Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One Bowl Carrot Cake

Just out of the oven.

Pretty enough for son's breakfast!

Many Carrot Cake recipe has a long daunting list of ingredients... Not this one. Just a simple healthy carrot cake in a single mixture. This is something you can send into the oven within 30minutes flat!

Moreover, this is a good way to incorporate the much needed vegetables into your kids diet. Trust me, they will be enjoying the cake so much to have noticed the vege it holds!

For a healthier version, I have used:

  • some wholemeal flour. This adds fibre to the cake. If you do not have this on hand, just replace with plain flour.
  • grapeseed oil - this is a better choice than butter though you sacrifice some flavour. Go ahead to use other oil/melted butter if you want.


11/2 cups of plain flour
1/2 cup of wholemeal flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of grapeseed oil
1/3 cup of milk
1/4 tsp all spice (optional)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 carrot, grated

1. Preheat over to 180C.

2. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

3. Add remaining ingredients, and stir until all moistened. It is ok for the mixture to be lumpy.

4. Bake for 20min or until done.

5. Frost as desired after the cake is fully cooled.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cream Cheese Bread

This recipe was first posted on : Kitchen Capers. This is a wonderful forum where the site administators and members are very helpful in answering your baking concerns. You need to register to view the posts.

I read from a book that wet dough will yield soft bread, so I was careful to ensure I do not get over-zealous in adding flour when kneading it... It was sticky and took me 30 min of hard work before the dough becomes smooth and elastic. The level of "stickiness" should be like touching the post-it pad; just enough tack but does not stick to your finger when you pull away. Sprinkle some flour on the worktop and your hand when the dough gets unmanageable but just bear in mind to use it sparingly.

After I left the dough to proof, I suddenly realised that I did not add any sugar. Sugar feeds the yeast, and hence an important ingredient to ensure a successful fermentation!

So how??? What I did was to quickly take out the dough and knead another few minutes to incorporate the sugar. Whoosh, that reminds all of us to always read and re-read the recipe to ensure you have all the ingredients. A good way is to assemble all the items on a table, and put them aside once you are done. This is a good baking habit and I ought to ensure I do not boo-boo again!


Ingredients :
250g bread flour
10g powder milk
15g sugar
3g salt
3g dry yeast (original recipe calls for 2.5g)
20g butter
50g cream cheese
160g water

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl until well blended.

2. Add in the wet ingredients to form a dough.

3. Knead dough until dough is elastic and smooth.

4. Place it in a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or cling-wrap and leave it to proof in a warm place till double in size (about 1 hr).

5. When proofing is completed, punch down the bread dough to release the air.

6. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle with the shorter end to be the same length as the length of the loaf pan. Starting with the shorter end, roll up the dough swiss roll style and place it into the loaf pan to proof until double its size again (about 30-45 minutes).

7. Bake in preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.

8. Remove bread from loaf pan to cool completely.

Baker's Note:
  • I have made mine into the individual roll so that it is easier for my son to bring to school. My son who does not usually likes bread finished up the entire roll. Happiness!

  • I am not sure if it is the cheese content, it turned sour on the 2nd day. So what I will the next time is to freeze all the dough until it is required. After the proofing, shape it into roll or any shape you like, wrap it individually with cling film before putting into the freezer.
    When you need, just take out the amount you required, thraw it at room temperature and bake as usual. This way, you can have fresh, warm and fluffy bread all the time!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cinnamon Buns

Just out of the oven. Notice that the ends were all coming loose. Gotta to ensure I pinch well to seal off the dough before leaving it to proof again.

The one on the left is how the cinnamon should look like if sealed properly.

This hot and humid season is perfect for bread-making! The original recipe was posted on

I have adjusted some ingredients (e.g. yeast, use oil instead of butter) and tested twice times. It works fine. The bun is best eaten on the same day. While it can be refrigerated, the bread inevidently dries out a little!

