Friday, April 10, 2009

marble cake

ok..this was something really spontaneous. I had attempted butter cakes sometime ago in between my "mini hitiaus" but was just too lazy to take pics and post about them. Besides, they were nothing fantastic. Plus, I was upset that i couldn't even handle butter cakes.

speaking of how did I arrive at wanting to make butter cakes, Ian's grandma was asking me at the party if I made butter cakes and if i did how do I make it etc etc..And it struck to me that "hey! you haven't even attempted a simple butter cake!". She asked of a trusted recipe, if i had one, and so of course, I went home and made a search for it. I remember reading from Rei's blog about some marble cake she made to be given away as gifts for her son's first month celebration. Which received RAVE reviews and that she cited her recipe back to aunty yochana's butter cake. So, that's how it all started.

The recipe couldn't look any simpler BUT when I attempted, it failed. it was still edible nonetheless, but i seemed to have encountered all the problems other readers left on the comments section for aunty yochana's post! how devasting right? =( k, that aside, it left me worried, restless, and 不甘心. Everything felt weird right from the start, perhaps I underestimated the recipe and overestimated my abilities. Aunty yochana's recipe uses the egg separation method which is supposed to work wonderfully! (just like a chiffon right, so i thought it should be a breeze since i succeeded at chiffons before, but no, i did not.)

1. everything went well with creaming butter and sugar and adding in eggs. trouble started when i added in the flour. it literally became a dough.

2. Recipe stated to whip whites to soft peaks. I underwhiped and it totally had no effect on lightening the "dough" mixture.

3.the batter ended up like a pancake/waffle batter. Zzz.

4.that spelled D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R

5. cake rose, and CRACKED.

6. i had the "bubbles" problem all over the cake surface.

The second attempt went on much much better, i whipped the egg whites longer, and the butter/egg mixture was much workable, and this time, it resembled a cake batter. however, i left the cake to cool in the pan (as I was rushing for school and wasn't sure if i should cool it or remove it). When I was back from school. the cake shrank from the sides and in height. though i thought the cake was gonna be some dense pound cake, it did not! haha..and boy was I glad my mum polished off by bringing it to her friends for some gathering hehe!

so after those 2 attempts, I couldn't consider myself having succeeded with this supposedly darn good recipe.

After a chat over msn with Ian's mummy and passing her the links to the recipe, i convinced myself that yes, now's the time to try it again. So this time, i did a marble cake. I've always loved marble cakes and always wanted to bake them. I'm aware of how simple it is actually to obtain those lovely marbles but have just not gotten around to making it. So, everything went well, batter looked right, and marbling was pretty =)

horror started when i removed the foil that i used to tent the cake. saw that bare patch? sigh. it ripped off the "skin" which bore the great marble design. shade! (which is what the Germans would say) so, i totally wouldn't have known how the marbling would have turned out right? wrong! there was a tiny speck which wasn't affect by the foil and i could see remnents of how it would have been. So, I just had to look at that small patch and imagine it on the whole cake =X

Thank goodness the interior of the cake was ok, not the prettiest i've seen, but still passable lah.. yea? =p The cake was soft, light and not crazily oily.

I happened to come across a baking book bought long ago which had quite detailed write-ups on chiffon/sponge/butter cake methods and tips.

Before I get real naggy, lemme first post this really good recipe =) (with a few slight modifications of my own)


250 gm. Butter
80 gm. Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Essence
90 gm. Egg Yolk
2 Tbsp. Evaporated milk
200 gm. Cake flour
5 gm. Baking powder (about 1 tsp)
a pinch of salt
160 gm. Egg White
100 gm. Sugar

1 tbsp Cocoa Powder (sifted)
2 tbsp Evaporated Milk

*Mix thoroughly, warm up the milk if you find the cocoa powder difficult to dissolve

(1) Grease an 8” cake tin. Preheat oven to 180C. Beat butter, margarine, sugar, salt and vanilla essence until light and creamy.
(2) Add in the egg yolk one at a time and beat until creamy. Add in evaporated milk.
(3) Fold in sieved cake flour and baking powder.
(4) Whisk egg white and sugar to soft peaks and fold gently into the creamed butter mixture. You can fold in 1/3 of the egg whites first to lighten the creamed butter mixture followed by the rest of the egg whites.
(5) Spoon about half of the mixture into a separate bowl. Add in the cocoa mixture and stir well.
(6) Drop alternate spoonfuls of mixtures into an 8" round pan. Use a chopstick to pull backwards and forward through the mixture.
(7) Bake cake for 1 hour in oven at 180 deg.C or when the skewer comes clean. Turn the cake onto wire rack to cool. *I tent the cake with foil from the start of baking and remove it towards the last 10 minutes of so for the surface to brown. Oil the foil to prevent the batter from sticky to the foil.

adapted from Rei and aunty yochana

Some tips..
1. Do not over/under cream butter sugar mixture. Over creaming results in a cake with a sunken center. Under creaming results in a dense, heavy cake
2. Do not over/under bake. Over baking results in a badly cracked, dry cake or cake that shrinks upon cooling resulting in a cake with less volume. Under baking results in a heavy, wet cake.
3. personally, i find that it is ok whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks and i prefer to do so. instead of soft peaks. update: whipping the egg whites till stiff may make the cake dry. I have yet to verify this, so I guess just stick to soft peaks for the time being
4. Turn over the cake immediately after removing from the oven to prevent it from sinking and shrinking from the sides.

Monday, April 6, 2009

more bread!

Speaking of pork floss buns, what do I usually associate it too..hmm..yes, you guessed it, breadtalk. Well, pork floss isn't my no.1 favourtite/comfort food. (I think i'm a little odd right, keep baking stuff i don't like to eat) I used to LOVE pork floss when I was a kid..especially when it is sandwiched between 2 bread that's been spread with a thick slab of butter. The combination is..mmm..heavenly..I think i must have had too much of it too often, that somehow, i grew to dislike it instead.

I guess, now I'm slowly trying to re-kindle my love for it haha! Especially since I made these buns. To be honest, I havent tried a single pork floss bun from breadtalk nor from any bakery at all. So, I asked my siblings about it, about how it tastes etc. They all mentioned this mysterious custart like, not really butter, not really mayo, dunno-what-is-it thing. Just then, I recalled coming across this blog which mentioned about the "transparent mayonaise" breadtalk uses. tada! that must be it..

I jumped at the recipe and made it. It looked transparent to me, and looked like those they used to "stick" the pork floss. (I'm sure you've observed those breadtalk people making them) sister said, "why so sweet ah?" sigh..

Just then, I had one bun which i had mistakenly wrapped in butter instead of the transparent mayo.. and that one, my sister nodded her head in agreement while she gobbled the bread. (ok..maybe she was hungry) So it struck me that, why bother making the transparent mayo? Just fall back on the heavenly match between butter and pork floss. One try of that bun with a mistake brought back some childhood memories..and I THINK i might just have began falling in love with pork floss again =p

I made these buns with the sponge and dough method again but this time, it didn't feel as successful as the other time. The songe portion felt like it overproofed as I could smell hints of alcohol. I went ahead as I have already prepared the ingriedients for the dough portion. To my surprise, while interviewing my sis abt the bread, she mentioned that this time, the "bread taste" was heart skipped a beat, though I was puzzled as to why (since the dough kinda overproofed) It still remains as a mystery as of now but I'm glad with how it turned out =p
These are really good out of the oven, really soft. And goes really well with a nice hot cup of coffee/tea/milo/etc This time, no bread improver was used but the texture was still really really good..=D


I didn't really realise that it has been quite a while that I last blogged. I haven't stopped baking totally and i'm still alive and kicking. =p
I've baked stuff in between but somehow, with overwhelming school work and classes, I couldnt find the energy to take pics and to upload and much less blog about them. I then started to regret bring lazy. So here I am, with my latest experiments! durians!
I personally am not a fan of durian. I don't hate it. Neither do I love it. I eat anything related to durian (durian cakes, durian puff, etc) but not just durian alone. weird huh. In any case, I decided to bake some durian muffins, using a banana muffin recipe and of course, substituting the banana puree with durian puree.
Had a guest photographer today and so, the pics uploaded are all taken by him =p The tops looked a little too brown and burnt, but they tasted perfectly alright. It seemed like the durian was too thick and heavy and the batter was super duper thick. I guess i was overly generous with the durian and it tasted more like 榴莲糕 rather than a muffin =X
On the very same day, I proceeded to prepare the ingredients for a durian chiffon cake while the muffins was in the oven. Again, the yolk batter was super duper thick due to the thick, dry fibrous durian. I still carried on nonetheless. This time, I baked it in a normal cake tin, to experiment and to see how things goes. A couple of email exchanges with Rei, I was told to reduce one egg white and bake for about the same time.
This was a bad bad one..
1. The cake didnt rise much at all. Fill only like..2/3 of the cake tine height? =(
2. The cake clinged well to the sides upon overturning the pan..BUT..slipped off slowly and silently after 15 mins or so..=((
3. The durian puree was so thick and chunky that you could even see the spots they've occupied in the cake!
4. You could hardly taste the texture of chiffon, unless you bite into an area without the durian chunks.
5. the weird thing is, the texture of chiffon was largely present though it slipped off the tin..hmmm..what went wrong? the durian too heavy?? beats me!
This brings me to my conclusion about baking with durian..though still very unsure as to why..
Lesson #1:
Durian puree is much thicker, drier and crazily fibrous as comapred to banana. never, do a 1:1 substitution

Lesson #2:
Always process the durian puree in a blender/food processor to make sure it is soft and smooth
Hopefully i'd have a much better durian attempt..not too soon la..durian expensive heh..
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