September 11, 2012

Marble-ful Wonder

It was with great excitement that I bought my 3rd copy of Good Food Magazine Asian edition in Singapore. I was thinking of subscribing to it but couldn't find the online way to do it.

It was then with great disappointment that I read about this September issue being the last issue of this magazine. They had so many nice recipes. Just reading them I am already satisfied and has no need to step into the kitchen. :)

With this sad news, I had to start getting my butt and my hands going. So without further ado, I jumped in to try one of its recipes immediately. An easy retro one i.e. Chocolate Marble Cake.

Because it was so so easy, I was way too confident and flopped quite badly. To make it worse, I did it with my kid and it was quite embarrassing to not produce a nice edible cake at the end of our efforts. Blunders made were way too "childish" to be named. I threw the cake away...

After the kids were in bed, I stepped into the kitchen again, psycho-ing myself that I will be hungry by the time that the cake is done (a good 45mins in the oven). And the result was gooooooooddddd... ok, not THAT good especially when I love those rich dense mousse cakes but good enough as a quick treat for me and my hubby.

I was concerned about the cracked top and after comparing the pics found in the magazine - ah yes, they have at least a pic for every dish! How nice! - they had the same cracked top too. Ok, not my blunder then. Taste wise, I have reduced the sugar by 30% so it was just nice for us. Sweet smelling too. Very retro. Should try again whenever an easy cake is needed.

Chocolate Marble Cake
Adapted from Good Food Magazine Asian edition
Makes a 4" x 8" loaf or a 10cm cake tin

Ingredients 
113g butter unsalted, softened

113g caster sugar (I used only 80g) 
2 large eggs
113g self raising flour
1½ tbsp milk

½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa pwder

Method 

  1. Preheat oven at 180C.
  2. Prepare pan by greasing the base and sides
  3. Place butter, sugar and egg into the food processor. Whizz for 2mins till thick.
  4. Add flour, milk and vanilla extract. Whizz again till combined.
  5. Divide the batter into 2 bowls.
  6. Add cocoa powder to one bowl.
  7. Take 2 spoons to dollop chocolate and vanilla cake mixes into tin alternately.
  8. Tap bottom of tin to remove air bubbles.
  9. Take a skewer (or a toothpick or fork or chopstick) and swirl it around the cake batter to create marble effect
  10. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool and serve.
    Alternatively, cake can be kept in airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for 3 months.


Bake date: 10 Sep 2012

August 29, 2012

Bless (Hot Cross) Buns



Everything that can go wrong went wrong in the making of these buns. Nevertheless it turned out really well! Reason? I prayed over it. Yup, that's right, these buns have been blessed by me.

Surely it couldn't be that bad? So what went wrong? Let's do a count in brackets.


Started with me warming the milk in a microwave (1).

Then I added 7g of yeast to the milk and let it sit for few minutes. It did not froth at all! (2) It could be due to the fact that the milk was slightly hot. :P

Not sure what took over me as I still added the yeast + milk to the dough (3). Left the dough to proof in its ultra sticky state with no kneading done yet. Nothing moved. No rising at all after 10mins. (This is not counted as I left it to proof slightly first before kneading since HHB mentioned about the wet dough).

I opened a new pack of instant yeast and added it to some water with sugar. It froth only slightly. Upset, I simply poured about 3-5g of instant yeast onto the dough (4). Give it a slight fold over with a metal spoon and threw it into my mixer with dough hooks.

After churning about 10mins, surprisingly a nice satiny dough formed. Not wanting to dirty my hands, I used a spatula and tried to "roll" it into a ball and left it in the mixer bowl to proof, covering it with cling wrap.

Due to the high amount of yeast being added, it doubled its size in 20mins instead of the usual 1 hour. I quickly took it out and cut into 16 portions. Rolled them into small balls and place them in a tray.

It was here that I said a prayer and blessed my buns!

Then I realized I forgot about the chocolate pieces (5)! Took chocolate chips out and took out the balls one by one. Tried to wrap some chocolate chips in them. As I did not want to waste my chocolate chips in case the bread did not turn out well,  I did not managed to use 150g but only wrapped in 50g at maximum. I left the buns to rise and it took only 15mins instead of the usual 30mins to double in size. 
I was in such a lousy mood that I had no desire to add the nice chocolate "hot cross" on the buns at all. You can refer to the original recipe here or HHB's post for more information.

My original intention was to keep the buns in the fridge after shaping so that I can have freshly baked bread tomorrow morning for the whole family. However, since I had little faith, I decided to test them out tonight. I chucked the tray into the oven to bake.
And so it happened... the buns turned out very very nice! Soft and not dry at all! Texture was just right. I could have used much more cinnamon and chocolate chips. Alas, me of little faith.
The bread was good but was slightly dry the next day, probably due to the direct dough method being used. Nevertheless, it was good! Even a non-bread person like my hubby took 4 buns. :)

Blessed (Hot Cross) Buns
Makes 15-16 small buns

Ingredients
300g  plain or all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
7g instant yeast35g sugar 
40g unsalted butter, chopped or cubed
125ml milk, warmed
1 egg, lightly beaten
40ml warm water
150g chocolate chunks or chips