Some ingredients and the fermenting dough (you can see the moisture forming on the cover)

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons instand dry yeast (I use Bake King)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil, plus more for the bowl (you can also use melted butter or any olive oil)
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon (I use 5 tbsp cos I love it!)
3/4 cups unsalted butter, very soft, plus more for coating the pan

Glaze: ( I omit this as I do not like my bun to be wet and overly sweet)
2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the dough:

1. Combine the wet ingredients (including egg yolk) in a separate bowl. Mix well.

2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a spatula.

3. Make a well in the center of the flour and stir in wet mixture with a wooden spoon to make a thick and slightly sticky dough.

4. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic, about 6 minutes. Shape into a ball.

5. Brush the inside of a large bowl with oil. Put dough in the greased bowl, turning to coat lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

6. Turn dough out of the bowl and knead briefly to release excess air; reform into a ball and return to the bowl. Lightly butter a large piece of plastic wrap and lay it on the dough. Cover the entire bowl tightly with plastic and proof in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.

To fill and shape the dough:

1. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
2. Whisk the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
3. Turn prepared dough onto a floured work surface and press, then roll into 10-by-18-inch rectangle, with a long edge facing you.
4. Spread the softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving about an inch border on the side opposite you.
5. Evenly scatter the cinnamon-sugar over the butter. Starting from the long side facing you, roll the dough up into a tight cylinder. Lightly brush the clean edge of the dough with water. Press the open long edge to the dough to seal the cylinder.
6. Slice the rolled dough. I find it easier to do it with dental floss. Place the rolls cut-side-down in the prepared pan, leaving 1 inch of space between them. Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until rolls double in size, about 1 hour.
7. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 170 degrees C.
Bake buns until golden brown and the tops of the buns spring back when pressed lightly, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

To make the glaze:
1. Sift the confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl.
2. Whisk in the condensed milk, butter, and lemon juice to make a smooth, slightly loose icing. Add the vanilla and cinnamon.
3. Drizzle the icing over warm buns. Serve.

*Cook's Note: These may be refrigerated or frozen after forming. If refrigerated overnight, allow buns to come to room temperature for about 1/2 hour, then proof fully (until doubled in size) before baking, about 2 hours. If frozen, allow buns to come to room temperature, about 1 hour, and then proof fully (until doubled in size) before baking, about 2 hours.
Storage: Though the buns are best eaten on the day they are baked, they will keep, covered, for a day. They freeze well.

Bread Baking Tips

Potato water: Using left-over water from boiled potatoes as the liquid in bread recipes will help to produce a loaf of bread that rises higher. The cooked potato starch in the water gives a boost to the yeast, making it rise faster and also adds sweetness.

Store your potato water tightly covered in a refrigerator and it will keep for 3 - 4 days.

Cinnamon: Even if you LURVE cinnamon to death, resist the urge to add extra cinnamon to my yeasted Cinnamon Roll Recipe cos cinnamon has a direct effect on the yeast activity and in large quantities it will stop fermentation completely. Use only 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per cup flour in a recipe.

Dried Fruit : If using dried fruit in a yeast bread recipe, its best to soak them first. If not done, they absorb a lot of water from the bread's ingredients, resulting in a dry loaf. To prepare the dried fruit: place in a saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil under medium heat. Then, drain on paper towels before using.

Also, it is best to add dried fruits right after the proofing and before shaping the dough. Knead the dough until the add-ins are evenly distributed.

Yeast : Yeast must be fresh when used in a recipe. If in doubt, test the yeast by adding a teaspoon of yeast to 1/4 cup warm water with a little sugar dissolved in it. In ten minutes the yeast should have dissolved and become a sludgy, frothy liquid.

If the dissolved looks like a gray-brown, thin liquid without foam, its probably stale or dead. Toss it out.

Be sure to check the expiration date on the package.

To convert recipes calling for active dry yeast to instant yeast: Use 0.67 times the weight; or, for 1 teaspoons active dry yeast, use 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast.

Bread Machine : Bread Machine makes bread making a breeze as it takes out many manual work like kneading and mixing. But it requires upfront "investment" and space to store it. I have a small kitchen, so I cannot afford space to put in a BM. I do everything from scratch... good arm exercise for me!

