Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thousand Layer Flaky Swirl Yam / Taro Mooncake (with custard filling) 千层芋泥月饼

I love eating any flaky kind of pastry. And of course, I wouldn't resist eating any flaky kind of mooncakes.

After satisfying my son with mini baked custard mooncakes, I like to satisfy myself by baking my favourite thousand layer flaky yam mooncake (also known as 千层芋泥月饼 in Chinese). Learning from I have made previously at here, I have used the similar custard filling with three egg yolks to substitute the use of twelves salted yolk in my yam mooncakes. I'm so proud of myself that I have this brilliant idea... LOL!

As I can be very fussy with the quality and nutritional content of the food that I eat, I like to bake something that is not overly rich and not overly sweet and yet something still smooth and delicious to indulge.


Balance! Balance! - This is what I usually tell myself. I have used the most sensible amount of sugar and oil to bake these mooncakes and not forgetting that I have promised myself not to compromise their taste and texture.

flaky swirl yam taro mooncake with custard filling
Flaky Swirl Yam Mooncake with Custard Filling
No hassle of getting rid the tough skin of yam! I'm using the frozen ones from Asian grocery.
Use a skewer or fork to test if the yam is cooked. If it is soft enough, it is!
Process yam when it is hot as cooled yam tends to be firmer and you might fry your processor!
This is always my son's fav!
The addition of colouring is optional but the contrasting colours will make the pastry looking very pretty! 
Shaping these are so therapeutic!
These are easier to roll after chilling.
Assembling the mooncakes
Can't see much difference before and after baking? I know that the mooncake is cooked when its pastry is firm.
Can't wait to try one soon!
flaky swirl yam taro mooncake with custard filling
This is how the mooncake look on the day that it was baked ...
After chilling, these mooncakes look even more beautiful... 
See this...
Chilled mooncakes... They look so smooth and pretty!

Besides their look, you have to trust me that these mooncakes are not overly rich and not overly sweet and being perfect in its taste and texture. We don't even have to cut each of mooncake into quarters as half of these mooncake can be easily consumed even as tea time snack in just a mouthful. My fussy husband said that he is totally impressed with these mooncakes... Are you?

Here are the recipes that I used to make these mooncakes.

Yam / Taro Paste Filling mostly adapted from Yin's Homemade

Instead of making a sweet and slightly savoury Teochew style yam filling with added shallot, I have chosen to make something plain basically just yam, sugar and oil. Here, I'm making my yam filling with a reduced amount of sugar and oil added but optimal enough to taste good and smooth.

Makes 12-14 portions of yam fillings
400g peeled yam / taro, extra if you need to peel the skin
120g sugar
70ml vegetable oil, preferably rice bran oil

Peel skin off yam thoroughly and discard the skin. Otherwise, you may wish to use the frozen ones which have been peeled before packaging. Make sure nothing tough is left on the yam as the tough bits will affect the smoothness of the paste.
Cut yam into pieces and steam until soft. To test, using a skewer or a fork to pierce the taro to see if it is soft or breaks easily.

Using a processor or a blender, process the steamed and warm taro until paste-looking smooth. Warning: Cooled yam tends to be firmer and stickier to process and can potentially fry your processor! 


Place processed yam in a large frying pan. Add sugar and vegetable oil and cook mixture with medium low heat. Keep stirring and cook the mixture for about 15-20 mins or until mixture forms a dough.

Turn off the heat. Set aside. Allow the mixture to cool completely. Chill mixture thoroughly in the fridge before using it as mooncake fillings subsequently.

Custard Filling largely modified from the book, Moonlit Mid-Autumn Festival by Choong Su Yin

Makes 12 portions with less than 1/4 as leftovers
25g butter, soften
60g caster sugar (more if you like your filling to be sweeter but this is ok for us)
3 egg yolks (from 3 large eggs, each 80g), roughly beaten
1 tbsp condensed milk
100ml cream (with 35% fat) or 40ml cream + 60ml regular coconut milk
20g all purpose flour
15g custard powder
10g tapioca flour

In a small bowl, combine flour, custard powder and tapioca flour.

