Saturday, September 2, 2017

Honey-Citron Sponge Cake

Sponge Cake
.... with cheese slices
... with cheese slices


This Honey-Citron Cake is really moist, super soft and fluffy with a fine airy texture. I love the subtle fragrance of the citron and the cake tasted so much better the next day as the flavour of the citron is more pronounced.

Recipe adapted from Jeannie's Taiwan Old Fashion Sponge Cake recipe.   

(A)  Size of eggs: 60-65g each (with shell)
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
40g caster sugar

(B)  
5 egg yolks 
1 whole egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
20g caster sugar
50g rice bran oil (or mild flavoured oil)
70g Honey-Citron marmalade with citrus peels
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

(C)
60g plain flour
10g corn flour

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.  Wrap the bottom of a 7" square pan with two layers of aluminium foil to avoid any water from seeping into the pan.  Lightly grease and line the base of the pan with baking paper.
  2. In a clean dry bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric beater until foamy. Add in cream of tartar.  Continue whisking until soft peaks formed; gradually add in sugar.  Whisk until medium -stiff peaks formed (the tip of the peaks are stiff enough to stand up firmly but with a slight curl at the tip - refer picture below).  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, with the same electric beater (unwashed) beat egg yolks, whole egg, vanilla extract and sugar until pale. Then beat in oil, Honey-Citron marmalade and lemon juice until blended.  Sift in flour mixture and whisk until well combined.
  4. Fold 1/3 portion of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture to lighten the batter.  Then pour the batter into the meringue and fold gently until thoroughly blended and smooth.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.  Tap the pan against the kitchen bench to remove large bubbles trapped inside the batter.
  6. Sit the cake pan in a larger pan and pour about an inch of boiling water into the larger pan. Bake (on lowest rack) for 20 minutes at 160°C; then reduce temperature to 150°C and continue to bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.  [Please note that every oven is different, therefore oven temperature and baking time indicated here are as a guide only]
  7. Remove from oven and drop the pan from a height a couple of times to minimise shrinkage of the cake.  Unmould the cake and place it on a wire rack to cool.  Allow the cake to be completely cool before cutting.

Note:  If you prefer cheese slices in the cake, in step 5:
  • Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan, then place cheese slices gently on top.  Top up with remaining batter. 

meringue at medium-stiff peaks





Thursday, August 31, 2017

Spicy Roasted Chicken Thighs



5 chicken thighs

Marinade:
2 tbsp Sriracha chilli sauce
2 tbsp mirin (optional)
2 tbsp grated palm sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp grated ginger
freshly cracked black pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon

  • Combine all the ingredients in a freezer bag.  Add in chicken thighs and turn to coat evenly in the marinade.
  • Marinate for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 190°C.
  • Place the marinated chicken thighs on a tray and pour marinade over it.  Bake for about 35  - 40 minutes. 
  • Serve hot with rice.



    Friday, August 4, 2017

    Palm Sugar Banana Cake

     Banana Cake


    I usually prefer Banana Sponge Cake which is lighter but when I fancy a banana cake made with butter, this is my go-to recipe by Ellena Guan of Cuisine Paradise.  The freshly baked cake smells heavenly with the aroma of the palm sugar (gula Melaka); and the cake is so moist and good!

    I halved Ellena's recipe and used a small loaf pan for it.  

    Ingredients: 

    125g softened
    70g shaved palm sugar (gula Melaka) + extra for toppings
    1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    2 eggs (55g each)
    135g self-raising flour
    1/8 tsp baking soda
    1/8 tsp sea salt
    120g bananas, mashed
    30g chopped toasted walnuts
    1 tbsp Cointreau (orange flavoured liqueur)
    a few slices of banana for topping
    • Preheat oven to 170°C.  Line a (21 x 11 x 3.5 cm) loaf pan with baking paper.
    • Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
    • Beat butter and shaved palm sugar until light and fluffy.
    • Beat in eggs, one at a time until well mixed.  Add in vanilla extract.
    • Fold in half of the sifted flours and mix until well combined.  Then add in mashed bananas and mix to combine.  Add in the rest of the flours and mix well.
    • Lastly add in liqueur and chopped walnuts; mix to combine.
    • Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Top with sliced banana, walnuts and shaved palm sugar.
    • Bake for about 45 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
    • Cool the cake in the pan for 10 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