Most of the recipe that I use here has been adjusted for manual. But you can easily google to find the BM-recipe.

Flour : Always have extra flour than it is called for in the recipe. You need the flour to adjust the dough to just "tacky", and not "stickly". Tacky means the dough feels sticky when you touch, but does not stick to your finger when you pull away.

Bread improver is usually a mix of lecithin, malt flour, and ascorbic acid. Used in bread recipe to improve the texture and shelf life of bread. Available at Phoon Huat.

Bread Soft keeps the bread soft and moist. Available at Sun Lik, 150gm $3.30

To create the crust that you want
  • Shiny Crust: Brush the top of the bread with an egg or egg white beaten with some water. You can also sprinkle poppy or sesame seed or oats.
  • Softer, deep brown golden crust: brush with softened butter or margarine.
  • Crisp crust: Brush with water. You may also add some salt to the water if your dietary allows.
  • Soft tender crust: brush with milk.

Science of Bread Baking

Every ingredients in the bread recipe are essential. To ensure success each time, do follow the recipe and all the measurements to a T cos baking is a SCIENCE!

If you are like me who seek to understand what each ingredients do in the recipe, this post is for you. Otherwise, just skip and go right to the recipe.

Yeast - This is the ONE essential ingredient that makes the dough rise and gives home-baked bread its wonderful taste and aroma. Other ingredients added to a bread recipe also add flavor.

Flour - When flour is mixed with water or milk, it forms gluten strands. How much gluten can be formed depends on the amount of protein level in the flour. Bread flour has the highest gluten-forming proteins but plain flour works just as well if you do not want to get a new bag of flour for a sudden baking urge.

Recipes with whole wheat flour have less gluten and make denser loaves. That’s why these recipes generally require some bread or all-purpose flour which increases the gluten and makes lighter, taller loaves.

Salt - Salt in a yeast bread recipe slow down the action of yeast and allows it to produce carbon dioxide at a reasonable rate, resulting in a finer textured bread with smaller air cells. This in turn allows for the flavor of the yeast to develop, as well as enhancing it.

Omitting or reducing the amount of salt in yeast dough can cause the dough to rise too quickly, adversely affecting the shape and flavor of bread, as well -- breads without salt tend to have paler crusts and a flat, dull taste.

Salt also adds structure to the dough by strengthening the gluten, which keeps the carbon dioxide bubbles from expanding too rapidly.

Liquid - A typical bread recipe will call for water and/or milk. Liquid stimulates the growth of both the yeast and the development of gluten. It dissolves and activates the yeast, it activates the protein in the wheat flour and blends with it to create a sticky and elastic dough. Some recipes call for liquid to be heated to a certain temperature; this is is to activate yeast. A too-cool liquid will slow or stop yeast action while a too-hot liquid will destroy the yeast and prevent it from rising - so follow instructions!
I usually use instant yeast which does not require activation.

Milk gives bread a more tender crust than water. You can also use milk powder. I like to use fresh milk because I alway have it readily in my fridge for the impromtu yoghurt-making. Whole milk naturally contains both sugar and more fat than other milks and the bread's crust tends to brown more quickly and the loaf has more flavor.

Sugar : Sugar adds flavor and rich brown color to a bread’s crust. Do not use sugar free sweeteners, unless the recipe is written to specifically include them. Sugar free sweeteners contain chemicals that can damage or kill the yeast.

Sugar also add sweetness and helps to create a fine texture and crumb ("tenderizes").

Higher sugar amounts increase the keeping qualities of the bread. This is why commercial products with higher amounts of sugar last longer on the shelf than do homemade breads which have a lower amount.

If too much sugar is added, it slows yeast fermentation. Yeast competes with the sugar for the moisture in the recipe, with the sugar always succeeding taking it away from the yeast. This leaves the yeast cells without sufficient moisture to grow properly. The yeast action becomes sluggish and slow, and the dough doesn't rise as it should. Therefore, sweet breads are usually dense and not as large as sandwich breads.

