Monday, March 22, 2010

Heirloom Sugee (Semolina) Cake

First it was Tiger Wood. In our backyard, we've got Jerk Jack Neo. These scandals had got me wondering secrets that people keep.

Haha, lucky for my friends, I am only interested in their kitchen secrets.

That day, I was chatting with to my malay colleague... and not sure how the subject went to sugee cake. I said "Yucks", relating an experience I had with the cake after a baking class. I still have the recipe that was handed out but let's just say I am more than happy to forget about cake!

In any case, I have to say that Sugee cake is either a love or hate affairs. No middle ground.

My dear fren, in her feeble attempt to convert me, offered to give me the recipe that her mum have perfected after decades of baking. "This cake is one of her best seller", R said in a very determined tone.

She added her mum uses Planta (a margarine), not butter, to make this cake She swears the cake tasted better than to the one using pedigree butter Lurpak! I have never been a great fan of margarine, so I stuck to my guns.

That is, yesterday, when it was raining cats and dogs on a Sunday afternoon. Can't think of any exciting activity to do on a wet day, so I took out this recipe (with a little skepticism though) and decided to give it a go.

After 30 mins in the oven, I smiled, and knew I am going to thank my dear colleague the next day!

This is the richest, most flavourful cake I have ever baked. Its crumb is so moist and tender. The grittiness from semolina flour adds interesting bites! Even J who does not usually like cakes, can't resist a second helping.

Curosity got the better of me; I took out my workshop recipe and list all the ingredients on an excel spreadsheet to find out what makes this cake a gem.

Basically they contain about the same ingredients, using solid fat (either butter or margarine), self rising flour & semolina flour for structure, castor sugar to sweeten, almond meal for flavour, eggs for leavening and some liquid (one using milk while the other using water).

As for the method, the workshop recipe first mix semolina in butter for the flour to soak up the fat. Egg white and yolk is beaten separately before they are folded together with all the dry ingredients.

My friend's heirloom recipe uses a simply creaming method before folding this into a meringue.
From layman point of view, the difference is really minute... if you count the little more butter, less almond meal, 1 egg yolk and evaporated milk as their key differences

My dear fren, if you are still reading this, I have to apologise to you. I can't post the recipe here, but if you are keen, I gladly bake you a loaf. Just let me know, k.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Farewell Cupcake for Princess Riesia

I have not been baking much. Not for the erratically hot weather. Not (so much) for work. I am now hooked to the taiwanese drama 就想賴著妳; a modern Cinderella story between a cold hearted lawyer and a clumsy nanny. Very brainless plot, 101% right for my over-worked brain!

While most of my colleagues are discussing the K-drama, I will partake my lunch in silence, with a plan how to find time to catch up those episodes that I have missed for some silly reasons.

If not for a promise made to my fren, I wouldn't have moved my butt to make these cupcakes. These cupcakes were for a small farewell party in her daughter's, Riesia, Shichida class.

I didn't know it is so difficult to find these individual cupcake case. I went to SKP. Then to Phoon Huat. Finally got them at Lee Bee. But when I got home, found that 8 out of 10 pieces had crack lines. Tsk, so it's another trip back to Lee Bee to exchange them which was fuss free, fortunately. But my luck ran out; I found that I lost my transit link card during the hassle and bustle.

Aiyah, to console myself, I tell myself that the person who picked this needed it more than I do. So just let them enjoy the rest of the balance $35 value lah! *heartache*

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yummy Yoghurt

Someone gave me a pack of this Easiyo which is used for making yoghurt right in your kitchen. Only after buying it she realised that she also needs to buy this yoghurt maker which she reckoned it is more economical to just buy the yoghurt off the shelf... so I get to play with this packet of yoghurt powder.

I managed to make them in my backyard without the so-call Easiyo System. If you are also in the same predicament like my pal, this is want you can do:
  1. Boil 1L of water, and fill into the thermal flask. Leave it to cool until temperature dip to 50 degree C.
  2. Add the packet of easiyo yoghurt powder into the flask, and stir lightly.
  3. Close the thermal flask, and leave it undisturbed for 8-12hours.
  4. If the yoghurt still looks watery after 12hours, continue to let it ferment until it becomes thick and creamy.
  5. Once it is creamy like the commercial yoghurt, pour yoghurt into a clean airtight container and store in fridge.
  6. Consume within 1 week. It is normal if you see a layer of water on top of the yoghurt (that's whey). Just stir it into the yoghurt... remember what don't kill you makes you stronger! Heehee. You do not get whey in commercial yoghurt cos they added stabiliser to keep them emulsified. Yeah, homemade is best!

It was a perfect dessert for me to spring clean my intestine after all the rich and sinful food from CNY.

Here I added some fresh golden kiwi & muesli for a healthy treat! Yummy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

too simple to be good...

With the little success I had with the previos rolled cake, I went on to try make another rolled cake for chinese new year lunch with my former colleagues the next day.