    Sunday, July 30, 2017

    Chocolate Butter Cake



    Ingredients:

    180g butter, softened at room temperature
    120g caster sugar, divided
    160g self-raising flour
    4 large eggs, separate
    150g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
    90g fresh milk
    90g hot water + 2 tbsp instant coffee granules

    • Preheat oven to 160°C.  Line the base of a 20cm round pan.
    • Place chocolate in a bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn't touch the water.  Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove bowl from the heat and set aside.
    • In a clean, oil-free mixing bowl, beat egg whites using an electric mixer until soft peaks formed.  Gradually beat in half the sugar until stiff peaks formed.  Set aside.
    • Using the same beaters, cream butter and remaining sugar until light and pale in colour.
    • Gradually add in egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add in melted chocolate and mix until combined.
    • Add in sifted flour and milk mixture in 3 additions, starting and ending with flour.  Combine until just incorporated.
    • Finally, fold in beaten egg whites in 3 additions, ensuring the batter is well mixed.
    • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
    • Bake at 160°C for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
    • Stand the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

    Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    Pineapple Butter Cake



    Ingredients:

    (A)
    4 egg whites, bring to room temperature
    40g caster sugar

    (B)  Lightly beat:
    180g butter, softened at room temperature
    50g caster sugar

    (C)  Sift together:
    4 egg yolks, bring to room temperature
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    (D)  Sift together:
    180g self-raising flour
    20g milk powder

    (E) Mixed together:
    45g pineapple juice 
    10g condensed milk
    3 tbsp (canned) crushed pineapple, drained

    • Preheat oven to 160°C.  Line a 21 x 11 x 6 cm loaf pan with baking paper.
    • In a clean, oil-free mixing bowl, beat egg whites using an electric mixer until soft peaks formed.  Gradually beat in sugar until stiff peaks formed.  Set aside.
    • Using the same beaters, cream butter and sugar until light and pale in colour.
    • Gradually add in egg yolk mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. (Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl).
    • Add in sifted flour and milk powder (D) and coconut milk mixture (E) in 3 additions, starting and ending with flour mixture. Combine until just incorporated.
    • Finally, fold in beaten egg whites in 3 additions, ensuring the batter is well mixed.
    • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
    • Bake for 30 mins at 160°C, then increase temperature to 170° and bake for a further 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
    • Stand the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
    • Serve warm.



    Thursday, July 13, 2017

    Braised Beef Brisket (炆牛腩)

    Beef Stew


    Ingredients:

    500g beef brisket, cut into big chunks
    450g daikon, peeled and cut into chunks
    40g ginger, minced
    20g garlic, sliced
    2 scallion, sliced
    5g dried mandarin peel
    2 dried chillies, softened, cut in halves
    1 whole star anise

    1 tbsp oil
    2 cups water

    Sauce:
    1 tbsp Chu Hou paste
    2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
    1 tbsp light soy sauce
    1/2 tsp brown sugar
    1 tsp black pepper powder
    salt, to taste

    • In hot frying pan, brown the beef brisket over moderately high heat.  Transfer onto a plate.  
    • Add oil into the pan and stir fry ginger, garlic, mandarin peel, star anise and dried chillies until aromatic.  
    • Add in sauce and beef; stir well to combine.  Then add in water and daikon; bring to the boil and then reduce fire and simmer until beef is tender.
    • Serve hot with rice or noodles.



