Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Traditional Mooncake

The first time I baked mooncake was more than 10 years ago...when I still couldn't afford to pay for the classes. It was a free class that comes with purchase of National microwave oven, I remembered quite vividly.

A decade later, I decided to try my hand on the baked mooncake cos the snowskin, though easier and prettier, contains far too much sugar.

Traditional Baked Mooncake
What you need:

Recipe is from Florence:

Ingredient: (10 standard mooncakes-150g and 8 mini ones-25g)
300g plain flour (I used Hong Kong Flour)
90g peanut oil
195g golden syrup (I used Abram Lyles)
1.5 tsp alkaline water

1kg lotus seed paste
10 salted egg yolks (optional)
toasted melon seeds (optional)

Egg wash:
1 yolk + 1 tsp water lightly beaten and strain (I used super glaze)


  1. Mix peanut oil, golden syrup and alkaline water together in a big cup and stir till mixture is well combine. (It will mix better if you warm them slightly)

  2. Sieve flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in the warm syrup. Mix till a dough is formed. Cover the mixing bowl with a wet towel and rest the dough for 15 -20 minutes.

  3. Divide dough and filling according to the size of your mould. Shape the dough into a round flat sheet with sides thinner than the centre.

  4. Wrap in the filling and mould it into a ball shape. Coat it with flour. (I find it essential to coat with flour. The one with flour does have a clear imprints on te mooncake after baked)

  5. Dredge wooden mooncake mould with flour, brush away any excess. Put the mooncake into the mould. Flatten it with your floured palms and make sure that the mooncake fills up the mould nicely.

  6. To dislodge the mooncake, bang the mould on a hard surface with equal force in the north, south, east and west direction.

  7. Place mooncakes on a lined pan and spray the mooncakes with some water. Bake at 180C - 190C for 18 - 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cool the cakes for 15 - 20 minutes then apply egg wash and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes or till golden brown. As every oven varies, please standby to check on your mooncakes. This temperature and timing is for a 150g standard size mooncakes. (I didn't bother to check the timing, just look out for the browning, also I only glaze the mooncake after it is baked and cooled)

  8. Store cooled mooncakes in an airtight container and serve only after 3 days.

Salted egg yolks
I soaked the yolks in Chinese wine (紹興酒 or 玫瑰露) for 15 minutes.
I used raw yolks but you can bake it at 160C for 2 - 3 minutes.
If you are adding in egg yolk, wrap the yolk in the lotus seed paste.
(I steamed the salted egg for few minutes but find that it turned rather dry. )

I made these mooncake using the mould from Elyn... it is such a breeze to use. No need to knock and catch!

Made these few Pooh mooncake using the leftovers dough. Sheen loves them;

I used the white lotus filling from Phoon Huat this time... cos KCT was already closed when I reached there at 6 plus!!!

I do think that KCT has better paste!!!

Updated 2/10:

I am so happy that the skin turn out to be thin enough. And the yolk was quite central. Heehee. My only complain - should have cut the mooncake with a sharp knife!

Baker in Training

Were you at the Grand Prix circuit last weekend?

I wished I did. The tics are just hideously expensive... I sadly missed the cute Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in action. :-(

What I managed to do, instead, was to catch up on baking... baked a chiffon cake, mooncakes, some cookies (finally, without returning the softened butter back to the fridge), and some bread! Yeah.

Thanks for the pix in blessedhomemaker , I finally get some clues how to go about with the pleats on the sausage.

There are some very talented bakers who is able to innovate and use thier creative juice to bake many wonderful stuff for their loved ones... I am the unfortunate diligent ones who has to make up for the immensely lacking in innovation thru sheer hard work!

Yeah, I will practice, practice and practice!

While I was at it, I also tried another bread shaping which I saw somewhere.

Yes, sama sama, I need more practice!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Random Thoughts - am I losing steam in baking?

J told me his cookie jar is almost empty, so I took out a block of butter waiting for it to soften. And while waiting, I looked into the packed fridge, and I have lotus paste, black cherries, pomela, mango, strawberries....

Yeah right, I was suppose to bake some more sugarless mooncakes for my diabetics mum and MIL, a black forest cake for my sis and family (I made a promise during sis' birthday), and a mango pomela sago dessert, a strawberry shortcake! And to add to the stress level, Mooncake festival is less than 2 weeks away, have to fast fast bake and give them away. Also, Children's Day coming, need to start planning!

