Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bake Along #6 - Catalan Salt Pinch Cake

Taken from Rose's Heavenly Cakes, this name is derived partially from the recommended way of eating it,  that is pinching out the pieces of the fluffy cake between your fingers and also the word 'salt' is because it was created by Miquel B Costabella, a baker of Salt Bakery, which was named after the village of Salt in Spain.
A disappointed me. Despite it being soft and fluffy  ( but not as fluffy as chiffon) , i do not  like the taste of this cake. I find it a little eggy and though it is soft, the texture seems a little sticky, a little coarse, a little nutty... I might have also done something wrong when making the cake, i really do not know. It could also be my tastebud, i dont seem to like the taste. But my two bake along buddies, Joyce and Zoe have actually have good reviews about this cake, go over and see theirs.
While the ingredients seem simple enough, you will need some time to make the batter. If you read the recipe below, then you know why. You will need 20-25 minutes to make the batter alone. Reason is that you will need to add the beaten eggs to the egg whites meringue 2 tablespoons at at time and beat for 2 minutes for each addition... Yawwn....anyway, if any of you who are curious about the taste of the cake and who like to try, here's the recipe. Who knows, maybe you'll love this cake!

Recipe ( from Rose's Heavenly Cakes)
4 oz/ 112 gms sliced almonds, preferably unblanched
6.3oz/181gms superfine sugar
6 large eggs, weighing 10.6oz/300gms
2 large egg whites, weighing 2 oz/60gms, at room temperature
1 tsp lemon zest, grated
2 oz/56gms cake flour ( or bleached all purpose flour)

Baking Pan: one 9 by 21/2 to 3" springform or cake pan, coated with shortening, bottom and sides ined with parchment. For the sides, cut a 33 by 3" band of parchment, overlapping an extra piece if necessary to make it long enough. Wrap and press it against the inside wall of the pan.Use some extra shortening to coat the overlapping ends to hold them in place against the first strip of parchment.

Preheat the oven: 20 minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325F/160C

1. Spread the almonds evenly on baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds and 21/2 tbsps of sugar ( from 112gm of sugar) until as fine as possible. Stop before the nuts start to become pasty.
2.Pour the whole eggs into a bowl and whisk them lightly to break them up. Put aside.
3.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy. Raise the speed to med-high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating till meringue is very thick and glossy, but it will not be smooth. Detach the whisk from the mixer and use it to stir the almond mixture into the meringue until evenly incorporated.
4.Reattach the whisk beater and with mixer on med speed, add the beaten egg to the meringue 2 tablespoons at a time, beating for 2 minutes between each addition. it should take a total of 20-25 minutes, but be sure to beat for a minimum of 20 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest. Remove the bowl and beater from the stand. (While the mixture is beating, weigh or measure out the flour)
5.Sift the flour onto the batter and using the whisk batter or large balloon whisk, fold in the flour until fuuly incorporated. Reach to the bottom of the bowl and be sure that no white specks of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan( is using a 2" high pan, the batter will come almost to the top pf the pan)
6.Bake for 25-25minutes or until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back  when pressed very lightly in the center. The cake will rise just a little and then sink slightly in the center.
7. Set the pan on a wire rack and immediately loosen and remove the sides, leaving the parchment attached to the cake. If using a solid pan, lift the cake out using the parchment and set it on the wire rack.Allow the cake to cool until us warm or room temperature, about 1 hour. ( leave the parchment in place until the entire cake is consumed )

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pistachio Roll

Time to roll up my sleeves again for another swiss roll! There's still a week to go before the Aspiring Bakers #9 - Swiss Rolling Times ends.My blogger friends have been making beautiful and creative swiss rolls, to name a few..polka dots swiss roll, cow prints swiss roll, black forest swiss roll, oranges, cherries, sweet potatoes, mixed fruits..etc. Want to look at those? The final round up of those swiss rolls should be up on the 1st/2nd August just go to that link above.
The roll i'm making this time is made up of pistachios which has been finely chopped , soft but grainy feel, not  fluffy type. If you ask me, i still prefer the sponge roll that i have made for my Black Sesame Swiss Roll, that was really fluffy and soft.

Here's the  recipe from the book ( Cakes by Rachel Lane/Carla Bardi )
1/2 cup/60gm shelled and peeled pistachios
1/2 cup ( 100gm) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup( 75gm) all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup ( 30gms) confectioners'/icing sugar
2 tbsp rum( i leave this out)

I just used a simple filling with some non diary whipping cream and a little raspberry jam.