Using a wooden spoon, beat butter and sugar until light and combined. While beating, add egg yolks one at a time and beat until combined. Beat in condensed milk, cream (and coconut milk, optional). Sift flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture and mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a heat resistance container and steam over medium heat for 25 mins with stirring in every 5 mins. Set aside for mixture to cool.

Knead mixture until smooth. Wrap custard in cling wrap and chill it in refrigerator until required.

Thousand Layer Pastry largely modified from the book, Moonlit Mid-Autumn Festival by Choong Su Yin

Among a few great flaky yam mooncake recipe, I have decided to use this pastry recipe because 1) the one from Anncoo Journal uses slightly more fat content that this but I love to use Ann's thorough step-by-step mooncake shaping instruction as my reference to shape my mooncakes. She is always so brilliant! 2) the very well shaped mooncakes from Nasi Lemak Lover uses ghee. I know that Sonia's mooncakes are prettier but for health and personal reasons, I like to restrict myself to use of Crisco shortening with less saturated fat. I reckon both Ann's, Sonia's and my recipes all make nice and flaky pastry. Which is better? I don't know and I guess the choice is really up to each individual.

Makes 12 mooncakes
For the water dough:
60g shortening
1 tbsp sugar
80g warm water
1/4 tsp vinegar
180g high protein flour
drops of purple colouring, preferably natural colouring (optional)

For the shortening dough:
180g all-purpose flour
100g shortening

To make the water dough, combine warm water, vinegar and purple colouring. Dissolve sugar in the vinegar mixture. Rub in shortening into high protein flour, add the vinegar mixture gradually. Combine and knead into a dough. Allow dough to rest in the fridge for at least an hour, then divide into 6 portions.

To make the shortening dough, steam all-purpose flour and sieve when it is completely cool. Add shortening into the flour and knead to form a smooth dough.  Allow dough to rest in the fridge for at least an hour, then divide into 6 portions.

To assemble:
Line baking trays with baking paper. Preheat oven at at 200°C or 180°C fan forced.

ith reference to my picture, wrap one portion of shortening dough inside one portion of water dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into an oval shape, then roll it tightly like a Swiss roll.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into long strip and roll it tightly again like a Swiss roll. Using a knife, cut the rolled up dough into half. Repeat the same with the rest of the 5 portions of water and shortening dough.

With the incision part facing downward, use a rolling pin to flatten each half of the dough gently and then roll it out to about 5mm thickness without tearing the spiral designs.

Meanwhile, divide yam filling into 12-14 portions in the size of a golf ball. Roll out custard filling into 12 portions in the size of an egg yolk and wrap each into each portion of the yam paste.

Place each portion of yam filling in the middle of each rolled out pastry. Wrap filling inside the pastry. Seal the end. 

Arrange shaped mooncakes on prepared tray and bake for 20 min or until pastry look firm and cooked. Allow mooncakes to cool on the tray slightly for 5 mins, then remove to racks to cool completely. Serve when they are completely cooled or chilled in the fridge.

Storage: As these mooncakes are made with reduced amount of sugar, they should be stored at room temperature only up to 3 days and can last up to 2 weeks if they are stored in the fridge.

Happy Baking

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe at this post.

 

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is FLOUR for August 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st August 2014.

If you are wondering what kind of flour you can use to participate this event, please check out this message from Diana...

"Flour is an essential ingredient in my (and I am sure, many of your) kitchen. It is the base of pastas and noodles, cakes and biscuits, or even as thickening agents in the making of a roux. The list of food items made using flour is endless. As such, we will be limiting the theme to mainly Wheat Flour, namely:
  • All-Purpose (also known as Plain) Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Cake Flour
  • Self-raising Flour
  • Pastry Flour
  • Wholemeal Flour
  • Hong Kong (also known as Waterlily) Flour
  • Superlite Flour
  • Top Flour
You must use one of these flours in its raw form in your recipe and you must use at least 1 tablespoon or 10g of these flours in your cooking /baking.