But I can barely muster enough energy... I just want to rot in the couch =p

btw, an hour after I took the butter out, I placed it back to the fridge again.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mum's Birthday

My family have very interesting birthdays - sis is Sep 9, mum's Aug 8. Yeah, August, which means this is another long overdue post.

Mainly I struggle to find things to write about my mum. Of course as a mother, she has many virtues... (Some I secretly wished my MIL had). Being a eldest to 11 siblings, she never had the chance to attend school, yet today she can read newspapers, and an avid sudoko player. For what she believes, we all have tertiary education without having to worry about finances. I know we owe alot to her.

Yet looking back, my mum and I actually had a rather turbulence relationship though they are long behind us. We are now cordial as a mother-daughter can be. Even then, I can't help feeling that it was due to the fact that I am a "useful" daughter. Anyway, let's not start my rants here...

Back to the birthday, she is a stauch buddist so most of the times she is on vegetarian diet. So the first prequisite is that the cake has to be eggless. An eggless cake is something that I am still struggling to get it right. (Plead: anyone who has a fail proof white/yellow cake recipe pls call me.)

The middle layer - mousse with cutted mango pieces


Eggless Sponge Cake
Adpated from Alex Goh's Baking Code

200g Butter
120g Sugar (original 160g)
200g Milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
240g Plain Flour
1 ¾ tsp baking powder

1. cream butter and sugar until light
2. add milk & vanilla essence gradually, whip until light and smooth
3. add flour + baking powder, mix until well blended.
4. Bake in 20cm round mould in 180C oven for 50min.

My Notes:

  • The cake itself has a nice aroma though it’s not light and fluffy. It’s flat in appearance and thicker in texture, sticks to the tongue and palate and tastes almost like a butter cake... I guess it is back to the recipe to research again.

  • To make the mouse, see here for recipe - just place strawberry with whatever fruits you fancy.

  • I omitted gelatine since they are animal origin, and hence not suitable for vegetarian diets.

Mum with her 2 youngest grandchildren.

Sheen said "thumbs up", but to granny or the baker?

Si-Ting will have a special place in my mum's heart cos she's the only grandchild brought up by her.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

On 9 Sep '09

Last Sunday at the Natas promotion, we booked a tour package for our holiday next month. Despite the many holidays we have taken, package tour is rare for us.

And after this experience, it really reinforce my belief not to take any package tour.

After putting down the deposit for the package, I got a call from the tour agent 2 days later to inform us that the standard room is already sold. We are advised to top up $305 for the deluxe room, which we agreed.

Another day later, another person from the agent called to inform me that the pricing was wrong quoted. The top up should be $500 instead!!! And what pissed me more was the guy's attitude sucks... instead of apologising for their mistake, he told me he's trying to make sure I secure the booking soon by agreeing to the top up amount. I was disgusted with the bad service and I requested for a written quotation instead.

You know what, the fax quotation indeed reached me. The time stamp on the fax read "5.12pm", and it says the quotation is only valid until 5.30pm the same day!!! Can you beat this?

Holiday should be a happy event... who needs holiday if it gives you more grieve more pleasure? So I told them I decided to cancel and ask for the refund. I do not know if this is the industry practice but was told the refund will take 3 weeks!

Seriously I think the whole event is a rip off... and at this point, I simply couldn't be bothered to argue with them anymore!

Cos I need to run off for my baby sister's birthday... this lucky gal is born on Sep 9!

Making the fondant the night before, and dry them in the aircon room overnight:

the cake is a eggless sponge which i think needs to tweak the recipe further:

swee boh?
my baby sister:

with her dear hubby:
my studious niece:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pandan Snowskin Mooncake 中秋月饼

The Mid-Autumn Festival (or in Chinese Zhongqiu Jie 中秋节) is a popular harvest festival celebrated by chinese people dating back over 3,000 years with dances, feasting and moon gazing. Mooncakes are indispensable delicacy on this occasion.
Since I used the disney cookie cutter to make puen kueh in Jun, I have been waiting to use them to make the snowskin mooncake! Finally get to make them today; planned to go Bird Park but the Sunday rain kept us all in!
Sheen, together with his cousin Gwen In, busied themselves with the new Ice Age 3 game which I just bought. So i am able to get on with my mooncake session pretty fast.

Within 2 hours, all the mooncake were done up and washed up. Now, Sheen & Gween In are asking to go to Kids Amaze at the Jurong Safra!
...ok ok, I am done...


