite DIY
Below my slightly modified version.

Pandan Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes
Yields 8 cupcakes depending on the types of paper/cupcake liners.
Ingredients :
For egg yolk batter :
2 egg yolks
15 grams caster sugar
35 grams canola oil
35 grams light coconut milk
40 grams cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon homemade concentrated pandan extract

For meringue :
3 egg whites (cold)
25 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Whipped cream with dessicated coconut filling
200 grams whipping cream
15 grams caster sugar
2 tablespoons dessicated coconut

1) Preheat oven to 160°C. Position the rack in the center of oven.
Note: The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly. Arrange cupcake liners on baking tray.

2) Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. (the size of my egg is 60g each with shell)

3) In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the cold egg whites till foamy using the electric mixer. Add in the lemon juice and gradually add in caster sugar in 3 separate additions and beat till stiff peak, formed into a firm meringue. Transfer to a big bowl and chill in the fridge.

4) In the same mixing bowl, cream together egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thick using the electric mixer (about 3 - 4 minutes).  Add canola oil and continue beating. Once the oil has been incorporated, add coconut milk and pandan extract and mix well.

5) Next, add the sifted cake flour and mix until just combined.

6) Gently fold 1/3 of the meringue into batter with a spatula. Fold the remaining meringue into the mixture in 2 batches until it looks evenly mixed (no streaks of meringue).

7) Scoop batter into pre-arranged cupcake liners to about ¾ full. Gently tap the baking sheet a few times on table top to release the trapped bubbles in the batter.

8) Bake at 160°C for about 18 - 20 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center if it comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on wire rack.

9) Once the cupcakes are cooled, fill whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle (I used a open star tip nozzle).  Push the piping tip into the center of the cupcake and pipe/squeeze some amount. Decorate the top to your desire. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.

To make the whipped cream:
Freeze the cleaned mixing bowl for about 10 minutes.  Take it out from the freezer, immediately put together the cold whip cream and caster sugar in the cold mixing bowl. Use the electronic mixer to whisk till stiff peak form. Add in the dessicated coconut and mix to combined.

We loved these pillowy soft pandan fragrance Hokkaido chiffon cupcakes lots and here are some other flavours of HCC we had enjoyed in the past:
Japanese Dark Pearl Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes
Lemon curd Hokkaido chiffon cupcakes
Rose tea Hokkaido chiffon cupcakes
Hokkaido chiffon cupcakes

Enjoy & Happy Baking!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Hummingbird Cake

Ever wonder the combination of sweet pineapples and bananas in a cake ?
My big boy commented "nice, I like this cake with cream cheese icing."
Mom: I find it too sweet ... with or without the icing....
My big boy: cake should taste sweet, right ? I find it nice, not too sweet ...

According to Wikipedia : Hummingbird cake
Hummingbird cake is a banana-pineapple spice cake common in the Southern United States. Ingredients include flour, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, ripe banana, pineapple, cinnamon, pecans, vanilla extract, eggs, and leavening agent. Created on the island of Jamaica, the Hummingbird Cake was named after the island's national bird.

I've bookmarked the recipe some years ago cos it's pretty easy to bake. The dry ingredients are mixed together in one bowl, the wet ingredients are mixed together in another bowl. Mix to combine the 2 bowls ... You only need to use the electric mixer to make the icing/frosting. I've been procrastinating to bake this cake as I reckon that even if I reduced the quantity of sugar, it will still taste sweet (combination of sweet crushed pineapple and bananas).

I like the use of cooking oil instead of butter to achieve this crusty cake that is moist, light with tender crumbs. Nutty chopped pecans added some bits to the cake. I frosted half the cake with icing and kept the non-frosted cake until served.

Recipe adapted from : Joy of Baking
Below my slightly modified version as I've halved the recipe, reduced the amount of sugar and made a simple cream cheese icing without added chopped pecans.

Hummingbird Cake
Yields one 8-inch square pan
Dry ingredients
200 grams all-purpose flour, sifted
140 grams caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

50 grams pecans - lightly toasted, cool and chop finely.

Wet ingredients:
1 large egg, lightly beaten
90 ml canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
110 grams can crushed pineapple, do not drain
200 grams mashed ripe bananas

Cream Cheese Icing:
30 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
100 grams cream cheese, room temperature
100 grams powdered or icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat the oven at 180°C, position the rack 2nd from bottom. *Note : The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

2) Butter, or spray with a non stick spray, one 8-inch square cake pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

3) In a large bowl whisk together the flour, caster sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Then stir in the chopped pecans.

