Thursday, July 23, 2015

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

What is a devil's food cupcake if you ask me? Hmm..a chocolate cupcake. So is the same as a normal chocolate cupcake? Almost..hehe..i cant really distinguish the difference between a devils food cake or cupcake and a chocolate cake and no idea why they are named devil's food cake. From what i read, traditionally , it usually comes with a rich chocolate frosting.

...and if being compared to the angel food cake, this is probably just the very opposite. While the angel food cake is light and airy, this devil cake is rich. One is white and the other is black..i mean dark. The former will make you eat with less guilt while this devil cake will give you all the unwanted calories. That is also why some people call them Heaven and Hell cake.

Ok, so it is a chocolate cupcake ..and this recipe will give you good chocolate cupcakes. They are chocolatey, they are moist . I also ate them straight from the fridge next day , still incredibly moist.

It has been quite long ago when JoyceZoe  and myself made cupcakes together. On our next bake along on the Aug06, 2015, we will be making cupcake again, Hokkaido Cupcakes will be our theme. We know hokkaido cupcakes has been a while on the internet here and perhaps you have your favourite choice of flavour or a new flavour or variation, share with us.  

Recipe ( from the book Bon Appetit )
makes 8 cupcakes
1/4cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 oz high quality milk chocolate ( such as Lindt ) chopped
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup buttermilk
65 gm cake flour
1/2tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract ( skipped )

Preheat oven to 177C and line muffin cup with paper liners. Combine cocoa powder and milk chocolate together and pour boiing water over it and whisk till smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk.

In a separate bowl, mix cake flour, baking soda, salt together. Set aside. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, oil, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and creamy. Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with chocolate mixture in additions. Scoop batter evenly among paper liners. Bake for about 18mins or until tester inserted comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in pan and clet cool completely before frosting it.

2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate ( do not exceed 61% cacao) ,chopped
1 oz milk chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp whipping cream
15gm/ 1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup icing sugar

Stir both chocolate, cream and butter in medium bowl over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from water and whisk in sour cream and vanilla, then icing sugar. Let stand until thick to spread or put in the fridge to fasten the process .

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Lemon Bars

If you like citrusy dessert, i have a feeling that you will going to like these too and if you are one of those who gets obsessed with lemon desserts, please make these..haha.. These lemon bars are tangy, and can be super tangy but hey, they are meant to be tart and tangy. It comes with a shortbread kind of base and a luscious lemony top filling.  Maybe because they are tart and tangy, i dont really feel heavy eating these tart bars,

These bars  can be gooey when they are freshly baked out of the oven but will firm up after refrigerating. Which ever way, they are simply good. Just ensure they are baked till the filling is firm to touch and not underbaked. Too gooey can be very messy and if underbaked, i think it will taste a little eggy too.

I remember  Phong Hong made some lemon bars sometime ago, she couldnt help herself from not eating one after that shall be the recipe that i'm going to follow, thanks PH!

Recipe ( from Phong Hong Bakes and Cooks, whom adapted from Joy Of Baking )
made in 8"x8" pan
Ingredients for base
113gm unsalted butter, room temperature
30gm icing sugar
130gm plain flour
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven at 177/180C. Cream the butter and icing sugar till creamy and add in the plain flour and salt. Beat till the dough just comes together . Transfer the dough onto a greased pan and press onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 20-25mins or the edges just become lightly brown. Remove from oven and let it cool
while you make the filling.

Lemon Filling
200gm sugar
2 large eggs
80ml freshly squeezed lemon juice ( approx 2 lemons )
zest from 1 lemon or 2 if you like
2 tbsp plain flour

Using a hand whisk, beat the egg and sugar together until mixture is smooth. Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix well and fold in the flour. Pour over this lemon filling over the shortbread crust and bake for 20-25 ins or until filling has set and firm to touch.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan. Dust with icing sugar upon serving.

Lemon Bars is the theme with me, Joyce and Zoe  baking along together starting 9thjuly till 18thJuly. If you are keen to make some tangy lemon bars, come join us and post it up at your blog within that dates. Thanks!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bacon and Cheese Scones ( Thomas Keller )

I usually prefer sweet or plain scones over savoury ones but these bacon and cheese scones are really very tasty.  I remember myself making ham and cheesy scones long ago but i didnt find them as good as this. Perhaps it's the bacon thing. These scones are light and incredibly tasty. I did not use cheddar cheese here as i have some dutch buffalo cheese in my fridge so i just use that before they get expired. There is also some creme fraiche which added to the ingredients list for making the dough. I'm glad that i can get the small pack of creme fraiche here, also my first time using this.. taste very similar to sour cream.