Eggs : They help make the crumb fine and the crust tender. Eggs also add richness and protein.

Fats : Butter, olive oil and margarine are just some of the fats you can use to make a bread tender and moist; known as shorteners, they help to prevent the formation of excess gluten and increase the keeping qualities of a bread loaf, preventing it from drying out too quickly.

Fats also add flavor and helps to increase loaf volume. Do not use light or tub margarines; if the first ingredient is water they will not work. Do not substitute oil for margarine/shortening unless the recipe calls for it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beautiful Cakes

If you, like me, love all things beautiful, then you must see the cakes in this album:

The owner is a Wilton-certifed instructor and teaching part-time at B-I-Y. I hope to attend her course 1 day, but for now, I need lots and lots of practice so that I acquire some basics before going to the more advance stuff!

Lemon Sherbat

Someone gave me an foolproof ice cream recipe which does not need ice cream maker, boiling or eggs! Sorry that I can't post the recipe here cos I do not have her permission to do so.

However, I did trial and error and had developed my own sherbat (read: sor-bay). It is not as easy as the original recipe but not too difficult either!



200g sugar (i made with 160g but it is very very sour...)
300ml water
juice from 4 lemons
1 egg white
  1. Boil sugar and water. Stop stirring when the sugar dissolves.
  2. Pare the rind thinly from 2 lemons.
  3. Simmer the rind for 2 min without stirring. Cool then chill.
  4. Squeexe juice from lemon. Add to syrup.
  5. Strain the syrup into a shallow freeze proof container.
  6. Freeze for 4 hours until it is mushy.
  7. Use the fork to break up the ice particles until it is smooth.
  8. Lightly whisk the egg white until it is frothy. Beat into the sorbet and return the tub to freezer.

Friday, May 16, 2008

All-in-One Microwave

An old friend asked me today if I know of "a magic equipment that can steam, microwave, bake, and even toast".

At the first thought, I laugh and was thinking if there's ever such an invention, it must have been a big hit by now...

But on 2nd thought, I realised there's really such a thing. I just hard to think harder.
Looook, this convection microwave oven is indeed the magic equipment:
It features:
  • Powerful Steam Function & 300°C Convection
  • 27L Oven Capacity
  • 1000W Microwave Power
Now... Can someone help me find an excuse to replace my trusted microwave, toaster, steamer and oven :-)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Steam Moist Chocolate Cake

This recipe was taken from Kitchen Capers, created by lady vanilla.

The original portion is for a very large cake. What I have posted here is already halved (which will yield a full square aluminium tray).

If you bake this in a muffin cake, reduce the steaming time by halve. As always, do check for doneness before removing from heat.

Taste wise, it is very moist and soft... very much like the famous Lana Cake. Due to the moisture in the cake, this cake does not keep very well in our humid weather. If you must keep it (with cake so heavenly, how can you resist finishing it up??? *Sigh*), store the cake in an airtight container and refrigerate.


188gm Corn Oil
¾ cup castor sugar
175 ml Evaporated Full Cream Milk
2 Eggs, lightly beaten with a folk
1 cup of Plain flour
½ cup of Cocoa powder
½ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Baking soda
½ tsp Vanilla Extract or 1 tsp Vanilla essence
1 tsp choc emulco

  1. Combine castor sugar, Evaporated milk, vanilla extract or essence and butter in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted, off fire and keep warm.
  2. Add the beaten eggs into the slightly cold Evaporated milk mixture and stir till well mix.
  3. Sift the flour,cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl then pour the eggs mixture over the flour and stir till well mix (cake batter should be runny).
  4. Heat up the steamer.
    Lined and greased a baking pan. Pour the batter into prepared pan and place the pans into the steamer and cover the top of the pan losely with a piece of aluminuim foil. Steam over medium heat for 45 mins. Cool the cake in pan before turning out for further decoration.

Happy Mothers' Day!