What after August 2014? Kit from I-Lost in Austen will be the next hostess of September 2014 and her theme is APPLE! Her Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday of August 2014 (2nd Sep) until the last day of the month.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe. For more details, please see this.

This post is also linked to the event, Best Recipes for Everyone August 2014 Event Theme: Mooncake hosted by Fion XuanHom's Mom.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rainbow Cake

Four years ago, I started blogging. I wasn't entirely sure why I did this but I just want to do it...

At first, I wanted to do something to commemorate and remember my yellow-flower-loving mum who passed away due to cancer in 10 years ago. And so, I baked cupcakes with yellow flower theme for Daffodil Day fund raising for my first blog post.

With the Daffodil Day theme in my mind, I baked an bittersweet orange flourless cake to celebrate my first blogging anniversary. At that time, little that I know that my blogging life is getting to be more exciting as I begin to know friends like Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings...

Joyce, Lena and I have been baking a lot together for our bake-along events. Then, I started Cook like a Star and subsequently, Little Thumbs Up with Doreen, from my little favourite DIY. My blooming yellow flower cupcakes and other baking seem to improve tremendously after my second anniversary of blogging.

On my third blogging anniversary, I was facing one of my biggest baking challenge... Egg tarts!!! I never know that these innocent-looking, yellow and simple egg tarts can be so difficult to bake but I never stop trying and eventually conquered this most difficult bake!!!

Four years has passed and interestingly, I'm still baking and blogging... Looking back, I'm extremely glad that I have started blogging. I have learned a lot from baking and cooking and have fed my family very well for all these years. Best of all, I have met many friends in my blogging journey!

Happy anniversary to Bake for Happy Kids!!! 

For my 4th blog anniversary, I like to bake something yellow... or perhaps something more than just yellow.

How about a rainbow cake for me?

rainbow cake
This is my rainbow cake!

Baking this cake reminds me of many feel-good songs, particular this one from the movie, Cool Runnings...

I can see clearly now by Jimmy Cliff in the movie Cool runnings!

Have you hear this lyrics before?

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshinin' day...

I really like the feel-good feeling looking at a spectrum of cheerful colours. It makes me feel like Spring is arriving.


Prior baking, I was deciding between this Martha Stewart recipe originated from a famous blogger, Whisk Kid and this BBC Good Food recipe. As usual, the loving-baking me analyse recipes a lot before baking.

Zoe's food for thoughts:

  • Martha Stewart / Whisk Kid recipe is super impressive but complicated. It requires SIX sticks of butter to make its Swiss Meringue Buttercream - Too much butter! Yuck! 
  • BBC Good Food recipe is straightforward and less complicated but requires 375g of butter to bake the cake and THREE tubs of 250g cream cheese to frost the cake - Too much fat too! Yuck! 
  • I keep telling myself... This is a feel-good cake. So, why not disregard the amount of butter, sugar and artificial colouring used? Just go ahead! Liberate myself and bake this cake! - LOL!
This is how I baked my happy rainbow cake... but of course with some moderation.


This classic white cake recipe uses reserve creaming method like how I made The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes
According to the recipe, the batter will look curdled.
The colourings that I used.
Like what the BBC Good Food recipe said, the colour of the batter is how your cake look, so be brave! :)
After baking...
Cooling my colourful cakes
Making this reduced fat frosting is easy!
Cake stand - checked! Spatula - checked! Frosting - checked!
Assemble everything together - HURRAY!
rainbow cake
I'm seeing a slice of rainbow here!
Mummy, this is super yummy! Thumb up!!!