These scones  are a little different from all my previous scones whereby these scones were baked from frozen. After shaping the scones, we put that in the freezer until they are solid firm and bake them straight out of the freezer. Since i still have some creme fraiche left from making the first batch, i made them another few days later, just to quickly use up more of the creme fraiche, I do suggest to space the scones well apart for better heat circulation when baking them as the 2nd time i made them, i used a smaller tray, resulting them to place closer to one another and they took much longer to cook especially the sides. Do give this a try if you love savoury scones, get some nice bacon and some tasty cheese.

Recipe ( from here )
plain flour /rose flour 150gms
baking powder 4gm
baking soda 1/4tsp
sugar 1tbsp
kosher salt 3/4 tsp
unsalted butter 66gms, cut into cubes
dairy cream 35gms, plus 2 tbsps more for brushing
creme fraiche 45gm
bacon 100gm  ( 50gms cooked weight )
chives 1/8cup(i didnt put this)
cheddar cheese, grated 65gm for dough, ( i used dutch buffalo cheese )
cheddar cheese, grated  15gm for sprinkling on top
ground black pepper

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda in a mixing bowl and add in the sugar and salt. On the mixer  with paddle attachment with low speed to combine. Put in the butter and mx again to combine with the paddle still running on slow. Increase the speed and mix about 2-3 minutes to break up the butter to incorporate it into the dry mixture. You may use your hands to break up the lumps.

With the mixer still running pour in the dairy cream, creme fraiche and mix till all moistened and dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary. Put in the bacon and 65gm of grated cheese and chives and mix till they are just well combined.

Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pat it into a rectangle block, about 6" by 4.5". You can use your hands to press the sides to straighten them. Wrap it up and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. After they become firm,, cut the block into 6 small rectangles. Arrange them in a lined pan, spaced well apart . Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze till frozen solid, for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. The scones can be kept in the freezer for a month.

Preheat oven to 155C fan forced or 177C. Arrange the frozen scones about 1 inch apart, brush the top with some cream and sprinkle the cheese and black pepper and bake for 33-35mins in a standard oven and till they are golden brown.  (I baked for 155C fan forced for about 30mins. )

If you are in for some savoury scones, come join me, Joyce and Zoe in our bake along event from today up till June27th 2015. Thank you!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Homemade Butter Croissants

Here i am with Joyce and Zoe at bake along event this week and we are making croissants. I know making croissants can be very challenging ..well indeed it was. Initial attempts were quite frustrating and sort of discouraging to be honest, it was not easy at all! Most of the pictures here in this post are from my 3rd and 4th attempts. I started doing my first attempt with a 350gm flour recipe and ended up throwing everything. Then i went on with a smaller recipe the 2nd time,  still it didnt make it to the oven. What makes it so difficult? It is the lamination part. It is the butter. Watching youtube videos helps a lot, it gives you an idea how to go about making the croissants and it all seems not as difficult as it looks ..well until i tried my hands on it.

The lamination part is where we get those layers and layers in the croissants and we also want them to be thin, so rolling the dough thin with the butter inside is quite a demanding task. My first two attempts all failed because the dough just tearing apart with butter leaking out. Just not able to proceed at all. By my 3rd attempt, i sort of getting the hang of it, i worked faster on everything, when the dough gets soft, i chilled it, i even chilled my rolling pin! The dough did torn a bit still but was able to dab a bit of flour on those parts to save it. I was happy that it made it to the oven. Though they turned out a bit smaller than normal size because of the rolling part that i was not able to roll it out as much as it should be, i was happy to see those layers in the croissants when i cut it and the layers were quite distinctive.
3rd attempt..

Now that i have the hang of it, i made another batch after several days using the same recipe but used a combination of bread flour 70% and plain flour 30%. I was trying to see if the dough was more stretchable to roll with a combination of both flours. Yes, it did. So it is okay to substitute a bit of bread flour with plain or all purpose flour for easier rolling.  The one made with all bread flour turned out to be lighter and my preferred texture but dont get me wrong, both were equally flaky and good and delicious.

4th attempt - with a combination of bread flour and plain flour. Less honeycomb structure. Gaps between the layers  are closer compared to the 3rd attempt. Dont think it's the flour, more due to the lamination part

another attempt.....