Snowskin Mooncake

To make the Snow Skin:
150g Fried Glutinous Rice (Kou-Fien)
200g icing sugar (Iused 150g)
50g shortening (e.g. crisco)
1 knot of Pandan leave
180~200ml of water
Green Pandan Paste for colouring

First prepare the Pandan Juice:
Boil 180ml water with few pc of pandan leaves. Let it cool before weighing. Measure 175ml for the "skin". Chill well.
Prepare the snowskin:
1. Mix glutinous rice flour, icing and shortening together.
2. Add in pandan paste and juice.
3. Mix into smooth dough. Let it rest for 15-30min in the fridge (can skip if the juice is well chilled).
4. Divide to weight required and wrap in the filling.
5. Press into mooncake mould and chilled for 1-2 hours at 4-8C.

1kg white lotus paste
150g melon seed

1. Toast the melon seed in the oven until you hear the popping sound. Leave it to cool before use. 2. Roll out the lotus paste and sprinkle the melon seed. Roll it up like swiss roll.
3. Flaten the paste and roll it up once more. Ready to use.

To use the PH’s disney mould, use 20g skin + 12g filling.

· use the disney (pooh, mickey etc) cookie cutter for this.
· Replace equal amount of water with champagne, bailey or rum.

All the ingredients are avail at Phoon Huat

Baker's Note:

  • I saw the snowskin premix on the shelves at phoon huat; an alternative if you wish but it is just as convenient to make from scratch. Anyway, i also bought a pack. Will let you know how it taste after I made a batch with it.

  • I find the commercial lotus paste too sweet for my liking. Much as I wish to cook my own lotus paste filling, I dun want to add to my working woes... so I better just live with it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Best Chocolate Muffin by Dan Lepard

When I first saw this recipe by my favourite baker Dan Lepard, I went, huh Chocolate CUSTARD muffins!?!?

While blog-hopping, I found several other bloggers like this and this who raved how decadent and divine they are!

So when my childhood friend LiKian told me she wants to learn to make chocolate muffin, I know this shall be the one! (BTW, we both had a fun afternoon baking together, an additional bonus to the rich, light, soft, satisfying muffin)

Usually muffin are made with a mix-and-stir method, but this is different like chalk and cheese.
Soft, rich and chocolatey...yum! They look (and taste) so good with the chocolate chunks. Go try these out!


Here's the recipe for the best chocolate muffin. Ever.

Chocolate Custard Muffins
50g cornflour
3 level tbsp cocoa
100g dark soft brown sugar (I used 70g)
225ml cold water
75g unsalted butter, cubed
125g dark chocolate, broken small
75ml sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
125g caster sugar
125g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder

Make the custard first: place the cornflour, cocoa, brown sugar and water into a saucepan and whisk together constantly over a medium heat until boiling, very thick and smooth. (Mine actually looks lumpy now).

Remove from the heat, beat in the chocolate and butter until melted and absorbed (now, finally, smooth). Add the oil, vanilla and one of the eggs and beat again until combined, then add the remaining egg with the caster sugar and beat until smooth and thick.

Measure the flour and baking powder into a small bowl, stir together then sift this directly onto the custard and beat through until combined. Spoon into a dozen paper muffin cases sitting in the pockets of a muffin tray, heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and bake for 25 minutes.
I added the callebaut choco chunks on top. Li-Kian loves nuts, so she added heaps of chopped walnut as well. She later sms me to tell me her family loves me for these muffins!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Honeydew Sago 蜜瓜西米露

When I was making mango pamela sago (杨枝甘露) sometime back, J commented he rather have honeydew sago. He thinks that dessert should be "cooling" or "ying" effect, hence honeydew fits the bill better than the "heaty" mango.

When i was at the supermarket, saw this big yellow sun melon, so I immediately thought of making this dessert.

Disappointingly, the sun melon is not very sweet, though it has a nice crunch. Better stick to the trusty rock melon from down under. Trust me, it is sweeter.

Honeydew Sago
adapted from here
1 honeydew melon (approx 1kg)
175g sago, soaked
1 1/2 coconuts, grated
1/2 tsp salt

150g castor sugar
125ml water
2–3 screw pine leaves, shredded and knotted

1. Remove the skin from the honeydew melon, halve then scoop out the seeds. Shape the honeydew melon into small round balls using a metal scoop. Put any remaining melon into an electric blender and process until liquidised. Pour the juice into a jug and chill in the refrigerator.