    Thursday, June 29, 2017

    Mandarin Butter Cake

     


    Ingredients:

    (A)
    180g butter, softened at room temperature
    50g caster sugar

    (B)  Lightly beat:
    3 egg yolks (48g), bring to room temperature
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tbsp finely chopped mandarin peel (remove the white pith before chopping)

    (C)  Sift together:
    180g self-raising flour
    20g milk powder

    (D)  Mix together:
    45g mandarin juice
    10g honey

    (E)
    3 egg whites, bring to room temperature
    50g caster sugar
    • Preheat oven to 160°C.  Line a 21 x 11 x 6 cm loaf pan with baking paper.
    • In a clean, oil-free mixing bowl, beat egg whites using an electric mixer until soft peaks formed.  Gradually beat in sugar until stiff peaks formed.  Set aside.
    • Using the same beaters, cream butter and sugar until light and pale in colour.
    • Gradually add in egg yolk mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. (Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl).
    • Add in flour and mandarin juice mixture in 3 additions, starting and ending with flour. Combine until just incorporated.
    • Finally, fold in beaten egg whites in 3 additions, ensuring the batter is well mixed.
    • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
    • Bake for 30 mins at 160°C, then increase temperature to 170° and bake for a further 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
    • Stand the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
    • Serve warm.


    Thursday, June 15, 2017

    Pan-fried Ricotta Dumplings in Tomato Sauce

    Pan-fried Ricotta gnocchi in Tomato Sauce

    Ricotta Gnocchi
    Ricotta Gnocchi

    Recipe from Two Greedy Italians

    For the dumplings:
    200g high protein flour, plus extra for dusting
    220g ricotta
    3 egg yolks
    25g parmesan, fresh grated
    a pinch of grated nutmeg
    a pinch of salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    For the sauce:
    1 large onion, diced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 chilli, sliced
    2 x 400g canned tomatoes (whole or diced)
    a handful of basil leaves


    • In a large mixing bowl, mix all the dumpling ingredients together to form a soft and moist dough.  
    • Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes.  Roll dough into a long thin sausage shape, then cut the dumplings into 2cm pieces.
    • Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the dumplings until they float to the surface.  Transfer the dumplings onto a plate.
    • Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and place the dumplings in a single layer and fry until dumplings are lightly browned on each side.
    • Meanwhile to cook the sauce, heat olive oil in a pan and stir fry the onion and garlic until soft.  Add in chilli and fry for a minute.  Add in tomatoes and basil. Bring to the boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
    • Toss the pan fried dumplings into the tomato sauce and sprinkle over some grated parmesan before serving.

    Monday, June 12, 2017

    Wholemeal Oats & Seeds Breakfast Cookies

    cookies


    Grab-and-Go the healthy way!  If you are those who always skip breakfast because you don't have the time in the morning, these super easy and healthy cookies which are packed with wholesome and nutritious ingredients is the perfect grab-and-go breakfast. This is a very quick and easy cookie recipe which you can substitute with any healthy ingredients you like to change the type of cookie. No rolling or cutting is required and you can whip up a batch of fresh cookies in no time at all.  What you need is a mixing bowl and a spatula.  

    (A)
    75g organic coconut oil
    1 tbsp organic honey

    (B)
    70g wholemeal self-raising flour 
    1/4 tsp soda bicarbonate
    40g grated palm sugar
    pinch of sea salt
    zest of 1 lemon (optional)
    10g brown flax seed meal
    15g almond meal
    20g chia seeds
    55g rolled oats
    15g desiccated or shredded coconut
    10g raisins (or any dry fruits)
    25g mixed of pumpkin kernels & sunflower seeds

    • Preheat oven to 170°C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.
    • Over medium-low fire, heat up coconut milk and honey.  Stir to combine. Allow to cool.
    • Sift flour and soda bicarbonate together (throw back the husk into the flour mixture).  Add in the rest of the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Pour in the coconut oil & honey mixture and stir well to combine into a crumbly mixture.
    • Shape mixture into balls and gently flatten them. Place cookies 2cm apart onto the prepared tray.
    • Bake cookies for about 15-17 minutes or until golden.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an air-tight container.