1.Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Butter and flour a 10.5"x15.5" jelly roll pan. Line with parchment paper
2.Process the pistachio nuts and 2 tbsps of sugar in a food processor until finely chopped.
3.Beat the egg yolks, remaining sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and thick. With mixer at low speed, gradually beat in the flour and pistachio mixture.
4.With mixer at medium speed, beat the egg whites and salt in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Use a large spatula to fold them into the batter. Spoon the batter into a prepared pan.( the batter almost like a paste)
5.Bake for 10-12 minutes or until springy to the touch. Dust a clean tea towel with icing sugar and roll up the cake. Let cool.
6.Unroll the cake and drizzle with rum. Spread with your favourite filling, reroll the cake and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Submitting this entry to the Aspiring Bakers #9 - Swiss Rolling Good Times ( July 2011 ) hosted by Obsessedly Involved with Food

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Instant Sweet Potato Donuts

I call this instant donuts because it's simple and quick to make, needs no proofing at all! I know that i have to give this a try when i saw Quay Po making these at her blog here . They are truly delicious and just as what Quay Po described them, crispy outside and soft cushiony on the inside. Though they are not the extreme fluffy types of donuts, they are still soft and i'm sure you will enjoy eating them. It  does resembles the texture of a 'ham chin peang'. I do not have a donut cutter so i have shaped them into balls instead. You can eat them plain or roll them over sugar or even cinnamon sugar, yum!  I made half of the original recipe as i did not have much sweet potatoes left with me, so i just reduced everything by half . I'm not sure if i should reduced the flour amount by half too , i ended up with quite a runny mixture. So i added more flour till it becomes workable to shape into balls..i ended up using 2 1/2 cups flour too. My fist bite into these donuts was like, "mmm, so good" and i didnt bother considering about the amount of flour i had put in then. Needs no approval! Anyway, I will put down Quay Po's original recipe here, i do not want to confuse or mislead you with my flour amount. Very nice, all gone very quickly!

Recipe ( from Quay Po Cooks )

1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
2 tbsp  butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
oil for frying
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Work butter into mashed sweet potatoes. Add eggs, sugar and milk. Mix well. Add dry ingredients.
Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Roll dough out  and cut out donuts. ( or shape them into balls )
Fry in hot oil. Drain on paper towel and roll in sugar.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bake Along # 5 - Whole Wheat Carrot Cake

Now this recipe has incorporated some whole wheat/wholemeal flour in it. Not much, around 1/4 of the total flour mixture. I think many who eat this cake cant really tell that it made up of some wholemeal flour , only the person who bakes this will know. But the texture is fabulous, it's very  moist and not that sticky. It taste really good. One thing i get confused sometimes is the conversion of cups to grams in recipes, i do not know if you all have the same problem. When i checked for a cup of all purpose flour, some sites say that it's 125gms, some say 140gms and for sifted it's 115gm. Anyone can enlighten me on this? I used unbleached cake flour and sifted out 115gms. I have also reduced the sugar amount here from the original recipe but  i shouldnt have reduced that, i prefer it to be sweeter actually. But if you are sweet conscious, then i think you can stick to the amount i used here. Don't forget to take a look at my bake along buddies, Joyce and Zoe of the same carrot cakes.

Recipe ( from Cake Keeper by Laura Chattman)
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) /113gms unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup / 218gm firmly packed light brown sugar ( reduced to 150gms)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup /125 unbleached all purpose flour ( sifted 115gms)
1/3cup/43gms  wholewheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts ( i replaced that with pistachios)
1/2 cup dark raisins ( omitted )
2 cups (about 3-4 medium carrots) , peeled and grated

1. Preheat oven to 350F/177C. Coat the inside of an 8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray and dust with flour, knocking out any extra.
2.Whisk together the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs and then the milk. Stir in the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt until combined. Stir in the nuts, raisins and carrots
3.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.Bake the cake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Invert it onto a wire rack and then turn it right side up on a rack to cool completely. Cut into 9 squares and serve.
4.Store uneaten squares in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days

Next we will be baking the Catalan Salt Pinch Cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. Do feel free to join if you have the book and post it up on the July 28th.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Black Sesame Swiss Roll

It's rolling time!! Yes, the theme for this month Aspiring Bakers Challenge Event #9 - Swiss Rolling Good Times hosted by Obsessedly Involved with Food. I have to  tell you that i really got amazed by the swiss rolls that i've seen for the last two weeks that blogger friends submitted for the above challenge. They all  look fascinating to me, really fascinating .I have seen garden theme on a swiss roll, tiger skin swiss roll, beautiful sakura flower swiss roll, cartoon character imprinted on the swiss roll and so many more. I am so excited to see the final round up of this month's event. Phew! Those bakers not only can roll , they are also rocking the world with their swiss rolls! I'm already thankful if my swiss roll doesnt break, let alone the skills in designing the roll and me to continue supporting the event, i managed to come up with a decent looking one. If you do not want to miss the roundup of all those swiss rolls, save the link above and come back on the 1st/2nd August , it should be up by then.