2. Next, cook sago in a pot of boiling water until transparent. Squeeze thick coconut milk from the grated coconut, add salt to taste and set aside. Pour the cooked sago into a sieve then place under running tap water. Drain well in a fine sieve.

3. Combine sago, chilled honeydew juice and thick coconut milk in a bowl. Add syrup to taste. Place the honeydew melon balls into individual bowls and add ice shavings or ice-cubes before serving.

4. To prepare the syrup, place sugar, water and screw pine leaves in a saucepan. Boil until sugar melts. Strain the syrup before use.
I used the commercial ready-to-use coconut cream; i find it increasingly difficult to find the grated coconut unless I make a point to wake up early in the morning and get to the wet market.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bakerella's Milk Chocolate Chips Cookies

Over the 1 year plus of baking, I have collected quite a stake of recipe for chocolate chip cookie... and I think I more or less settled for those that J enjoyed.

But when I saw the post on Bakerella, I drooled. I mean, it looks like it will beat all my best chocolate chip recipe... and the very night, I forego my beauty sleep to bake this:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe source: bakerella

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar (i used ½ c but still too sweet for me)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk and set aside.
3. With a mixer, beat butter and both sugars until well blended.
4. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
5. Add flour mixture in two additions until combined.
6. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips.
7. Use a mini ice cream scoop to drop cookie dough on a parchment covered cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
8. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Tip: About half way through baking, sprinkle reserved chips on top of cookies. This is just to make them prettier so, some of the chips are seen on top.
Baker’s Note:
  • I bake in too low a temp, (160C) – cookie was a tad hard
  • Need to reduce the sugar further!
  • I gave this cookie jar to someone who has sweet tooth... he loves it!

65°C TangZhong Pandan Bun

This is another variation on a basic tangzhong bread recipe which I enjoy very much. I replace the water with half coconut milk and half fresh milk, and add 1 tbsp of pandan paste.

Maybe the proportion that I used is not right, the fragrance is quite subtle... in which case, i feel why bother with the extra calories (from coconut milk).

Btw, the topping is the sugar art which I got from Phoon Huat. Only then I learnt that they are not suitable fo baking... perhaps it is to be sprinkled over the baked and cooled bread.

Novice Bread Cutter

Am playing with my bread cutter to make some sandwiches for Sheen.

The bread cutter is rather big... much bigger than my Gardenia loaf!

Quite interesting, the bread combines to form a puzzle, which Sheen enjoys.

Sheen is rearranging the car, elephant, whale and dog!

Peach Mousse Cake - TC's 60th birthday

I was meant to to be on a week-long vacation but just fell into the prey of influenza (lucky not H1N1) just before I could have some fun. What's more, my notebook crashed while I was on vacation sick leave. I am not sure which is more tragic - mental sufferings from demise of the notebook or physical suffering from the virus!

Anyway, with the "loan" notebook from J, I am back to on-line, and can catch up on my blog... I was looking thru my photos, and saw there are some bakes dated all the way back to Jun! Gosh!

Like this one - it was for my former boss's 6oth birthday few months back. It is a significant event for me since he would also retire in a week's time.

But I was busy busy busy that I didn't have time to plan ahead. So it has a mad rush (what's new)... I original planned to bake the Cranberry Orange Loaf but the recipe didn't work out (read rant here .

Once again, after sheen slept, I stumbled into the kitchen, armed with the same old recipe. For peach mousse, just replace the strawberry with canned peach, and omit the strawberry paste.

For the topping, I used some gelatine powder + water.

Gift from the heart is always worth more. My ex-boss was really appreciative of the gesture and kept telling me that this is the first time anyone had baked him a birthday cake!

Haha, homemade stuff never fail to make an impression.

My Notes:

  • to make sure the gelatine is cool to room temperature before pouring it over the mousse. If it is hot when pour over, the mouse will melt, and make the gel topping cloudy.
  • This is the dun-know-how-many-times that I forgotten to add the oil into the cake batter!!! Taste alright, but will not keep well due to the absence of the fat.

Cranberry Orange Loaf

I googled and found the recipe from Hellmann's website, the producer of mayonnaise who has created recipes which uses the mayo.

The mayo chocolate cupcake (which I have been making) is good - moist and springy, so naturally I was drawn to this one. I wanted to have something for non-chocolate lover (strange enough, they exist!)

Sadly this one didn't make the mark - the cupcake turned out to be so heavy and dense. I am so sad that my expensive cranberries and walnuts are gone for good :-(