    Friday, May 19, 2017

    Brown Flaxseed Bread

    Chia & Brown Flaxseed Bread
    Chia & Brown Flaxseed Bread


    This is basically a white bread recipe enriched with some brown flaxseed meal which imparts a beautiful colour to the bread and also gives a nutty and earthy flavour.   Flax is a natural superfood, packed with healthy nutrients and antioxidants. If you can't find flaxseed meal, you can make your own by grinding whole flaxseed using a coffee grinder or blender.


    Tangzhong Starter: 
    40g bread flour
    200g water

    • In a small pan, combine flour and water.  Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens and you'd notice some "lines" appear in the mixture when you stir (or until it reaches 65°C).
    • Remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl. Place cling wrap directly onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up.  Cool or bring to room temperature before using. Measure the amount of tangzhong you required and the rest can be kept in the refrigerator.  But remember, once the tangzhong turns grey, discard it.

    Main Dough:  
    (A)
    250g bread flour
    20g brown flaxseed meal
    10g chia seeds
    15g caster sugar
    3g sea salt
    15g milk powder (optional)
    5g instant dried yeast

    (B)
    100g tangzhong

    (C) Whisk together: (Total liquid=170g)
    55g egg (lightly beaten)
    30g honey/condensed milk
    85g fresh milk (adjust the quantity of milk to make up to 170g in total)

    (D)
    30g coconut oil

    • Combine all ingredients (A) in a mixing bowl.  Add in (B) followed by (C).   Knead until well combined and smooth.  Then add in (D) and continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic and passed the "window pane test".
    • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl.  Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise until doubled.
    • Punch down the dough to release trapped air.  Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
    • Flatten the dough and roll it up tightly.  Place onto a greased pullman tin (20.5 x 10.5 x 9 cm).  Cover and let it rise until almost doubled (90%).
    • Preheat oven to 170°C.
    • Bake for about 45 minutes or till golden brown.


    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Meyer Lemon Tartlet



    Adapted from Pierre Hermé  - Meyer Lemon Tart recipe

    150g unsalted butter, cubed
    60g caster sugar
    30g almond meal
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 egg, room temperature
    250g plain flour
    1/2 tsp salt

    • Place flour, almond meal, sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add in egg and mix until the dough binds together.  Knead the dough gently into a ball and wrap it in clingfilm. Refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour or overnight.
    • Remove dough from the fridge.  Take a small amount of dough and press down gently with your fingers so that the dough is centred in the well. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.  Rest in the fridge for 1 - 2 hours.
    • Bake tart shells in 180°C fan-forced oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. After tart shells are cooled slightly, remove them from the moulds and cool completely before use.

    Lemon Cream

    2 eggs (100g without shells)
    120g caster sugar
    70g fresh Meyer lemon juice 
    zest of 2 lemons
    120g unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed

    • In a large metal bowl, rub lemon zest with sugar until sugar is moistened and aromatic. Then add in eggs and lemon juice.
    • Bring a small saucepan holding a couple of inches of water to a simmer over very low heat. Place the metal bowl on top of the saucepan (ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and whisk the mixture constantly until thickens and reaches 85°C (at this stage your whisk should leave a trail through the cream).
    • Strain the cream and let it cool to about 60°C.  Pour into a blender or use a stick blender to beat in the butter, a few cubes at a time until well blended.  Continue beating for another 2 - 3 minutes to achieve an airy and light cream.
    • Transfer cream into a container and press a piece of cling wrap on the surface of the cream.  Leave the cream to cool at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge before using.  Just whisk the cream to loosen it before filling the tart shell.

    Tuesday, May 9, 2017

    Hong Shao Rou (红烧肉) or Red Braised Pork Belly


    Ingredients:

    1 kg pork belly
    90g rock sugar (or brown sugar)
    35g ginger, sliced
    dried chillies, cut into halves and soaked in hot water to soften
    4 stalks spring onion, cut into 2cm length
    2.5 cup water, approx
    1 tsp cooking oil
    dash of white pepper

    Sauce:
    4 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
    4 tbsp light soy sauce
    2 tbsp dark soy sauce

    • Cut pork belly into big chunks.  Boil water in a wok and blanch the pork for about 4 minutes.  Drain and set aside.