Many recipes online have their croissants done in 3 days..some to allow the flavours to develop.  But here i have picked one that is done within a day but i still have it leave overnight before baking so it's 2 days altogether. Until i can really make good croissants, i will go with a longer resting time and definately make a larger batch. Oh ya, you can of course subsitute butter with croissant margarine if you want. I guess they are much more easier to handle than butter since they have higher melting point. Which ever you choose to make it from, just keep in mind to always to keep the dough chilled, just put it back in the fridge for 20 mins or so.  Another thing to take note here is that for all these attempts, i only managed to roll it out to 15cmx34cm instead of 20cmx40cm. Do not attempt to roll further if you see the butter is going to leak out. You are not sitting for an examination so it's totally okay! Happy baking!

Recipe from here
makes 8 croissants
( if you plan to leave the dough overnight before baking, you can start doing this around late afternoon then do the shaping and baking the next morning )
150gm bread flour
1tbsp sugar
2gms salt
90ml water ( i used about 110ml )
15gm cold butter
3gms instant yeast
90gm unsalted butter ( for laminating )

1 egg for egg wash.

1) In a mixing bowl, combine the bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast using a fork or a dough hook running on low speed. Slowly add in water to form a rough dough. Let it knead for about a minute and then add in the butter, increase the speed of the mixer and knead till all butter incorporated in and to a smoother dough, less than 10 mins.  Remove the dough from the mixer bowl, shape it round and let it proof for 30mins.

2) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 20cmx20cm. After i did this, i realised it's easier to roll the dough on a plastic wrap cos we need to transfer the dough to the fridge. This way, you dont have to lift up the dough to wrap. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge for an hour. ( i left it for 2 hours )

not  perfect but it's okay, you still got to roll them to square again after refrigeration.

3) On a parchment paper, draw a 12cmx12cm, this will be the guide for the roll in butter. Then just overturn the paper cos we dont want to pound the butter on the pencil marks. Remove the butter from the fridge, cut into pieces to fit into the 12cmx12cm square. Put a parchment paper on top of the butter, pound the butter a little and roll it out to 12cmx12cm square. When the butter goes out of the line, just trim it and add that to the butter on top and continue with rolling until you get that square of butter. Wrap up with the same parchment paper and refrigerate till it hardens.

4) Remove the cold dough from fridge and roll out to 20cmx20cm again. Take the square butter out from the fridge and put it on the dough as in the pic shown. Fold all the flaps of the dough to enclose the butter. It is okay for the flaps to overlap.

after out from the fridge, roll it out to 20cmx20cm. Keep a ruler a the side, it's easier .

pinch the edges to ensure the dough is tight to seal in the butter

5) Then roll it out to 20cmx40cm. Try.

you can use your hands to straighten the sides. This is not straight enough :))

Fold the dough in letter style (Fold 2/3 of the dough on top of itself  and fold the bottom 1/3 over the dough). Refrigerate for 30 mins. This is your first fold

6) Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out to 20cmx40cm and fold in thirds again. Refrigerate for 30 mins. This is your 2nd fold.

after turning 90degrees like this, roll it out and fold in thirds again

7) Turn the dough 90degrees and repeat the rolling and folding steps. This is the 3rd fold. After this, wrap the dough in plastic and keep in the fridge overnight. If you do not want to leave it overnight, you can straight away proceed to shaping the croissants after the 3rd round of resting.

8) Next day, take out the dough and roll it out to 20cmx40cm again and cut into 8 triangles with a base of 8cm. Make a small slit in the middle of the base, stretch the slit a little and roll it up. Do the same for all croissants. Brush surface of the croissants with egg wash and let it proof for about 2 hours. The croissants will wiggle when you shake the pan. Preheat your oven to 210C. Brush the surface with egg wash the 2nd time. When the oven reaches the temperature, put the croissants in and bake them for about 15minutes. Remove from oven.

these croissants are very flaky and buttery!

Notes fr my experience:
1) when mixing the dough, there is no need to knead till window pane stage . Just knead till all well combined and formed a dough and need not beat till very smooth. Otherwise the gluten will be too strong and will find it difficult to roll later on.

2) If any point of time, if we find that the dough gets soft, put it back in the fridge or freezer for about 10 mins.   As it moves to the 2nd and 3rd fold, the dough will get more difficult to roll , if it resists to stretch, put  the dough back in the fridge to rest for 10-20mins for the gluten to relax.

3) Be gentle during the rolling process. Flour the counter and rolling pin. If we see there's any part of the dough gets torn, pat it with a little flour to save it.

