Friday, March 19, 2010

Bake Sale!!!!

I believe the poster is pretty self-explanatory. Apologies for the last minute notice!

If you'd like to try out the goodies I bake, come on down to The Forum @ NUS on the 22nd or 23rd March 2010.

Sweet Couture Fans are entitled to a 10% discount so Be a Fan today! =D

See you there!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chinese New Year Chronicles: Part III - better late than never

Okayyy, blogger just played a prank on me and the carefully composed blog post at the expense of my beauty sleep rest had just disappeared. just like that. Bummer! I've given up on re-loading the pictures that took forever to load and my brain cells which were all half-dead half-asleep while waiting.

But lucky you! I just couldn't bring myself to miss out on this post since it is also going to be my first baking video debut. yea yea, no biggie, especially since youtube has TONS of them. But no! it's special to me and I obviously hope it'd be of some help to you, you and you!

I know I know, its wayyy past CNY but hey! that doesn't mean I can't blog about CNY related stuff anymore isn't it? Well, as the saying goes, it's better late than never.

As you can tell, I've been having a serious procrastinating problem. And now, it is even affecting how much I bake. I got the kueh lapis done up just on the eve of chinese new year and D came over and helped me with the first half. Thanks to him, I've finally managed to take my our very first baking video.

Although it is just a very short video showing how to layer the kueh lapis, I thought it might come along handy for those who are trying it out for the first time. Well, at least I appreciated having videos to watch when I was figuring out the recipe the first time round. Five rounds of failed attempts was no fun at all.

A little introduction on this cake, some call it a thousand layered cake because of the multiple layers you see in there and mind you, each layer is grilled one by one which explains it being pricey if you were to buy it off the shelf. The process is not only laborious, but pretty tiring and tough in some sense. You practically have to sit and guard your oven the layers and make sure they don't burn.

If I'm not wrong, this cake is traditionally of Indonesian origin and there is some apparent debate as to who holds the real roots to the invention of this wonderful rich, sinful cake. Word has it that the lapis spice (which is a combination of spices like cinnammon, cardamon, etc etc) were obviously, asia origin (in this case, from Indonesia) and that the "cake" was actually of Dutch descent. As the story goes, Indonesia was once colonised by the Dutch and that the Dutch that settled there probably missed they way of live back in Holland and wanted to re-live the moments of sipping tea and eating cakes in the afternoon. So, poor Indonesians probably didn't really made any cakes in their lives (maybe other than kuehs) and someone possibly decided to marry the spices (Indonesian origin) and cakes (Dutch style) together and wala! you get LAPIS LEGIT. Hmm I don't even know if I got the malay terms right. But that's not the point.

The point is, this cake is special, at least to me, not because it is a festive goodie, but rather the knowledge of ingredients that go into this cake made me realise I should only make it when the festive occasion calls for it. Not only is it high in fat/butter but the amount of egg yolks that goes into it is jus scary. twenty-five yolks. Imagine the amount of cholesterol and fat that's going into your system, you'd probably have to exercise more than a lifetime to run away (pun intended) from the clingy heart disesases and wrestle with obesity.

Nonethelss, everything could be eaten. Because the key lies in moderation. Therefore, I will not hesitate to urge you to try out this recipe although I highly recommend coming up with a list of friends whom you could divide and give the cakes away to. Surely you don't wish to consume 25 egg yolks and 500g of butter, do you?

Lest you're getting impatient, I'm moving on to the recipe, NOW! This time with pictures and a short video to accompany! =D

Kueh Lapis (makes one 8" x 8" x 2.5" lapis cake)

25 egg yolks
100g sugar

5 egg whites + a pinch of cream of tartar
100g sugar

500 gm butter (Golden Churn)
1 tin condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 ½ tbsp brandy or rum
1 ½ tbsp mixed spices

170 gm plain flour

1. Sieve Flour (Group D) and set aside.
2. Cream butter with condensed milk, vanilla essence, golden syrup, brandy & mixed spices (Group C) till well mixed and set aside.

Group C Ingredients ALL IN!

Creamy mess

3. Beat egg yolks with sugar (Group A) on high for about 10 mins until thick and creamy (i.e. ribbon stage).

The sinful indulgence - 25 Yolks

With 100g of caster sugar

Beat it baby!

See how it tuned pale?

Ribbon Stage
A slow thick ribbon falls on itself when the beaters are lifted and does not dissappear right away.

4. Add beaten egg yolk mixture to the creamed butter mixture and mix well. Fold in sieved flour.

All ready to mix.
Fold in gently (not TOO gentle) but you don't wish to deflate all that air you beat into the eggs earlier on.

5. Beat egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar and sugar (Group B) till stiff and fold in the mixture. [Beat egg whites with pinch of cream of tartar till frothy on medium speed (speed 3 on kMix) for 1 min. Add in 1/3 of sugar, continue beating for 1-2 mins. Add in the second 1/3 and continue beating 1-2 min. Add in the rest of the sugar and beat for 1-2 min. ]

My assistant for the day ever

okay okay, I just wanted to show off my shiny red mixer.

Now this is what you wanna achieve. Stiff peaks. (NOT dry though) be careful there!

6. Preheat oven to 180 degree C. (baking mode: top + bottom heat) Grease and line an 8″ square tin and preheat tin [Just preheat for a few mins to make the tin hot, making it easier to spread the batter]. Grease bottom and line base only.

7. For first layer, spread 3 - 3 ½ tbsps of mixture in tin and bake in oven at lower middle/ lower rack at 180 degree C for 10-15 mins. Or until lightly browned. [timing may differ depending on individual ovens. Just bake till surface is lightly browned] Use a satay stick, prick holes (if there are air bubbles) into the lapis and gently press the lapis with a lapis press to ensure the layer is even.

8. Switch oven to grill mode. (i.e. top grill only)For subsequent layers, grill each layer at lower middle/lower rack for about 3 mins. Or till lightly browned. [timing may differ depending on individual ovens. Just bake till surface is lightly browned. The darker the surface, the darker the layers will be later. The brown surface is what defines each layer.] After removing from the oven, use a satay stick, prick holes into the lapis (if there are air bubbles) and gently press the lapis with a lapis press to ensure the layer is even. Repeat this for each layer.

Make sure the oven is on GRILL for the second layer onwards.

Here's a really short demo on how to bake a layer. The video starts of with a previously cooked layer and that's the kinda brown you wanna get before moving on to the next.

9. When top most layer is completed, switch oven back to baking mode (i.e. top + bottom heat), cover with a metal tray or a piece of foil and bake at middle rack at 180 degree C for a further 5 min. It will take longer if the sides are still wet.

10. When the cake is done, turn cake out onto a metal grid. The lapis with 'fall' out on it's own. Let it cool on the cooling rack completely before cutting. If cooling rack markings are not wanted on lapis surface, flip it right side up after cake has 'fallen' out and let cool completely before cutting.

adapted from Rose's Kitchen

Related Post: Kueh Lapis a.k.a thousand layered cake (千层糕)

I hope this small little post with guided pictures and a short short video urges you, (yes! you) to give this a shot. =)

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