Our rainbow cake tastes like moist butter cake, but with lots of colour! - LOL! With the light cream cheese frosting that I have used, the overall sweetness and texture is perfect for us!

Boy: Mummy, your cake is not a real rainbow cake! It has only six colours!
Man, staring and counting: Where is the indigo layer?
Boy: You failed!!!

As usual, my eyes rolled and remained speechless!
 

To bake this cake, I have combined the classic white sheet cake recipe adapted from the book, The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book and the rainbow cake recipe adapted from BBC Good Food recipe to form this following recipe.

Makes one 14 cm six layers round cake
(serve 6-8)

For the cake:
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
170g cake flour

150g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
175g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature

edible food colouring - red, orange (yellow + red), yellow, green, blue and purple

Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced. Prepare as many 14 cm round cake tins as you have (up to six) and line the bases and sides with baking paper. - I have two 14 cm round cake tins and baked six cake layers in three rounds.  

Whisk milk, egg whites and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter into the flour mixture until well combined like moist creamy mixture. 


Decrease mixer speed to medium-low. While beating, add in all milk mixture but gradually with 2-3 tablespoonful at a time. Beat until combined and the batter looks slightly curdled.

Weigh batter first to work out the total weight (Mine is about 630g). Then, weigh out exactly six equal portions of the mixture in six separate mixing bowls (Mine is about 105g each portion). Stir in each food colouring into each bowl of mixture. The colour of the batter is going to be quite similar to the finished cake. Like what BBC Good Food recipe said, be brave!!!

Scrape the coloured batter into the prepared pan. Spread and smoothen the top, and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake at 180°C or 160°C fan forced for 12 mins or until a inserted skewer comes out clean.

Transfer cakes onto wire racks and allow them to cool completely. Clean baking tins and repeat to prepare the tins and bake the other coloured batters accordingly.

For frosting:

350g cream cheese, 30% fat reduced, 22g fat per 100g
120g icing sugar

Using an electric whisk, beat cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy. Please do not over-beat the mixture as mixture might split.

To assemble:

Place 4 strips of baking paper surrounding the edges of a cake stand or a plate. Start by placing the purple cake onto the cake stand or plate. Spread 2-3 tbsp of cream cheese frosting evenly on the cake and right to its edge. Place the blue cake on top of the purple cake and repeat to spread icing on the blue cake.

Repeat layering of cakes and spreading of frosting with the rest of the green, yellow, orange and red cakes. Spread the remaining icing thickly all over the sides and top of the cake. Happy now that you have your rainbow cake? Wait till you slice and serve!

Note: To avoid baking with too much butter and cream cheese, baking a small 14 cm cake is my best option. If you need to bake a 20cm cake to serve 10-12, all you have to do is to double the amount of this recipe. Simple!
You might also wish to consider using the cake recipe from Martha Stewart / Whisk Kid as their 20 cm cake requires only 250g butter. Honestly, I reckon that this classic white cake from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book is pretty good!

Happy Baking


This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe at this post.

 

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is FLOUR for August 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st August 2014.

If you are wondering what kind of flour you can use to participate this event, please check out this message from Diana...

"Flour is an essential ingredient in my (and I am sure, many of your) kitchen. It is the base of pastas and noodles, cakes and biscuits, or even as thickening agents in the making of a roux. The list of food items made using flour is endless. As such, we will be limiting the theme to mainly Wheat Flour, namely:
  • All-Purpose (also known as Plain) Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Cake Flour
  • Self-raising Flour
  • Pastry Flour
  • Wholemeal Flour
  • Hong Kong (also known as Waterlily) Flour
  • Superlite Flour
  • Top Flour
You must use one of these flours in its raw form in your recipe and you must use at least 1 tablespoon or 10g of these flours in your cooking /baking.

What after August 2014? Kit from I-Lost in Austen will be the next hostess of September 2014 and her theme is APPLE! Her Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday of August 2014 (2nd Sep) until the last day of the month.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe. For more details, please see this.