4) when enclosing the butter in step 4, make sure the butter is cold and yet pliable to roll. otherwise the butter will break. But in our weather here the butter should get pliable within mins.

5) the next time i make this again, i will mix the dough until all the ingredients are just well combined , meaning a rough dough. See if this will makes it even more easier to roll...and also chill the dough again after i cut out the triangles. I think shaping will be easier too.

btw, the conditions of has changed and only registered users are able to grab the code for blog hop. However, you can still link your post with us, just like what you usually do. Our linky for croissants baking will be opened from today up till June13th, 2015. Thanks!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sago Gula Melaka

I am sure many of you are are already familiar with this dessert. You may have eaten it many many times, it's such a popular dessert that have made existed thru the generations. Despite its popularity,  i cant believe myself that i'm only eating this the first time! I do believe that i hv seen it in some cafes serving it too but never thought of ordering it or making it myself till weeks ago, when i saw Alan posted his sago gula melaka. I really should be making this, i thought , i really least try this famous and common dessert, for goodness sake.

Such an easy recipe,i am sure many of you have your own ways of preparing this delicious dessert. Infact so easy that Alan said it's not a recipe at all...haha...This dessert is to be eaten chilled so if you are a first timer like me, you may prepare to cook the sago in the morning to enjoy it in the evening or cook everything in the evening, leave them overnight in the fridge and spoon over the syrup and coconut milk upon serving the next day. Enjoy enjoy!!

Recipe ( from travelling foodies )
250gm sago pearls ( i used 200gm),
200gm gula melaka( palm sugar ), chopped into pieces
100gm water, for cooking gula melaka
150gm coconut cream or thick coconut milk ( take the top portion after the milk has been settled )
1/8 tsp salt
3-4 pandan leaves, cleaned and tied to a bundle

To cook gula melaka syrup :
In a saucepan, put all the gula melaka , 100gm water and pandan leaves. Let it boil to melt all the gula melaka. Lower down to heat and let it simmer for about 5-10mins. Turn off heat and pour the gula melaka syrup into a small bowl. Let it cool before storing in the fridge

For coconut milk :
Pour the coconut cream together with the salt in a small saucepan or a little pot and heat it up gently.
Do not bring to a boil, just heat up till small bubbles form around the perimeter of the pan or pot. Remove and let it cool before store in the fridge.

To cook the sagos
Need not soak the sagos. You can give it a quick rinse if you want but i did not. Prepare a pot of boiling water sufficient to cover all the sagos. When the water is boiling, put in all the sagos and cook at medium heat until all the sago turns translucent. This may take about 15-20 mins. Keep stirring so that the sagos dont stick together or stick to the pot. When they are done, pour it over a fine sieve and drain away excess water.
Wet the inside of the moulds to help unmoulding easier later.  Ladle the cooked sago pearls into the prepared moulds and using the back of the spoon, press down the sago pearls to ensure the filling is tight and filled up. Leave to cool before storing in the fridge for several hours, till they are cold and firm. Or fridge it overnight.

To serve, use a toothpick or a bamboo skewer to go around the perimeter of the mould and unmould it into the serving bowl.  It will come off easily. Pour over a generous amount of gula melaka syrup and coconut cream. Serve immediately.

I am sharing this post with Best Recipes For Everyone May 2015 ( My Favourite Dessert ) organised by Fion of XuanHom's Mom Kitchen Diary hosted by Aunty Young

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nigella's Mum In Law Madeira Cake

This madeira recipe comes from Nigella Lawson's mum in law and Nigella claims that it's the best version she had tried. I cant argue on that cos i have never made another madeira cake yet but everyone at home here said it's good. The cake was polished off within a day!.. or maybe everyone was hungry on that particular day!

According to Wikipedia, madeira cake is a sponge cake in English cookery, traditionally flavoured with lemon but let's not get confused with the term sponge cake with our usual sponge cakes here back home. Infact this is more like a pound cake with tender crumbs , golden and comes with a crispy top which gives the cake a bit of 'character' . I'm pleased with the cake, a good plain cake, it's easy to make and no stress!

So on a day when you have bugs biting your hands to bake, why not try out this , perhaps bake for your mother in law..and if you are really lazy, just bring the recipe over and ask your mother in law to bake one for you :)

Ingredients ( from How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson )
in a 9x5 inch loaf pan
225gm softened butter
170gm sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
3 large eggs
166gm self raising flour
62g plain flour

Preheat oven to 177C and line the loaf pan with baking paper. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer on medium speed,  cream the butter and sugar until light, then add in the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each. Then lower the speed and mix in the rest of the flour and lemon juice and mix till well incorporated.

