Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vanilla Xiang Si (Ogura) Cake

After seeing Jeannie's perfect Ogura cakes, I kept thinking of the Mocha Xiang Si (Ogura) cake that I have baked previously. Although my previous Mocha Ogura cake managed to survive from massive cracks and under-baking, I reckon it is still not as perfect as Jeannie's ones.

Oh no... I'm thinking too much and losing sleep because Xiang Si Cake AGAIN! - Silly me!

Early this year, Doreen from My little favourites DIY and I have been chatting a lot about Xiang Si cakes. She reckon that this recipe from corner cafe is always failure proof for her Xiang Si baking. I did a comparison on this recipe that find that this recipe contains 30g more flour (plus custard powder) than the one that I have used. Apart from the increase flour content and the addition of icing sugar, everything else seems to be the same.

Seeing Jeannie's Ogura cakes (at Baking Diary) gave me some improving ideas...

One is to use smaller eggs (60g) instead of larger ones (70g). I realise that my cake looks a little more moist than Jeannie's and Phong Hong's. I have weighed both small and large eggs and thought that mine (using the larger ones) might be a little too much for my Ogura baking.

Two is to beat egg white to near stiff peaks. Sonia from
Nasi Lemak Lover has kindly pointed out me that I should beat egg white to near stiff peaks, not soft peaks. I must have misunderstood her instructions initially - Oopsie!

Three is to increase oven temperature to 150 or 160°C after baking it at 125°C fan forced for 40 minutes (as advised by Sonia, Nasi Lemak Lover) as the higher temperature will brown the top of the cake better.

Last is to use a round tin instead of a square one for even heat distribution after seeing Jeannie's perfect round Ogura cakes.

With more thoughts and a bit less sleep, I managed to bake another Xiang Si (Ogura) cake with these improvements... Presenting my better vanilla Xiang Si (Ogura) cake! Hoping to bake more of this beautiful cottony cake with more variations in the future.

Finally! This is my improved Xiang Si (Ogura) cake!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sweet Corn Bread Rolls with Chicken Creamed Corn Soup

Mine. Mine. Mine...

Are the birds from Finding Nemo at my place? No. It is my son who is grabbing all these sweet corn rolls and put them all on his dinner plate. - LOL!

When I first saw these sweet corn bread rolls at Esther's Copycake kitchen, I knew that we are going to love these bread rolls and of course, we do... These sweet-smelling bread rolls are very soft inside and also outside. The combination of brown sugar, milk and butter is making these rolls and our house smelling extremely good. Taste-wise, the sweet rolls are even sweeter with lots of sweet corn kernels embedded inside.

Instead of the mixing all ingredients into one bread dough, this bread recipe requires two steps of mixing. First, it makes an initial dough which is highly enriched in egg and milk. After proving into double of its size, the initial dough is then torn into pieces and kneaded again with brown sugar, more flour, water and butter until smooth and elastic.

My son and I was having lots of fun shaping these bread rolls and extra-happy enjoying these delicious breads with bowls and bowls of warm and comforting chicken creamed corn soup.

Scroll down and you will see how easy these rolls and soup are made...

easy chicken creamed corn soup
Our simple and warming dinner: Sweet corn bread rolls with chicken creamed corn soup

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Funny" Cat Tuna Bread Buns

Funny cat tuna bread buns? You might ask... what is so funny about these cats or buns? They look like cat of course but why funny? "Are these Hello Kitty?" some of my colleagues asked. My answer is no. These are just "funny cats"...

It can be a long story for me explaining the origin and name of these bread buns but I shall cut my story as short as possible... Briefly, my son have a couple of these freebies Little Pet Shop toys from Singapore Airline and he likes to call them funny cats. As I was browsing through a Chinese bread baking book, The Second book of Baking for Beginner by Carol (a gift from Lena, Frozen wings), my son was excited seeing one of the recipes in this book and insisted that we should bake it because the bread buns look like his funny cats... so here we are baking these funny cat tuna bread buns.

As much as I am trying to read and translate Chinese language, I'm still lost in translation (like what I did in this post) - LOL! Good that this book has lots of good picture to illustrate many bread making processes and glad that I'm adapting well most of its fantastic recipes into my routine baking. Although both mother and son seem to be hopeless with our Chinese language, we managed to bake these nice and fluffy buns using a brilliant recipe from a Chinese baking book.
Ironically "funny", isn't it? - LOL!

Our funny cat tuna bread buns

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tres Leches Cake

Got milk? Yes, please! We love our milk and including the sexy celebrities featuring in this campaign... LOL!

Got milk? Yes, please! ... and plenty for my Tres leches cake.

Tres leches cake in Spanish means three-milks cake. It is traditionally a basic sponge cake or butter cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk. When butter is not used, Tres leches cake can be a very light cake and its most ideal texture should be moist but not soggy despite being soaked in a three-milks mixture. Knowing the descriptions of Tres leches cake, I wish to bake the non-buttery kind and hoping that I can archive its most ideal light and fluffy texture. To share the happiness (or maybe pains - LOL!) of baking this traditional Spanish cake, I had proposed to bake Tres leches cake as our bake-along theme with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena, from Frozen wings.

To me, I reckon that the concept of baking Tres leches cakes is quite similar to the boozy chocolate cake that I baked previously. The only difference is that the chocolate cake of the boozy cake is soaked in spiced Cointreau syrup and the Tres leches sponge cake is soaked in a three-milks mixture. From my past boozy chocolate cake experience, I have learned that I have to be patient baking these syrup-soaking kinds of cakes. Patient in term of giving the cake enough time to fully absorb the syrup for a moist and delightful texture.

For this bake-along, I wish to bake Tres leches cake in its most traditional way. As I was reading along, I have discovered a lot of interesting and modern versions of Tres leches cakes... From all, I choose this recipe from The Pioneer Woman which is kind of the traditional non-buttery one that I prefer to bake.

Based on the instructions of the recipe, I waited more than 30 minutes (and I did wait for about an hour!) for the cake to absorb the milk mixture... After waiting, I was excited to feast on my very first slice of Tres leches cake but had the "sweetest" shock after I had my first bite!

Is 30 minutes too short to wait? After 30 minutes, the sweet milky mixture are mostly still on the top, bottom and sides of the cake. Tasting the sides of the cake (at that time) is eating a small piece of cake with a few tablespoonful of condensed milk... Yuck! At that point, I asked myself... What should I do? Wait again? Will the milk mixture be absorbed into the cake further? Wait for another 30 minutes? Or wait for next day? *clock ticking*

What the heck... I need to eat this cake now and I can't wait. So, I trimmed off the sides of the cake and serve it with fresh cream and Mexican chocolate sauce to balance out its sweet milky taste. Glad that I have trimmed off the sweetest part of my cake and the cake has became not-too-sweet and delicious to eat and even in this chocolate-plus-cream combination. Despite my initial "sweet" shock, I'm happy baking and enjoying this light and fluffy cake. All I need is to be patient for thorough milky absorption... or taking shortcut by trimming off its sweet sides... LOL!

Tres Leches 3 milk cake Pioneer Woman
My Tres leches cake (without any sides)... LOL!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Essence of Orange-Chocolate Cake (THB)

Judging from everything of this cake, I wouldn't think this tastes and looks like a coffee cake. For mine, I would prefer to name it as an orange-chocolate yogurt slice instead.

This cake recipe is mostly adapted from the book, "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas. It is chosen by Eileen from Hundred Eighty Degrees for our 17th The Home Bakers bake. THB is an baking event organised by my friend, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours. With a group of gorgeous ladies, we are baking all recipes from the book, "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas until every recipe from this book has been baked.

For some reasons, I have made a few changes to obtain this final texture of my cake and wonder if the original recipe would yield a similar result. In the book, Lou classified this cake as a dessert coffee cake; a bittersweet cake with the combination of orange (including its peels) and dark chocolate. She uses raw orange including its peel and dark chocolate wafers to create a bittersweet taste and also processes the orange and raisins for a pudding-like texture. For me, I don't really like the addition of raisins into the always-classic bittersweet orange and dark chocolate combination and replaced the raisins with extra orange in this case. Furthermore, I don't really like the idea of eating raw orange peels in my bakes and prefer to cook my orange before baking in this case.

With the addition of yogurt, I reckon that my cake by definition should be more like a yogurt slice than a cake. It has a dense pudding-like texture with heaps of bittersweet taste. Overall, I'm feeling neutral with this bake. I like its orange and chocolate bittersweet taste but not a huge fan of its compact and dense yogurt-y texture.

Essence of orange-chocolate cake - very fanciful for a cake name!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Savoury Corn Bread and Butter Pudding

I like bread and butter puddings but my husband and son don't... 

I remember eating lots of bread and butter puddings when I was living in a town near London but I don't really bake and eat them much these days as I will be the only one eating them all. Not until now when I found this recipe...

This savoury form of bread and butter pudding is mostly adapted from this recipe found at Taste.com and it is a hit in our corn-loving family. Everything in this bread and butter pudding is in such a great balance. Taste-wise, it is cheesy and fantastic with no eggy taste at all. Texture-wise, the pudding is smooth, moist and not soaking wet at all.

"Mummy, we love your cooking! ... especially this one." - Hearing this makes me smile. No doubt at all that there is lots of thumbs up for this nice and easy corn dish.

easy savoury corn bread butter pudding
Our favourite corn bread and butter pudding

Monday, April 15, 2013

Maltose and Corn Square Toast

Boy: Mummy, I think daddy is the boss... and I'm the small boss.

Mum: Am I the slave of all bosses?

Boy: No! You are the adviser of all bosses.

... LOL!

It is true that my bosses at home don't get to choose what they eat at home. I'm the one who decide what to cook and serve at home. Most often, they are not fussy with my decision but on some occasions, I will get requests for specific cravings. Typically, my son likes everything with chocolate or corn and my husband likes everything that is Asian. This bread is a fusion of their requests. It is Asian bread made with corn and my son likes to call this the "corny" bread... LOL!

I have baked this Asian corn bread recipe for more than once using two different sugars, maltose and golden syrup, mainly because I thought that golden syrup is a great substitution for maltose... or maybe not. Maltose is commonly known as a main component for beer brewing and also commonly used in Asian cooking as sugar glaze for Asian roasts. On the other hand, golden syrup is a thick, amber-coloured form of sugar syrup, made in the process of refining sugar cane. Being a common baking ingredient and this is why I used golden syrup to substitute Maltose at first, thinking that buying Maltose just to bake this bread might seems unnecessary. Subsequently, my golden syrup and corn bread baking has eventually prompted me to try baking with maltose...

The dough made with either sugars are very sticky and soft. Although both dough are too wet to shape, both develop to form moist and nice bread texture. The one with golden syrup has a nice golden colour on its crust and inside with a QQ-spongy texture. The one with maltose is fairer in colour especially when it was baked using a pullman tin. It has a light crust with soft and fluffy inside. Taste-wise, the one with golden syrup is better with sweet and salty caramel taste whereas addition of maltose in the other loaf is not as obvious as the golden syrup ones. Interesting that two different sugars can produce two quite-different breads. Both are great but personally, I would prefer the one with maltose for its extra fluffy texture.

Now, are my bosses at home happy with my choice? With these breads, they are!

maltose corn square toast
My maltose and corn square toast

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Angry Birds Star Wars Cupcakes

"When I grow up, I want a house with one thousand storeys.
Daddy will live in storey two. 
Mummy will live in storey three. 
Storey four is my store room.
Storey five is my garden.
Storey six is my balcony.
My three girlfriends will live in storey seven, eight and nine and I will live in storey ten.
I will rent the rest storeys to earn extra money..."

I laughed hearing my son saying these... Funny that these are what my four-years old son wish to achieve? Three girlfriends??? Geez!

Another year has passed and my son is now FOUR!

The transition from three to four hasn't been drastic for us and I can't help thinking that it seems like yesterday that my son had turned three. Being four now, my son seems more conversational and opinionated but still loves angry birds like what he did last year. 

Happy 4th birthday, son! These star wars angry birds cupcakes are for you! May all your wishes (except for the three girlfriends one... LOL!) will all come true... Love ya!

angry birds star wars cupcakes
Angry Birds Star Wars Cupcakes

Monday, April 8, 2013

Deep Chocolate Pound Cake

I'm always a big fan of Sara Lee's pound cakes especially the chocolate one. I love to eat them straight from the freezer and also with a glass of milk... Yum!

Now that I have been baking a lot, I have stopped buying Sara Lee's cakes and desserts. Since I love chocolate pound cake very much, I wonder if I can replicate this cake... For this reason,  I have suggested to bake this recipe from the book, Bon Appetit by Barbara Fairchild or here for our bake-along with Joyce (Kitchen Flavours) and Lena (Frozen wings). Although there are mixed reviews of this recipe at Epicurious and its app, I'm still happy to give this recipe a try. 

As mentioned in its recipe description, this chocolate pound cake is indeed comforting and chocolatey to eat but I wouldn't think that it is a good replica of Sara Lee's. This cake is slightly dry and crumbly on its outside but smooth and compact enough to be like a typical pound cake. It has a nice strong hint of honey which never exist in any Sara Lee's pound cakes. In term of its overall texture and taste, I reckon it is very different from Sara Lee's cakes .

Even this cake is not the exact replica of Sara Lee, this doesn't mean that I can't eat this cake in Sara Lee's ways... Using this and this recipe, I have adapted two simple ways of dressing and eating my chocolate pound cake. Both recipes are superb but we reckon that the one with gooey marshmallows and chocolate chips is simply the best.

Before proceeding... I want to apologize for my blog disappearance for the past few days as I had to fly back to Singapore to attend my grandmother's funeral. I'm back now at Melbourne cooking and baking soon...

deep chocolate pound cake

Our Kiddy Corn Cooking

My little boy can be quite fussy with his food but never think twice rejecting anything with chocolate, sweets and... corn! - Lucky me?

My son and I have been doing lots of "kiddy-cooking" lately and here are two different pancakes that we have created using corn and cheese as our main ingredients in our "play-kitchen". My son and I really enjoyed eating both versions of pancakes that we have created but our big boss daddy was a little disappointed when he first saw these pancakes and asked "where is the meat?" - LOL!

The first recipe that we have used is mainly adapted from shrove Tuesday pancakes by Nigella Lawson, published in her book, Feast. In Feast, Nigella wrote that we can eat these pancakes with sugar plus lemon or Nutella but we ate ours with buttered corn and melted mozzarella cheese - Yum!

The second recipe is mainly adapted from a corn cake recipe from Epicurious. The original recipe adds corns, cheese, onion, red pepper and chilli into the pancakes but we only like our version being plain with corns and cheese. Nothing more and less - just corns and cheese!

Corn and cheese pancakes made with Nigella's recipe