    • Heat wok and pour in 1 tsp cooking oil; fry pork until caramelised.  Transfer pork into another pot.

    • With the remaining oil in the wok, stir fry ginger slices, dried chillies and spring onion until fragrant.  Add to the pork.

    • Put the rock sugar into the same work and stir fry until all the sugar melts and large bubbles appear.  Add in 1/4 cup water and continue stirring.  
    • Add in pork and ginger slices, dried chillies and spring onion.  Stir to combine.  Pour in sauce and bring to the boil.


    • Transfer everything into the pot.  Add in enough water to cover the pork. Bring to the boil and then lower the fire and simmer for about 1.5 hour with the lid on. Occasionally stir to prevent burning.  
    • Once the pork is tender, uncover the pot.  Cook under medium fire until the sauce thickens.  
    • Garnish with chopped spring onion before serving.


    Saturday, April 22, 2017

    Baked Three-Cheese Tarts

    Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts
    Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts
    Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts

    Originating from Japan's island of Hokkaido, the most raved about Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart is a crispy, and buttery shortcrust pastry base filled with a top-secret mix of three types of cheese produced in Hokkaido.  However what we are getting in Australia is a close replica, made with local quality dairy product. Today I decided to try my hands on making Meg's HBCT recipe.  And I was over the moon when my tarts came out from the oven - they were simply beautiful and bursting with cheesy aromas. Thank you Meg for sharing the recipe!



    Tart Pastry:
    100g plain flour
    20g caster sugar
    50g cold salted butter, cut into cubes
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 tsp fresh milk

    • Place flour, sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add in egg yolk and milk and mix until the dough binds together.  Knead the dough gently into a ball and wrap it in clingfilm. Refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour.
    • Remove dough from the fridge.  Take a small amount of dough and press down gently with your fingers so that the dough is centred in the well. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.  
    • Bake tart shells in 180°C fan-forced oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. After tart shells are cooled slightly, remove them from the moulds and cool completely before use.


    Cheese Custard:
    (A)
    150g cream cheese
    50g mascarpone cheese
    20g parmesan cheese
    30g salted butter
    100g fresh milk

    (B)
    30g icing sugar
    12g corn starch

    (C)
    1 whole egg
    1/2 tbsp lemon juice
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 tsp sea salt

    • Bring a small saucepan holding a couple of inches of water to a simmer over very low heat. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water (you only want the steam from the simmering water to gently warm the bowl).
    • Place all ingredients (A) into the bowl and stir occasionally until all the cheese have melted.
    • Sift in all ingredients (B) and stir to combine.  
    • Add in all ingredients (C) and continue to stir until well blended.  The mixture will thicken.
    • Strain the cheese custard through a fine mesh strainer to get a velvety and smooth texture.  Leave the custard to cool completely before using.
    cooking cheese custard over double-boiler
    cooked cheese custard



    To fill the tart shells:

    Glaze - 1 egg yolk, beaten
    • Preheat oven to 230°C (fan-forced).
    • Fill the cheese custard into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe custard into the cooled tart shells.  Brush the top of the custard with beaten egg yolk.
    • Bake the cheese tarts for 7 minutes.
    • Remove tarts from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

    Note:  I managed to make 8 mini tart shells but didn't use up all the cheese custard. 