Pour batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of sugar across the cake and bake for 1 hour or until the cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan before unmoulding the cake.

JoyceZoe  and myself are baking this same madeira recipe for our bake along, hop over and have a look!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Homemade Mango Frozen Yogurt

I ran thru the internet to see how others make yogurt at home and was excited to see how easy with just a few simple steps that we can enjoy homemade frozen yogurt. I had a few mangoes at home brought back the day before, eaten one and it was very sweet so i thought it would be nice to try a mango flavoured frozen yogurt.

I have made this using a blender and i would like to try using a food processor and add sugar next time to see if it will produce a more smoother texture cos i read somewhere that the sugar thing will help to produce a more creamier and smoother during the freezing process but at this time , I only want to stick with just greek yogurt alone, no milk or cream, experimenting more like. The blending process just takes few minutes and after that, pour it into the ice cream maker bowl that has been freezed overnight, let it churn and freeze. That's it, a less-guilt frozen dessert :))


2 chilled ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks ( mine total abt 500gms)
1 cup greek yogurt
1tbsp maple syrup

Put half of the amount of mangos and half of the yogurt into a blender and blend. Add in the rest of the mangoes and yogurt and blend well.  Taste and add maple syrup or other sweeteners and adjust accordingly. Transfer to the ice cream maker machine and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze the yogurt until it hardens.

Sharing this post with Litle Thumbs Up event( May 2015 : Yogurt ) organised by Zoe Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Cheryl of Baking Tai Tai

and also Best Recipes for Everyone ( May2015 : My Fav Dessert) organised by Fion of XuanHom's Mom and hosted by Aunty Young

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Coffee Marbled Cheesecake

I have the intention of making this cheesecake for a friend's birthday. So i tried out last week for myself, making sure of my correct oven temperature to well bake it and also because i wanted to make it a round cake as the original recipe was in a loaf form. I dont bake a lot of cheesecakes so just to be safe, i tested out myself first. 

I followed the recipe quite closely with a change in the cake base from oreo to digestive biscuits and i hv also used greek yogurt to replace sour cream. You can also use a 9inch by 6 inch pan, fully lined with foil paper . It is my first time making a coffee cheesecake,  i cant even remember if i hv eaten a coffee cheesecake before but i adore this version of a coffee cheesecake.

Ingredients ( from Table for 2..or more ) with minor changes
made in a 7 inch springform pan

120gm digestive biscuits
60gm melted butter
250gm cream cheese, at room temperature
125gm sugar
1tbsp cake flour
100gm greek yogurt
100gm whipping cream
2 large eggs ( size A )
1.5tbsp instant coffee mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water
1 tbsp cocoa powder mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Prepare a kettle of boiling water. Grease the base and sides of the pan. Crush the digestive biscuits until fine and mix in the melted butter until well blended. Press that into the base of the pan. To level it evenly, you can use the back of the spoon. Wrap the outside of the tin with 2 layers of aluminium foil , put it in the freezer and proceed to make the filling. Preheat the oven at 150C ( mine at 155C) top bottom heat only, no fan. 

In the bowl on an electric mixer using paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Put in that 1 tbsp of flour and beat till smooth. Add in the greek yogurt together with the whipping cream and beat till well combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add in the eggs and beat till smooth. Add in the coffee mixture and mix till well blended.

Mix dissolved cocoa powder with cornstarch. Spoon 3 tbsp of the coffee cheese batter and mix with the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the cheese batter into pan. Drop dots of cocoa mixture into the coffee cheese mixture and using a knife or test skewer, make swirls . Put the pan in another larger pan and position it in the lower rack of the oven . Pour in the boiling water into the larger pan, almost half way up the cake pan.

Bake the cheesecake for an hour. Turn off the heat, slowly remove the tray with water and let the cake cool in the oven for another one hour with door ajar. After one hour, remove from oven and let cool completely before chilling in the fridge. 

So here's another cheesecake post linked to the Bake Along 4th Annivesary Theme

Linking this to Little Thumbs Up event ( May: Yogurt ) organised by Zoe of  Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen  of My Little Favorite DIY hosted by Cheryl of Baking Tai Tai

and also Best Recipes for Everyone May2015 ( My Favourite Dessert ) organised by Fion of Xuanhom's Mom, cohosted by Aunty Young

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