Recipe ( from 孟老師的美味蛋糕卷  with changes )
Ingredients for Chiffon Roll ( for 26cmx26cm baking tray)
egg yolks 56gm
caster sugar 14gm
vegetable oil 28gm
fresh milk 28gm
low protein flour 56gm
roasted black sesame seeds 2 tsp

egg whites 112gm
caster sugar 56gm

1.Add eggs yolks and sugar together and mix well with hand whisk. Add in fresh milk, oil and mix well.
2.Add in flour and stir well till incorporated. Leave aside.
3.Beat egg whites till foamy, add sugar and keep whisking with mixer till mixture is thick and stiff.
4.Fold into flour mixture, spread onto a lined baking tray , sprinkle with the roasted black sesame seeds and bake in a preheated oven at 190c for upper fire and 160C for lower fire for 12 mins.I baked mine at 170C for 12mins or until springy. Once baked, remove the cake from tin and after few minutes, invert the cake and pull off lining paper and roll it up.

For filling
unsalted butter 50gm, at room temperature
egg yolks 20gm
caster sugar 20gm
cake flour 10gm
fresh milk 100gm
black sesame powder 25gm

1. Add egg yolk and sugar together and stir to mix with a whisk. Add in cake flour and mix.
2.Then add in fresh milk and cook over low fire till mixture thickens like thick cream. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. Beat the butter till creamy (or hand whisk) and add into the cooled cream mixture.Add in black sesame powder and mix. ( if you find that the mixture is a little runny, you can fridge it for a little while)
4. Spread the filling on to the cake and slowly roll the cake up.

Submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #9 - Swiss Rolling Good Times ( July 2011) hosted by Obsessedly Involved with Food.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spaghetti with almond and basil pesto

My first time making pesto. Pine nuts are usually the traditional nutty ingredient for making pesto but this recipe uses almond instead. I read that pesto is best made using a mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients to bring out the sharp flavour of the ingredients especially basil but people like me, to save my tiring arms will always look for a food processor to do the job. Just like bread making, i think i have not really kneaded a bread for more than 3 times after getting my mixer.   I also read that if we were to use a food processor to make pesto, make sure we keep an eye during the processing to avoid the pesto turns into puree so it's better to use the pulse mode in the machine. The amount of oil we put in will also vary depending on the dryness of the nut so we make the adjustment ourselves.

Recipe ( from Pasta by Carla Bardi with some changes)
200gm spaghetti
60gms almond, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic
a little salt
2 cups of fresh basil
1 medium ripe tomato, peeled, seeds removed and chopped
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
some roasted chopped almonds

1. Chop the almonds, garlic and a pinch of salt in a food processor until almost smooth.
2. Add the basil, tomato and chop until smooth. Seasom with salt and oil. Place in a large serving dish.
3.Cook the pasta in salted boiling water till al dente.
4.Drain well and place in the serving dish with pesto, you can add a 1-2 tbsp of cooking water if the sauce is too dry. Toss gently, sprinkle with some roasted almonds and serve hot.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bake Along # 4 - Chocolate Almond Torte

For our bake along this time Joyce, Zoe and myself have decided to bake something from the baking site, Joy of Baking, a flourless cake. A Chocolate Almond Torte. It's fun baking along with some friends, of the same recipe and the good thing is sometimes i get prealerts from them like in this case, Joyce told me, 'hey, watch out the temperature! My oven's very hot! Ok, i read the recipe again before starting all that and see what else should i be expecting as this is my first time baking a flourless cake. It says, " during baking, the torte will rise and the surface will become cracked and crisp. After baking, the torte shrinks, leaving a crater like top that remains crisp. Dont worry if the pieces of the crust fall off. This is a rustic looking cake and isnt supposed to be perfect. Simply press the fallen pieces back into place. "

So as expected, the cake rise and rise and rise and the unexpected thing was , it kept rising until the batter overflowed from the baking tin! At this point, the surface of the cake has already cracked and the whole thing looks like a mini volcano eruption going on in the oven! So after 50 minutes of baking time, the 'supposedly' completed baking time, i took the cake out and checked, no, the cake 's not done yet, still wet. At the same time, try to save some pieces of crust that are hanging on to the cake and pressed it gently back and returned to the oven. It then took another 40 minutes to cook the cake.  Results? This is moist, most chocolatey, with a nice almond nutty flavour and a little fudgy inside. Unbelievably delicious!! Drop by Joyce and Zoe's blogs too to see their chocolate almond tortes.