    Saturday, April 15, 2017

    Potato Pizza



    Recipe adapted from Sydney's Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion

    Ingredients:
    600g bread flour
    15g sea salt
    10g dried yeast
    15g milk
    410g water
    20g olive oil

    Topping:
    1 large Desire potato
    salt & pepper
    chopped rosemary
    • Combine everything in a mixing bowl.  Using a hook attachment, mix on low speed for about 3 minutes.  Then increase the speed to high and mix for another 7 minutes or until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and has a silky, smooth texture.  Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to prove until doubled in size.
    • Lightly grease two 36 x 26 cm rectangular oven trays.  Divide the dough into two portions and use a rolling pin, roll each dough out to create two 40 x 30 cm rectangles, about 3mm thick. (Do this in stages to allow the dough to rest and relax between rolls). 
    • Gently transfer to the prepared trays, trimming the sides to fit the tray and set aside for about 15 minutes or until risen by half.
    • Meanwhile, dissolve about 2 tsp salt in about 1 litre of lukewarm water. Using a mandolin slice the potatoes very thinly and put directly into the salted water, which will prevent oxidation and also helps to soften them. Soak for about 30 - 60 minutes. Then pat dry on paper towels.
    • Using a fork prick the base of the pizza, spread garlic oil over the base and sprinkle with cheese.  Arrange potato slices over the base and sprinkle with chopped rosemary, salt, pepper and cheese.
    • Cook in a preheated oven at 220°C for about 10 minutes.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2017

    Sweet Potato Bread Loaf

     


    230g bread flour
    30g caster sugar
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    4g (1 tsp) dried instant yeast 
    100g mashed sweet potato
    25g egg (lightly beaten)
    140g fresh milk
    20g coconut oil


    • Combine flour, sugar and salt together until well blended. Add in dried yeast and mix well. Add in mashed sweet potato, eggs and milk.    Knead until it forms a slightly sticky dough.   
    • Then add in coconut oil.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.  
    • Shape dough into a ball and placed in a bowl covered with cling wrap.  Leave it in a warm place to rise until doubled.
    • Punch down to expel trapped air.  Divide into 4 equal portions.
    • Rest for 10 mins.  
    • Flatten the dough and then roll up like Swiss Rolls. 
    • Place the rolls on a lined loaf pan.  Cover with cling wrap and leave to proof until doubled.
    • Using a sharp knife, make a slash on the bread and place strips of butter into the incision.  Then sprinkle some raw sugar over.
    • Bake in a  preheated oven at 180°C for 35 minutes or until golden brown.  

    the dough rose to more than double...

    Sunday, April 2, 2017

    Japanese Castella Cake / Kasutera

    Japanese Honey Sponge Cake
    Japanese Honey Sponge Cake

    This is my first Castella Cake!  I had no idea how Castella Cake taste like, but I am very happy that my first Castella Cake turned out so well.  Thank you Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids for sharing her Best & Fail Proof Japanese Castella Cake/ Kasutera recipe which she adapted from here.  This cake is definitely different from the normal sponge cake.  It is very moist and has a fine but chewy compact texture due to the gluten content in the bread flour.  
    I read that the traditional Castella cake is made of just four basic ingredients - bread flour, eggs, sugar and honey. However, this version veered from the traditional recipe which has no oil or milk in it.  I am sure the addition of oil and milk in Zoe's recipe makes the cake softer and moist.  
    Egg yolks mixture:
    50g milk
    30g coconut oil
    40g honey 
    55 egg yolks (about 3), room temperature
    40g caster sugar
    1 tsp vanilla paste
    115g bread flour (sift twice)

    Egg whites mixture:

    104g egg whites (about 3), room temperature
    50g caster sugar


    1. Line the inside of a (20.5 x 10 x 7.5 cm) loaf pan with two layers of aluminium foil then two more layers of baking paper over it.  
    2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Position a rack on the second level (from the bottom of the oven).
    3. Place milk, coconut oil and honey into a small saucepan and cook over low heat to just melt the honey.  (Do not boil it as it will curdle the mixture).  Set aside to cool slightly (about 10 mins).
    4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale. Whisk in the honey mixture.  Then sift flour into the mixture and mix until everything is combined.
    5. Beat egg whites (using an electric mixer) under medium-low speed until foamy. Increase to medium speed and gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and the meringue looks glossy. 
    6. Add one-third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and whisk lightly to combine until it is well incorporated (this is to lighten the batter which will help you fold the rest of the meringue through easily and more evenly).  With a silicon spatula, gently fold in the rest of the meringue in two batches.
    7. Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Gently drop the pan onto the kitchen bench from a height of 10cm (this is to remove any large air bubbles).
    8. Bake the cake at 180°C for 10 mins.  Decrease temperature to 140°C  and bake for another 1 hour **  Lightly press the cake with your finger, if it bounces back, that means your cake is done.
    9. Remove the cake from the oven.  Gently drop the pan onto the kitchen bench from a height of 10cm - to prevent shrinkage.
    10. Remove cake from the pan and discard the foil and baking paper. Immediately wrap the cake with cling film to keep it moist.  Store in an airtight container for at least one day.
    11. To serve, slice off the sides of of the cake with a sharp knife and cut into thick slices. 
    This is how I lined my baking pan


    ** 
    For my oven, I baked the cake at 180°C for 10 mins, then 140°C for 1 hr 30 min to get a beautiful colour.  
    Each oven works differently and you need to experiment with your own oven and adjust accordingly. It is always better to over-bake slightly rather than under-bake because under-cooked cakes will shrink after cooling.



    Saturday, March 25, 2017

    Creamed Corn Bread Loaf

    corn bread


    This is a wonderfully moist, soft and delicious bread and you can even eat it on its own - without any spread or butter.

    Ingredients:
    (A)
    250g bread flour
    20g plain flour
    15g milk powder
    40g raw sugar
    1/4 tsp (2g) sea salt
    6g instant dried yeast

    (B) Combine together:
    80g cold water
    80g creamed corn
    15g condensed milk
    30g beaten egg

    (C)
    35g butter


    • Grease a loaf pan (8x4x3 in / 20.5x10.5x7.5 cm). 
    • In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the ingredients (A) in a mixing bowl. 
    • Pour in the mixture (B) and knead until the dough is elastic and smooth and leaves the sides of the mixing bowl.  
    • Incorporate the (C) butter into the dough and continue to knead until it passed the window pane test (whereby the dough can be stretched into a paper-thin film without tearing and is translucent).
    • Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.  Flatten each portion of the dough and roll it up like swiss rolls and place them in the greased loaf pan . Cover with cling wrap and let it rise until it reaches 90% of the height of the pan.
    • Bake in a preheated oven of 180°C on the second lowest rack in the oven for about 45 - 50 minutes (tent the top loosely with foil once the bread is sufficiently brown).


    Tuesday, March 14, 2017

    Honey, Citrus, Ginger & Turmeric Tea


    You know you can't cure colds or flu. So, the next time when you are down with a flu or cough, instead of reaching for the over the counter medication, why not try this home remedy - which is made from lemons, orange, ginger, turmeric and honey.

    This soothing drink contains some of the best cold fighting ingredients nature has to offer. The lemons and orange are packed with vitamin C which works against infections like cold and flu.  The ginger helps to reduce coughing and soothe the throat.  Turmeric has a powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant; it also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.  Honey is effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient and it also helps sooth a nasty sore throat.


    (1)  You will need 2 lemons, 1 orange, a knob of ginger, turmeric and honey.  (Wash lemons and orange thoroughly).  Scrape skin off the ginger.

    (2) Slice lemons thinly.  Remove pips.

    (3)  Slice orange thinly.  Remove pips.

    (4) Crush ginger in a mortar and pestle.

    (5)  Toss lemon & orange slices into a large glass bowl.  Add in crushed ginger.

    (6)  Add in 1 tbsp of ground turmeric.

    (7)  Pour in 1 cup of organic honey.

    (8)  Mix everything together.

    (9)  Transfer into lidded glass jars.  Store in refrigerator.

    (10)  Scoop 1 tbsp of the mixture into a cup and pour hot water over it.  Enjoy!



    Source:  Flu-Cold Remedy





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