This is another recipe from the book "Okashi". It has very simple ingredients - flour, sugar and egg. On a workday night, simple recipe is all I can handle.

I had a punnet of blueberries and sweet korean strawberries in my fridge:

Unfortunately, the simple recipe gives very simply disappointing results.

First, the cake sticks to the baking sheet badly. I had a hard time trying to separate the cake from baking paper... and despite doing this very slowly and carefully, I still have spots of cakes on the paper, and the ended up having a terribly pokey surface. It would have been better if I rolled the browned surface out, but as I have already rolled the cake while was hot, I am not able to roll them in a reverse direction without breaking the cake.

Then the cake contains neither butter nor oil. While it this makes it a healthier option, it means the cake is best eaten on the same day. Over time, it dried abit and the cake got crumbly with slightly rough granules.

In the end, I decided not to embarass myself with this less-than-perfect cake. I packed this for my breakfast for the rest of the week!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mickey and Minnie Cookie Party Pack

I made this for a friend - it's for her daughter's birthday celebration in school on Monday.

It took me 20min to make the dough, another 3 hours to roll, cut and bake them. When finally done, I decided to make some extras for the just-in-case.

So there goes another 2 hours. By the time I finish up packaging the first batch of cookies into the individual bags , it's 3am.

The next day, I thought just a little more to go. *Scream* See...I do not know how some of the fondant have flatten out overnight???
Oh man, I had to spend another few more hours to make bake, roll and cut... All in all, I took over 12 hours for less than 20 packs of these. I really need to be more efficient!

After all the hard work, these smiling faces make me really happy!

Friday, March 5, 2010

执子之手, 与子偕老

Here's more pix taken at my brother's wedding:
My brother with his pretty bride.
Sheen completely adores his pilot uncle.
My proud moment - the cakes get to share the couple's auspicious spot.

Sheen receiving an ang-bao from the newly wed.

No one touched the cake.... they said it is too beautiful to be eaten. I like to think they are right.
Sheen with the his uncle Joe at the evening banquet.
One last pix to sum up my gift to the couple:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Black Sesame Bun with Luncheon Meat

Ever since the tainted milk powder saga, I won't touch processed food from China with a 10 foot pole. That means forgoing my favourite MaLing luncheon meat.

We have it with everything during the growing up years. Eat them with bread, with porridge, with beehoon, with fried rice. For breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper!

C'mon tell me who don't grow up with luncheon meat???
Once I bought an ang-moh brand which, despite the high price, lack the x-favour. Recently I saw tins of locally produced luncheon meat on the shelf, I quickly pick up a few tins. There's even a cheese luncheon meat. Yeah, Sheen loves everything with cheese.
This discovery lead me to whip up something with our childhod comfort food again!
I used the bread recipe from here . Just add 45g of ground sesame powder into B.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Absolutely Cute Sanrio Cookie

These cookies are not only eye candies, they are absolutely yummy. Some friends told me they hate the plasticky tasting fondant... so I made these to see if they will change their mind.

You bet - they are now converts.

They told me these are better than the plain cookies.

Just the cookie to delight the little princess, IMHO ;-)
If you want these cookies for birthdays or just to delight the little ones, pls leave your contact in the comment below. Your details will not be published.
Simple Butter Cookie (Eggless)

450 g plain flour } sifted together
50g corn flour }
180 g castor sugar
250 g salted butter, at room temp
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract, optional

  1. Cream sugar and butter until light and creamy .
  2. Turn to slow speed and add milk and vanilla extract.
  3. Add in flour mixture slowly in 3 batches.
  4. Roll out dough into 3mm thickness and use cookie cutters to make your desired shapes
  5. Bake cookies in oven at 160 degrees C for 15 minutes or until lightly golden on edge.

Monday, March 1, 2010

...for the very first time

I had never made a swiss roll in my life before. The thought of it is quite daunting actually. The perspect of facing a broken roll is not very encouraging =p

But I guess for the good name of an adventurous baker, I should at least give it a go. Besides this recipe from Chef Keiko Ishida looks interesting.

It involves cooking the flour in the melted butter first, then blend with the milk and yolk to form a batter. This batter is then folden into the meringue.

I like cakes that are made with meringue as it tends to be lighter and fluffier than cakes made with, say, creaming method.

This is how it looks before being rolled - looks like a reasonable thickness.

I used the ripening banana that has been on the shelf last 2 days, and drizzled with lemon juice (to prevent it from turning black). I also drizzled generously Hershey chocolate sauce (those that we used for ice cream topping... for convenient sake) over the banana. Chocolate and banana is a match made in heaven. Trust me.

Now, rolling time! Horray, it went beautifully... not cracks, not breaks. Unbelivable!

The sponge has is soft and fluffy, and such fine texture. The sweetness from banana, and mild bitterness from chocolate sauce makes this a perfect treat.

My only gripe - its eggy and looks way too thin... a thicker sponge would have made this perfect!