Recipe ( from Joy of Baking )
1 cup ( 100gms) of finely ground almonds
( Ground 1 cup or blanced or sliced almonds in your food processor)
4 large eggs
7 ounces ( 200gms ) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
150gms unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
150gms granulated /caster sugar, divided into 100gms and 50gms
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar


1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C and line an 8inch/20cm springform pan with parchment paper. ( I set my oven at 160C)

2. Separate the cold eggs, placing the egg yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until reach room temperature ( about 30 minutes) or get room temperature eggs and separate egg whites and egg yolks

3. Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat.

4.Meanwhile, place the egg yolks and 100gms of sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with paddle attachment. Cream the yolks and sugar until pale and thick ( about 2-3 minutes). Beat in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. Fold in the ground almonds.

5.In a clean bowl, place the egg whites and whisk until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle the remaining  50gms of sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Quickly fold in the rest of the whites and mix only until incorporated.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the ccenter of the cake has a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. The cake will rise during baking but falls during cooling, leaving a crisp and cracked crust. Once cool, run a spatula around the inside of the pan before releasing the sides. If not serving immediately, cover and place in the refrigeraor. Serve cold or at room temperature. Dust with icing sugar. ( mine took 90 min for cake done)

I suspected i overmixed the egg whites into the chocolate batter that caused the batter to overflow. I read later from other sites that it's okay to leave some white strands in the mixture otherwise the batter will be too much, not too sure though...

If you're interested in flourless cake, you can also take a look at some other versions that Cheah and Jeannie made not long ago..
Flourless Choco Hazelnut Cake by Cheah ( No Frills Recipe) and
Flour Free Lavender and Orange Cake by Jeannie ( Baking Diary)

Our next bake along will be Whole Wheat Carrot cake taken from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman. If you have the book, you can join in the bake along if you like and post it up on July 18.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I first came to know about these baked sweet potato fries in Shaz( feeding my kids better) blog. So simple and sounded delicious. The good thing is you can put in whatever seasoning you like such as black pepper, paprika, garlic salt, cinnamon, etc.  These are baked in an oven till crispy but dont expect it to be as crispy as french fries and it is soft on the inside. It's nice to eat after it has cooled down but dont let it sit for too long as there were a few pieces left that got a little harder after an hour or so. I've used cinnamon and sugar as seasoning and after baking, sprinkle with a small  pinch of salt. Great for snacking! Initially i bought these purple sweet potatoes intention to make angkoos kuih , then i got a little lazy so i changed my mind and made this. You can use other variations of sweet potatoes.

here's what i did..
Preheat oven to 190C. Cut 3 small sweet potatoes into about 1/4 inch strips and in a large bowl, toss them over with some olive oil and season them with some cinnamon plus sugar, about 2tsp each. Bake them for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fries , turning them over and return to bake for another 10 minutes or until they are tender. You can go with any dip if you like..that's sour cream you see in the picture.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Simple Orange Cake

hi, i made this cake actually quite some time back and i dont know why i never posted it up. This is supposed to be a easy moist lemon cake but i replaced that with oranges and if you ask me, is it really moist? it is an 'okay' cake..average. It's simple and quick, just dump everything together into your mixing bowl and mix till well incorporated and that's it. I also made some orange frosting to go along with this cake, so if you find that the cake has lost its moisture after putting in the fridge, eating that with a little frosting will be a little better, ha! I halved the original recipe but i forgot what was the size of the pan i used..if i remember it correctly, it should be 8" square pan, i apologise for that because i didnt make any notes but i remember this is quite a short cake  ( the original recipe uses a 9" square pan) .

Original Recipe ( from Cakes by Rachel lane/Carla Bardi)
1 1/2 cups ( 225gm) all purpose flour
3/4 cup ( 150gm) sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup ( 125 gm) butter, softened
1/3 cup ( 90ml) milk
1 tsbp finely grated orange zest
11/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Orange frosting
11/2 cups ( 225gm) icing sugar
2 tbsps butter ( or more until desired consistency)
2 tbsps freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsps shredded( dessicated) coconut ( i omitted this)

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Lightly grease a 9" square pan.
2.To prepare the cake, beat the flour, sugar, eggs, butter, milk, orange zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed until well blended. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until pale and thick, about 3-4 minutes. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
3.Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a rack. ( my batter is quite little in a 8 " pan due to half the recipe, so i baked for about 25-30 minutes in my oven at 160C)
4. To prepare the frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Beat in enough orange juice to make a spreadable frosting. Spread the cake with the frosting and sprinkle with coconut.