4) In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, and mashed bananas. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined.

5) Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes until nicely brown. To test with tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake and it comes out clean.

6) Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and invert the cake onto the wire rack, parchment paper, flip the cake right side up, and then cool completely before frosting and decorating.

To make the cream cheese icing:
1. Allow cream cheese and butter to stand at room temperature. In large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter with mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy.

2. Gradually add in the powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating well. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.  Beat until it reach spreading consistency.

To serve, spread over the top with icing as you like. Garnish with some pecan halves. If not serving immediately, refrigerate the cake. Bring to room temperature before serving.

My big kids liked this Hummingbird Cake with cream cheese icing while I find it on the sweet side though. Paired a slice with a cup of black coffee. Enjoy my coffee break !

Enjoy & Happy Baking!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Cranberry Buttermilk Scones

We love scones ! Especially the buttery crusty flaky scones that spread with our favourite spreads from Nutella to butter, kaya, homemade or store bought jams. Plain or with added nuts or dried fruits like the previous Lavender walnut scones.

Instead of cutting rounds, these quick and easy scones are cut into wedges.

Recipe source : Taste of Home
Below my slightly modified version
Cranberry Buttermilk Scones
Yields 6 wedges
220g all-purpose plain flour
30g caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
85g cold butter (cut into small cubes)
124g buttermilk
40g dried cranberries

For glaze and topping:
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1 tablespoon caster sugar

1) Preheat the oven at 220°C, position the rack in the center of the oven. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

2) Mix and combine the ground cinnamon and caster sugar in a small bowl, set aside.

3) In a big bowl, combine the flour, caster sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Next, rub the cold butter into the flour with your finger tips, lifting the flour from the bottom up on top, until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.

4) Stir in the buttermilk with spatula until just combined. Fold in the cranberries.

5) Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Gently pat the dough a few times to form a 6-inch circle.  (*note: The dough should not be overworked as may end up with a hard and doughy scones). Cut the circle into six wedges. Separate wedges and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet.

6) Brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the tops.

7) Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

These rather rustic looking scones are perfect for any time snacks.  Served these light and crusty yet tangy warm scones for our brekkie!  Enjoy !

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Apricot-Walnut Buttermilk Quick Bread

Lately I've been very busy ... working late ... late... and ... exhausted!
Making me no mood to try out any new recipes that I've bookmarked. Something quick to bake (and minimal washing) is what I need ... Yup just mix mix mix the ingredients and throw the pan into oven ! Ha ha ! Obviously this is no good for my baking therapeutic, right ? Anyway, here's the nutty citrus quick bread (non yeast) that's quick and easy to bake a decent loaf for the family.
According to information/source: "the name "Quick" Bread implies, quick to make. The dry ingredients are mixed together in one bowl, the wet ingredients are mixed together in another bowl. The two are combined and you are done".

Recipe source The Kitchn buttermilk quick bread
Below my slightly modified version as I've used combination of self-raising flour and plain flour.

Apricot-Walnut Buttermilk Quick Bread
Makes one - 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.
Dry ingredients
120g dried apricot chopped finely (*I will reduce to 80g on my next bake)
50g walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
153g all-purpose plain flour
100g self-raising flour
75g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients
248g buttermilk
1 large egg
53g canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Position the rack in the middle.
*Note : The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

Lightly grease with butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) a standard 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a big bowl. Whisk in the caster sugar, salt, dried apricot and walnuts.

In a separate bowl or jug, whisk oil with the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients. Gently stir and fold the ingredients with spatula until all  incorporated, wet batter is formed. Be careful not to over-mix.

Scrape and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until golden brown with a nice dome about 45-50 minutes.

Test with tester or skewer inserted into the center and it comes out clean.  Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing and slicing.

Fluffy soft with nutty tangy taste.  Enjoy over for our brekkie or serve as afternoon coffee break.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Cream Cheese Cookies

It has been quite a while since I've baked the last batch of cookies. Of course, homemade cookies are the best as shared previously from easy to make easy Lavender CookiesBanana Oat breakfast cookies to festive cookies like Pork Floss CookiesVanilla butter sugar cookies to stamped cookies and my big kids' all-time favourite copycat Famous Amos double choc chips cookies

Chance upon a cookie recipe that uses cream cheese.  With the exact quantity of cream cheese left in the fridge ... this is also the first time that I used cream cheese in cookies. I love lemony taste so I added some lemon juice and zest to the cookie dough.

Recipe source : Food52 cream cheese cookies
Below my slightly modified version with addition of lemon zest and juice.

