Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jittery, Lemony Chiffon



I can't remember when was the last time I baked a chiffon cake. I only remembered my experience with chiffon has not been a fantastic one. But I do love the challenge of baking them, which explains why I keep going back to chiffon cakes when I run out of baking ideas. Since I have some lemons lying around in the fridge, I decided to try out this recipe which I have bookmarked last year.



To be honest, I was having the jitters when preparing the batter. As usual, I can't tell when to stop beating the egg whites, so I did it entirely by gut feeling. The result was not too bad, and the usual problem of a dense layer at the bottom was non-existent! I was really quite happy with the outcome, although I cheated by using baking powder to make the cake rise. Lol.



Ingredients (16 cm tube pan):

65 g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
26 g caster sugar
32.5ml oil
32.5 ml water
17.5 ml lemon juice
Zest from 1 lemon

2 egg whites
26 g caster sugar

Method:
  1. Sieve flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.
  2. Separate egg yolks and egg whites.
  3. Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl, add sugar in 3 separate additions and with a manual whisk, whisk till the mixture becomes sticky and turns pale.
  4. Drizzle in the oil, whisking at the same time till the mixture is well combined. Repeat the same with the water, followed by the lemon juice.
  5. Sieve over the flour mixture and whisk until flour mixture is fully incorporated into the batter. Add in the lemon zest and mix well.
  6. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until mixture becomes frothy and foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat on high speed until just before stiff peaks form.
  7. Add the beaten egg white into the egg yolk batter in 3 separate additions, each time folding gently with a spatula until just blended.
  8. Pour batter into a 16cm (6 inch) tube pan. Tap the pan lightly on a table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.
  9. Bake in pre-heated oven at 170 degC for 35 ~ 40mins or until the cake surface turns golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and invert the pan immediately. Let cool completely before unmould. To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the pan and the center core. Release the cake and run the knife along the base of the pan to remove the cake.
Adapted from Happy Home Baking's Lemon Chiffon Cake.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back to Basics 3: Cookies



Baking session came early for me this week, on a Friday night. MY invited several of her friends, mostly with no baking experience, for a mass baking session. She cannot imagine the chaos that will be created in her kitchen, so she requested for my asistance. Of course, I'm ever-ready for a baking session. With so many newcomers, we settled on baking simple stuff like banana muffins and chocolate cookies.

This particular recipe was given by her friend, LL. This was supposed to replicate Famous Amos' cookies. I had tried it once earlier this year and it didn't turn out very good, possibly because I had used the wrong type of oats or because I reduced the sugar and chocolate. This attempt is much better and the cookies are really fragrant. As for whether they really resemble Famous Amos' cookies, I can't really tell as I can't even remember when was the last time I ate Famous Amos. I suggest avid bakers to give this a try and give me your verdict. This recipe is in American terms, so for bakers like me who are more familiar with weight, feel free to convert the quantity to grams.

Ingredients (makes a humongous lot):

2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
24 oz. chocolate chips
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Cadbury bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla

Method:
  1. Cream the butter and both sugars.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla, mix together.
  3. Add flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate
    chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Mix.
  4. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees (180 degC).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Back to Basics 2: Chocolate Cupcakes



To be honest, I have lost most energy and courage to bake anything fanciful. So this explains my second week (and more weeks to come) of "back to basics". This week, I decided to bake something using cocoa powder, before mine expires in 2 months' time.



I remembered watching a video on chocolate cupcakes on joyofbaking.com some time back and decided to give the recipe a try. I nearly forgot about my cute little square paper cups which I bought specially for the Hokkaido chiffion cakes. So instead of the coventional round cakes, I have square cupcakes.



The preparation of the batter was straightforward and I took care not to over-bake the cakes. Other than the cracks on the surface, I am rather pleased with the outcome. I decided to omit the fattening and sweet frosting and just eat the cake on its own. This recipe is definitely worth keeping!

Ingredients (makes 5 cupcakes):

25 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used natural cocoa powder + 1/8 tsp baking soda)
120 ml boiling hot water
90 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
55 g butter
100 g sugar (I used 85 g)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 190 deg C.
  2. In a small bowl, stir cocoa powder (and baking soda if using) with hot water until smooth. Leave to cool.
  3. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In another mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg in 2 additions, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.
  5. Add in flour mixture and stir until just incorporated.
  6. Add in cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
  7. Fill cups until 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 mins, until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Do not over-bake or the cakes will be dry.
  8. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
Adapted from Joyofbaking's Chocolate Cupcakes.