Monday, February 22, 2010

Pandan Chiffon Cake

I've always wanted to bake this cake because of its nice pandan aroma with the soft fluffy texture but never quite start it. Recently a friend of mine asked me something about baking this cake one day, which got me very intrigued and motivated to want to start work on it rightaway!

The original recipe from Prima website is suitable for 18cm pan but because I got myself a 23cm pan, I multiplied the ingredients by 1.5 for the ideal size and height. (listed in red) I frequently follow recipes from the Prima website as I find them very easy to follow and tend to have a 90% success rate even when baking it for the first time. The remaining 10% is well.... based on a recipe of good luck and skill :S

Squeezing out the pandan juice

The uneven cracked top

Final piece of cake :)

(150g) 100 g Top Flour (couldn't get it in Fairprice near my place, so I got it from Cold Storage) (1.5 tsp) 1 tsp Baking Powder
(1.5 tbsp) 1 tbsp Pandan Juice (I added more juice to 'enhance' the flavour)
(150 ml) 100 ml Coconut Milk (I use trim coconut milk for less the fat than origninal pack)
(6) 4 Egg Yolks
(75) 50 ml Corn Oil
¼ tsp Green Colouring (I only add a small drop)
(7) 5 Egg Whites
¼ tsp Cream of Tartar
(150g) 100 g Castor Sugar
Pinch of Salt

1 Preheat oven to 170°.
2 Extract pandan juice from finely pounded pandan leaves mixed with water, and add to coconut milk. Stir well.
3 Add egg yolk, 50 g sugar, oil, colouring and salt to the coconut mixture. Mix well using hand whisk.
4 Sift top flour and baking powder and fold into mixture. Mix until smooth. Set aside.
5 Beat egg whites and tartar at high speed until formy. Add remaining 50 g sugar and beat until stiff. (it gets abit noisy here at high speed :S)
6 Add 1/3 beaten egg white to the yolk mixture and mix using a hand whisk.
7 Slowly fold in this mixture to the remaining 2/3 of beaten egg whites.
8 Pour mixture into an ungreased 23cm chiffon tin and bake for about 50mins.
9 Turn tin over on a cake rack to cool before loosening cake.

(adapted from Prima website)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Guilty as Charged

Yes Pineapple Tarts!

We are all guilty of over-eating during the festive period. Ba kwa, love letters, almond cookies, pineapple tarts, you name it we eat it. February is the time to forget about losing weight and loading on more calories.

Orders for my pineapple tarts meant that the number of pineapple tarts at home grew as well. I baked several rounds of pineapple tarts this year that I have forgotten the number of times I've baked it at home. I'm getting a little tired of pineapple tarts. And I was beginning to have a hard time cherry picking them for sale. Only the good ones go, the bad ones with cracks and incomplete-looking stayed at home. It was like choosing the best looking chick for the contest. The first batch was a test bit for me as I was getting the hang of kneading and rolling the dough. The subsequent batches were better as the texture, taste, colour and level of sweetness was optimum! Then came the last few batches which is the time nearer to CNY that the tarts were either too ugly looking, burnt, duller looking, sweeter or harder. It's like the economics of production and manufacturing. Products get manufactured better after the machine slowly warms up and done its round of test cutting and moulding. Then after the machine has overworked and heated, the end products are somewhat 'overdone' and machine breaks down as a result of over functioning. Same logic.

Nevermind. Here are a few shots of the tarts I baked today and I swear this is going to be the last batch I'm baking this year! Or at least, this time now. I'm beginning to dislike pineapple tarts. Along with other yummy cookies which I have a weakness for, how can I shed my 5kg? I've got tubs and tubs of chocolate chip cookies from Cedele, cereal cookies, Pandan kueh lapis, Ba Kwa and tons and tons of pineapple tarts at home. The list is endless.

For Valentine's Day tomorrow, which is also first day of CNY, I am going to attempt a no-bake cheesecake, recipe with courtesy from Celest. After sharing it with everyone in office one day, we all fell in love with it. Even Will Bright, her British boss, surprised everyone in the office with his blueberry cheesecake the following week, and a raspberry one after that. For a non cheesecake lover, I must say this cheesecake is to die for!

Photo of Blueberry Cheesecake made by Will Bright

And speaking of which I'm supposed to be jogging at this time :)

..till then...Happy new year everyone!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Non stop feasting

It was non stop feasting that began from Xmas 2009 right through to the coming CNY. It began with turkey, chocolates, fruit cakes, Xmas dinners in 2009. Come 2010, there was my nephew's 3 year old birthday gathering, my thirty something birthday on 1 February, the coming V Day, 2 days of CNY, my 2nd nephew 1 month baby shower celebrations and ** birthday at the end of Feb! The feasting never stops and my body has to work extra hard to burn off all the excess calories and fats!

With so many festivities and exciting activities happening lately let me pen them down one by one and keep everyone updated. Pictures are not very well taken from my iphone. But it sure captures the essence of the subject sufficient to be described as point of reference here.

Sweet Surprise
First I'm glad my follower list on my humble little blog grew from a single digit to a 14 number hit today. Sometimes I really wonder who these people are as they don't leave behind any comments. Whoever you are, thank you! And for those who leave comments, nothing makes me happier than seeing a positive lovely comment posted for my product, which sometimes look like a failure! And still having many more followers each time I check my blog.

Sweet Bird Day
I had a wonderful and splendid birthday with many of my close friends and family. For a start, I had Chinese food at The Majestic. The waiting time at Da Hua is terribly long. The food is great, but comes with a high price tag. The wasabi prawn is to die for! yum yum. And the tofu is not bad either. It's soft and 'melt in your mouth'

(wasabi prawn)

For my birthday family dinner, my mom did a cold dish platter like what you get at Chinese restaurants at weddings. It's not too bad, but just a tad too oily.

(spring rolls, fried egg with crab meat, ngoh hiang, roast pork, mayo prawn)

At a gathering with some close friends, I had dessert at 1 Caramel. They have a wide assortment of tea, some of which are rather refreshing. Their range of cakes is awesome! The cakes are displayed on the tall glass display shelves and you will be standing at the shelves for a good 5-8 min thinking and choosing on what cake to eat. I tried the green tea red bean cake and lychee kiss. I prefer the lychee kiss for its sweet lychee flavour and light cake texture. :)

(Verdict: too many cakes to choose from and try from just one visit!)

On the actual day of my birthday, I had a nice dinner at Ember at Hotel 1929. It's fine dining. I had the seabass which was yummy. It is not too heavy on my stomach but a little salty on the seasoning. The veal wasn't too bad either, but the colour just looked so raw. On my birthday I received a pleasant surprise with a cake delivered to my office from one of my vendors. I gladly shared with all my colleagues, on top of a coffee cake I baked and shared with them earlier in the day! A greater surprise came when ** baked a brownie for me with a candle on it. (99 marks for first attempt and effort but 49 marks for edibility)

Sweet Wang (Prosperous in Chinese)
This is my 2nd year of pineapple tart baking for CNY. Chinese eat Pineapple Tarts during CNY for prosperity reasons. This time, I managed to convince a galfriend of mine to place some orders from me. I charged a little friendship price :) This is how it looks for the 2 different shapes made, with some effort from my 2 colleagues who happened to come over, my maid and mother!

Not very pro and perfect, but each piece comes baked with love and tenderness.

Verdict: priceless

That's all and Happy New Year folks! Happy feasting.