Cream Cheese Cookies
Yields about 20
116g unsalted butter, at room temperature
80g cream cheese, softened
55g caster sugar
125g all-purpose plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon (my addition)
2 teaspoons lemon juice (my addition)

Preheat oven to 180°C and position the rack in center of oven. (* the oven temperature may vary, do adjust accordingly).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (do not need to grease)

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter, cream cheese and caster sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 - 5 minutes).
Mix in the lemon zest and juice till incorporated.
Mix in flour and salt just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and give it a quick stir with a spoon to make sure everything is evenly mixed.

Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets.
Space the shapes well apart about 1 1/2 inches between each cookie (they will spread a little).

Bake for about 13 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Do not over-bake.

Cool slightly on the baking sheet (about 3-5 minutes) before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store them in airtight container.

Enjoy !

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Black & White Banana Cake

I'm not a big fan of bananas. ... if I'm given a choice to choose between an apple and a banana, I will not hesitate to grab that apple.

But I love to add bananas in my bakes. Shared previously the lighter version with no vegetable oil or butter added here, reduced butter Banana Bread, a healthier version with added oatmeal here.

Got 3 large overripe bananas but 1 was rotten, so could only used 2 bananas to make the cake.

I'm sure banana cake is the all-time classic cake. This duo flavour banana cake is so easy to bake. With just one batter and add the cocoa powder last in the remaining batter.  Of course, you could have all chocolate batter or just plain banana batter.  But sometimes I like to have a duo colour tone or marbling effect of the cake ... a nice "visual presentation" of my bake before I nom nom nom... hee.. hee ! The texture is not too dense, but moist with a tender crumb.  Love both the buttery & banana fragrant.

Recipe source, largely adapted from : Taste and Tell

Below my slightly modified version as I've reduced the quantity of some ingredients.

Black & White Banana Cake
116g butter, softened at room temperature
140g caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g ripe bananas, peeled & mashed
189g all-purpose plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
28g  unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
Dust with some snow powder (optional)

Method :
1) Position the rack in the middle and preheat oven to 180°C. Note : The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

2) Line a 8x8-inch baking pan with lightly greased parchment paper.

3) In a big clean bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4) In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar using an electric mixer at medium speed for about 2 - 3 minutes until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract, then beat in the mashed bananas for about 1 - 2 minutes.

5) Stir in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spread about 2/3 of the mixture in the bottom of the baking pan. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining batter, mix well and gently spread over the top of the batter.

6) Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Check for doneness with a skewer inserted into the center of the cake if it comes out clean.  
Serve warm if you like. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely before storing in airtight container.  

Sprinkle with some snow powder

Having said that I'm not a big fan of banana ... but I enjoy a slice of these chocolaty moist and tender crumb banana cake.  Served warm and dust with some snow powder. Enjoy !

Monday, 12 September 2016

Rock Buns

Kinda miss this traditional tea-time snack.

Hands-up if you've learned to make Rock Buns during your secondary school Home Economics lessons ....
I remembered that Rock Buns was one of the cake baking lessons learned then and was wondering why bake 'rock'  ... hee.. hee !

According to information :
A rock cake, also called a rock bun, is a small, hard fruit cake with a rough surface resembling a rock. Rock cakes originated in Great Britain, where they are a traditional tea-time treat, but are now popular in many parts of the world.

Recipe adapted from the cookbook "Cakes and Bakes 500" by Martha Day, below my slight modification made in blue.

Rock Buns
Makes 12
Ingredients :
225g all purpose plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder (1 teaspoon)
115g unsalted cold butter (cut into cubes)
115g mixed dried fruits (I used 80g raisins)
115g demerara (raw) sugar (I reduced to 80g)
Zest of half an orange (omitted) 
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons fresh milk

1) Preheat the oven to 200ºC, position the rack in the center. 
Note: The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

2) Line two baking sheets with lightly greased parchment paper.

3) Combine the flour and baking powder, sift into a big bowl. Then rub in the cold cubed butter using your fingertips or a pantry cutter until it resembles breadcrumbs.

4) Stir in the sugar, raisins, orange zest (if used) with a spatula. Add in the beaten egg and milk enough to bind and form stiff dough.

5) Drop tablespoonful of mixture on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until golden browned.
Serve warm if you like or leave to cool on wire rack before storing.

Solid as a rock? Of course not. These fuss free easy to make light and crumbly snacks somewhat a cross between cookie and cake.  Enjoy with a glass of cold or hot beverage.
Happy baking!

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown Specials: BAKE

Cookbook Countdown