Method
  1. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, instant yeast and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Add in butter. Use a fork to rub butter into the flour mixture.
  3. Whisk egg with milk and water.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the egg mixture into it. Mix and knead into a dough.
  5. Add in chocolate chunks or chips and knead slightly to incorporate.
  6. Rest the dough for 10mins so that it will be easier to knead later.
  7. Bring dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead till dough pass the elastic membrane test. Or you can simply chuck it into a mixer with dough hook for this task.
  8. Form dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl.  Cover bowl with cling wrap and let it rise for 1 hour or till it doubles in size.
  9. Remove dough and give a few light kneading on a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 15-16 equal portions and shape into balls. 
  10. Place balls close to one another in a tray. Rest them for 20mins or till they are double in size. You can now brush the top with egg wash if desired. (I'm too lazy to crack another egg for this)
  11. Bake at preheated oven at 200 degC for about 15mins or until golden brown.
Bake date: 28 Aug 2012

Superstition and Sugary Butter Buns

After a long hiatus and now that I am no longer pregnant, I thought I should try baking bread again to see if the myth of "pregnant ladies can't make bread rise" is still valid. Since my bread making skills are sub-par in my view, it will really have to depend on such myths to see if I will get things right without skills and with "superstition" on my side.

Saw this sugary butter buns from Pook's blog and it looked delicious (as always since she does pretty things with food) with very few ingredients. Meaning to say, I do not have to specially head out to buy this and that just to get things going.


I hand kneaded everything and took very very very long to make it elastic (told you I was sub-par in bread making!). That said, the dough did not looked "satiny" at all as how all bread dough should be before you proof it. 

Then I realized, I forgot to add butter!!! Argh... so I added butter and it was better... for a short while and went all sticky again.

Achy arms got the better of me and begged me to give up. So I did. I mean, I HAD TO, right? Every other blogger mentioned how therapeutic hand kneading would be. I just just couldn't agree. Give me a machine anytime!

The result? The buns turned out quite good surprisingly. The original recipe called for 90g of butter and 90g of sugar to be sprinkled on top of the buns before baking. Tried as I might, I just couldn't use them all and used 1/3 of it instead. It still turned out a tad too sweet for my liking.

So superstition is indeed on my side....


Sugary Butter Buns
Makes 10 small buns

Ingredients
Dough
270g  bread flour
30g cake flour
5g salt
2 tsp instant yeast
50g sugar
30g unsalted butter
100g milk
1 egg
80g water


Topping
90g unsalted butter (I used 30g only)
90g granulated sugar (I used 30g only)


Method
  1. Combine flour, salt, instant yeast and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Whisk the egg with milk and water.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the egg mixture into it. Mix and knead into a dough.
  4. Bring dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead till dough pass the elastic membrane test.
  5. Form dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl.  Cover bowl with cling wrap and let it rise for 1 hour or till it doubles in size.
  6. Remove dough and give a few light kneading on a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 10 equal portions and shape into balls. Cover with cling wrap, let the dough balls rest for 10mins.
  7. Roll each ball into a batard or log shape. Rest again for 20mins or till they are double in size.
  8. Just before baking, cut the top of the dough and place the butter cubes over the dough and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  9. Bake at preheated oven at 190 degC for about 15-20mins or until golden brown.

Bake date: 10 Aug 2012

June 21, 2012

Orange Butter Cake

It's been half a year since I have updated this blog. Geesssh... what have I been doing?

I have still been baking. Testing out all the various types of bread without much success. They say that pregnant ladies can't make bread rise. I dismissed it cruelly and tried and tried. Only once.. yup, just once, I managed to debunk the myth. However, it was so pathetic looking that I never got down to blogging or creating a journal for it.

Occasionally, I have been making some muffins or cakes. Again, too grossly looking that it will take me immense courage to even take a picture of them.

Today is different. I was bored. Absolutely bored.

Bored with waiting for my girl to pop into this world. I'm ending 38 weeks now and there is still no sign of her wanting to be out. Work wise I have more or less completed most of my tasks and hence, my hours are occupied with web surfing, napping and ceaseless complaints about my tight tummy and how uncomfortable I am at this moment.

Then I woke up from my nap and suddenly it hit me. Not an idea but a craving. A craving for butter cake! Yup, just that. A fluffy non-intense but rich butter cake. So with a 3 year old kid as my helper, I got my cake.

It was so so so good that after he had a bite, my picky hubby lamented that I should have made it earlier for tea instead of delivering it close to dinner time when we had an appointment elsewhere. That's fine as tomorrow I'll warm it for tea and glean over the fact that preggers can make cakes rise.

Oh, did I add that this is the first time I am using the new Microplane Premium Zester/Grater that I got from Amazon? It was so easy to zest an orange that I did it in less than 15 seconds vs 5 minutes previously. I love fancy tools now. Hubby will be sponsoring my Kitchen Aid stuff... so he said today and here's a record of it.


Orange Butter Cake
Adapted from Mrs Ng SK for the butter cake
Makes a 4" x 8" loaf

Ingredients
115g butter unsalted), softened
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
30g + 85g sugar (I used only 100g of brown sugar in total)
100g self raising flour, sifted
30ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange

Method
  1. Preheat oven at 160C.
  2. Prepare pan by greasing the sides to help the cake to rise well
  3. Separate the eggs, and place the whites into a medium sized bowl. Beat egg whites until soft peaks, gradually add 30g sugar and beat until stiff. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Put in vanilla extract and and beat for a while. Put in egg yolks one by one and beat well after each addition.
  5. Add in half the flour and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add in milk in 2 additions and mix until well incorporated. Mix in remaining flour.
  6. Put half the egg whites in and mix on low speed. Fold in the balance of egg whites and orange zest.
  7. Pour batter into pan and level.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean