Tuesday, June 30, 2009

double chocolate chip chiffon cake

Pardon me for the lack of posts recently. I've been baking, still, but not as much, not as often. Somehow getting real lazy after my holiday trip. Plus I've been doing certain experiments along the way, which I figured wouldn't be appropriate to be posted up here online.

I nearly gave up on this post as well when the cake slipped right out of the pan not long after I overturned it. For some reason, I decided to go ahead and take photos after realised how tall the cake had been. I'm pretty sure it slipped out due to underbaking. Plus, it shrank a little on the sides. A quick check on Rei's Chiffon "handbook" left me concluding that the egg whites were probably a little over-beaten.

Furthermore, I probably did not do a good job mixing and all the chocolate chips ended up at the bottom (now, after overturning, becomes the top)

Nonetheless, the texture was great except for the not so nice appearance. Itching to try out this recipe? follow me here!

Friday, June 5, 2009

another try

another try at the recipe I've posted previously. This time, I decided to bake it in a smaller pan and following the original recipe to the T. that is, a pure, simple, butter cake.

The original recipe called for baking in an 8" cake pan. I thought to myself, since it would be some sort of an experiment/try-out, I decided to half the recipe and bake it in a 6" cake pan. This way, less ingredients used, less damage to my wallet + waistline. Sounds pretty good huh?

This time, I managed to whip the egg whites to soft peaks stage (or so i THINK it is the correct soft peak stage). My oven played tricks on me and the temperature was really not what it was supposed to be. As a result, the cake split open at the top while the interior was still underbaked. =X

It really turned out to be an experiment of some sort as I had no idea how long should I have baked it for. I'm still in the midst of figuring out my oven's temperment (big sigh) and wondering if my oven thermometer is calling for a retirement soon. (I dropped it once, and i'm not unsure if it functions as well as before)

Whatever factor it was, the cake turned out pleasing, soft and fluffy, moist and buttery. I felt, however, that there was a tinge of sugar overdose in there. *shrugs*

p.s: comparing to the butter cake I had at some hotel, i can safely say, I like mine alot better. I think D has to agree on this..right? haha!

Yummy Butter Cake

125 gm. Butter
50 gm. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Essence
45 gm. Egg Yolk
1-1/2 Tbsp. Evaporated milk
100 gm. Cake flour
2.5 gm. Baking powder (about 1/2 tsp)
a pinch of salt
80 gm. Egg White
50 gm. Sugar

(1) Grease a 6” 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) 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.

adapted from 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. Turn over the cake immediately after removing from the oven to prevent it from sinking and shrinking from the sides.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

crazy me

What set out to be an attempt of nice little chicken pies turned out wayy wayy different.

My sister was asked to bring food along for a "picnic" cum birthday celebration of our new friends, a cute German/Hungarian couple who are here in Singapore for 2 weeks to spend their Honeymoon. Sweet huh..

The initial plan was to bake some yoghurt cupcakes (Anna's recipe), which was super fast and simple, but most importantly, super yummy. Somehow, things got evolved to making normal egg tarts with shortcrust pastry. However, I decided that I would probably try my hand at chicken pie and test out a puff pastry recipe which i once made like eons ago. Coming to the puff pastry recipe, I attempted it probably like almost 2 or 3 years ago, using pastry magarine at that time. The pastry rose so beautifully in the oven, it could easily pass off as pastries sold by Polar puffs and cake. Serious. This time, I decided to be more adventurous and use butter instead. Bad Choice. Wrong Move.

As you know, the weather here in Singapore has been pretty quirky and annoying lately. It's be sooo hot and warm, you probably can't survive without the invention of the air-conditioner. So, trying to be smart, I made sure the butter was rock hard, super cold. I thought to myself, that'd probably do the trick and avoid running into gooey, oily, melting butter when I roll out the dough. Wrong. The butter was so hard, I could not roll it! So, I tried to incoporate it by using my rolling pin and banging it into the dough. The nice "envelope" package I made gave way as the edges of the hard butter poked through the dough as if it was eager to return to the hot humid weather outside. I scrambled to patch up the holes and made do with whatever I could. Onwards, things went alright, but not the best i expected. (this was becuase I rolled the dough as lightly and gently as I could. ) Come the time I needed to roll it out thinly to cut out the shapes, I knew I couldn't run away anymore. As expected, the dough busted at the corners and edges and slabs of butter oozed out. Heck! I had to make do with what I had.

Bearing in mind that you gotta let the dough rest in between turns, my conversation with my sister spiralled and i ended up making portuguese egg tarts. From cupcakes, to normal shortcrust egg tarts, to chicken pie and alas! portuguese egg tarts. What a pair of indecisive sisters. Zzz

My previous attempt at portuguese egg tarts turned out horrid! Goodness knows why I picked that recipe (probably becuase of the picture). It involved grated cheese! yes! grated cheese in the egg custard filling. Yuck! it taste nothing, i emphasize nothing like a normal egg tart, much less being able to pass off as a portuguese egg tart. Feeling defeated and lousy after that attempt, I don't know where I got that courage to decide on a portuguese egg tart filling in 15 mins. Yes, you guessed it, I was browsing thru the web for recipes while waiting for the dough to rest in between turns.

Now back to the puff pastry dough, it was soft, oily and buttery. BUT, as i cut through the dough i could still see some layers and prayed hard they'd work. A few tests, and it came out o...k.. Not like perfect, nice puffs, but it did puff up and taste good. Just that, they looked horrid. So now, came the real test. Combination of my last minute found portuguese egg custard filling recipe + not so successful puff pastry. And...

It huffed and puffed in the oven with the VERY uneven, ugly, cut-out pastry sides with the super pale egg custard filling :S which almost looks white. In the end....

This was what I ended up with. I must say I was really pleased! (except for the appearance)
Signature brown spots (checked!)
Crispy puff pastry (checked!)
The only thing left, was the taste test. I'm suffering from huge ulcers, so I had to get my sister to test it. It passed the test! The pastry was fragrant, crispy (ok maybe a little too crispy) and flaky. The custard was cooked just right and tasted like portuguese egg tarts (quoting my sister)
And so, I rushed to prepare more egg custard filling. (remember that was a trial?) Lo and behold, my sister told me there might be more people and asked if i prepared enough tarts. YIKES! what now?! So I told her, i'll try preparing MORE tarts, but the normal shortcrust ones. It was IMPOSSIBLE to do another puff pastry. Too bad, I was too slow and inefficient, I had to make do with whatever amount of tarts I had.

Feeling annoyed, I decided to make more egg tarts! pandan ones to be exact. I made these tarts before, during my exams and didn't have time to snap picture and blog about them. Those tarts looked better, there were a much brighter green and looked darker. I was really not pleased at all with how the colours turned out this time but oh well! no one to blame except me! I added too much water to blend with the pandan leaves as a result, the colours were far lighter than it should have been. Not to despair, these tarts were super fragrant, bursting with pandan flavour =)
In fact, while taking the pictures, I kind of liked how the pastel effect of the green turned out. Feels like a perfect little afternoon tea treat. With nice cold tea. hot tea doesn't go lah..the weather so hot. bahhh..
This pandan egg tart recipe is taken from aunty yochana. The previous time, I attempted it with the crust recipe here. This time, I decided to use the crust recipe here instead. It turned out that the first was a little more fragrant and buttery and softer. The second one was a little hard, but still nice and edible. =)
*Update (03/06/09): Tried out the crust recipe from the pandan egg tart recipe here again yesterday and can safely say, this crust recipe is a definite keeper! Just remember not to make the crust too thin, or your tart might crumble before it reaches your mouth. Tried out this crust recipe with another egg custard recipe which is yummy, easy and super smooth. Will post the recipe when I've perfected the sugar content and bake timings.

Despite the tarts being a little hard (which I suspect might have been overbaked), the egg custard was still fragrant nice and smooth. =) I still need to improve on my moulding skills. But, I blame it on me being tired after standing in the kitchen for almost the whole day. heh..

I love this picture! Doesn't it just reflect a super relaxed, nice afternoon tea treat? hahaha! Me and my tai-tai dreams again =ppp
Do try out these tarts if you can afford the time! They're relatively easy to put together, just a little effort in moulding the dough into the tart. These are definitely something you can make to impress! Special home-made, unique-flavoured, pandan egg tarts. =D
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