I baked these last weekend for a potluck dinner party at mum's house with my "herd" of siblings. I made the steam pumpkin cake (the savoury type which you eat for breakfast, not the angmoh ones!) on the night before. On Saturday I was bored and started to rummage my fridge... I found punnet of blueberries and strawberries which I have bought from Sunmoon the week before.

If you work in Raffles Place, you surely know Sunmoon - the nice little store that sells fresh fruits. Personally I find the fruits there very nice and fresh. You can often find items on discount. Raffles OL, do tell me what you think, k.

BTW, I suggest you swing by the store if you are nearby. It is located on the basement of Chevron. If you come out from the Raffles MRT station, it is just out of the station passageway.

Back to my bake, I run through my recipes and decide to try out the butter cupcake with these 2 berries!

It has small dome (just like the muffins, which cupcake should not have)... After some research, I realised that's because my oven was too hot. The top baked before the the centre, so when the centre is cooked, it rise and result in a dome. Also, I have forgotten to turn the knob of the heating to top & bottom. What this means is that all the while, only the top was being baked. PS: In the subsequent trial, I turn the temperature down by 10 degree C and use both top & bottom heating element, the cupcake rise very evenly.

I frosted the cuppies simply with vanilla buttercream which I read from "Magnolia Bakery", the famous bakery in the states! *I will post the link when I come back another time. As again, I lost my favourites so am lazy to go google for the webpage.* The flavours is quite self-explanatory, isn't it?

Verdict: anyone loves the cuppies... my 7 yr-old niece says yum-yum "yee-yee is a very good baker!"... She made my evening!

Oops, better not let it get to my head... Belated Happy Mother's Day!

Blueberry Cupcake (based on Basic Butter Cake)

225g unsalted butter, room temp
225g self raising flour
180g sugar (original : 225g)
4 eggs
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 punnet of Blue berries

  1. Cream butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add sugar and continue to beat for another 2 min.
  3. Add eggs gradually, mix well after each additional.
  4. Add vanilla essence and mix well.
  5. Add flour gradually, and mix well. Batter must be smooth. Add liquid if the batter appears to be too dry.
  6. Bake at 170C-180C for 25min.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Kaya & "R" rated-Coffee Cupcake

I can't decide if I should make the kaya or coffee cupcake... so what I did was to divide the batter into 2. So that day all my wishes were fulfilled!

For the kaya, I added a dope of Ah Kun kaya on top of the cupcake then swirl it in with a toothpick.

This coffee is potent - I replace the 60ml of milk with 40ml of Kahlua and 20ml of Bailey's Creme for the xtra strength and omph!

The pix beside compares 2 - though the batter, method is exactly the same, the cupcake is visibly different. The kaya one didn't rise as much. I suspect this is to do with the additional weight on the batter. But hey, apart from the look, the cake taste just as moist and fluffy as the coffee one!

I named this R-rated coffee cupcake because it contains liquor and I'm not sure if it going to have any impact on kids. On the other hand, I guess the alcohol must have evaporated during the baking process and hence should be fine... at least this is how I consoled myself when my 3-year old helped himself to the coffee cupcake!

Shhh, don't let daddy know otherwise I will be accused for Bevis' alcoholism in future!

140gm butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar (90g)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200gm plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
60ml of milk

Kaya ~1/3 cup

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together with electric mixer until it looks pale.
3. Add egg, 1 at a time until fully incorporated.
4. Add vanilla extract.
5. Add dry ingredients & milk. Mix until uniform. You can use the electric mixer.
6. Fill up muffin cups 3/4 full. Top each cup with 1 tsp of kaya. Swirl with toothpick.
7. Bake for 20min or until the toothpick comes out clean.

For Variation:
* Replace milk with Baileys or Kahlua or any liquor that you like. Be creative!
* For coffee lover, add 5ml coffee emulco.
* Instead of Kaya, you can also use nutella or peanut butter.

PS: I do not like sweet stuff, so all my recipes have been adjusted for a less sweet version. Feel free to up the sugar level to suit your taste.