April 27, 2011

Say Cheese again!

This post almost didn't manage to make it here.

I didn't managed to bake a baked mango cheesecake the previous round so this time round I did it. I was looking forward to a piece of delicious, firm piece of good yummy baked mango cheesecake after returning home from shopping. When I unmoulded the cake from the pan, something wasn't right. The digestive base seemed wet than usual cheesecake, and when sliced, the cake seemed more like a custard rather than the usual firm baked cheesecake. I thought chilling in the fridge would work but it doesn't seemed to be. I began to doubt whether adding fresh mangoes in a cheesecake is a good choice because the mangoes lose the fresh mango taste and tasted eggy instead.

I was upset, that I still didn't manage to eat my mango cheesecake! But I have no one to blame but myself, for I tweaked the recipe. I found this recipe at Heidi's blog - An Appetite For All Things Good. As i had the Marigold Peach and mango yoghurt, I decided to replace it for the double cream. I thought that since it was similar to another mango cheesecake recipe using mango yoghurt, it should not do much damage?

For a second, I thought that recipe wasn't that good as what Heidi claimed but later I guess it was my wrong substitution of ingredients, because double cream should have been much more creamier, and I had really made the wrong choice by replacing with yoghurt. It was only later that I realised that the other recipe using mango yoghurt had less liquid content than this, which explains why mine was rather wet. So... it goes another learning point, never substitute ingredients frivolously.

Although this cheesecake wasn't give-worthy, I still kept it in the fridge, and had a few mouthfuls. The taste was not that bad actually. A few days later (yup, it didn't go bad, no sour taste so I suppose it's fine), when I eat it again, to my surprise, it tasted so much better. The texture was more firm and creamy. But I dare not give it away, for fear of stomach upset for some. Unfinished ones were thrown away.

Contemplating whether to submit to Aspiring Bakers #6: Say Cheese! , in the end, I decided to. I believe the original recipe should not go wrong if you followed it and don't tweak so much like me. The above picture was taken the day after baked, it was firm, but a little wet. It's just another mango cheesecake recipe for you to consider, and for myself to document. :)

Updates: I just realised I'd forgotten to email Jean to participate in this month's contest. :P So eventually I didn't participate even though I mentioned I will be submitting. Sorry! :P

April 15, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I chose to bake a loaf of bread that day. It's a Saturday and I thought since I have brought my work home, i should bake something that doesn't take up too much of my time. I can leave the kneading to my breadmaker and after which I just have to proof the dough, give it a good punch, shape, proof and bake.

I chose this honey pumpkin bread recipe from Min's blog. I wanted to bake something that I have not attempted before yet I do not wish to spend too much shaping buns. I've always wanted to attempt Tangzhong bread but it was out for me on that day. I could only make do with the direct method. So finally I decided to try this pumpkin bread. At least incorporating a mashed ingredient is something new for me, and it sounds so healthy with pumpkin added. I could still eat the pumpkin if there are leftovers.

The aunties at the supermarket was kind enough to cut a portion of the pumpkin so that I do not have to buy the entire pumpkin. I cut the pumpkin into big chunks (with the skin on) and steam for about 15 minutes. Then i scooped out the flesh and mashed it with a fork.

I had been using my trusted breadmaker to knead the bread dough for a long time since I bought it. This is how the invention of machines makes people lazy. :P

As usual, I dumped everything in sequence into the breadmaker to knead the dough. Halfway through, the maker started making a squeaking sound, and it stopped. I reckon that it got stuck so I shifted the dough so that the blade was able to move again. After a while, the blade got stuck again. I believed that the mashed pumpkin made the dough too thick that the blade was unable to move smoothly. I decided to add the butter (earlier than usual) to soften the dough. However, it didn't work. In fact due to overheating, the breadmaker stopped functioning. I stopped the machine to let it cooled down for a while. From my previous encounters, it would work after cooling down. To my dismay, it was still unable to start up its "engine".

Looking at the sticky pile of dough covered with greasy butter, I had no choice but to knead it with my hands. As I mentioned, I had not been kneading bread dough since the day I bought this breadmaker (you can refer to when I bought it!). My initial plan to have a fuss-free day of baking was shattered as I washed my hands thoroughly and began with the sticky pile.... to my surprise, it wasn't as difficult as I thought. After a few kneads and turns, the butter began to incorporate into the dough and was getting smoother. I didn't wait till I passed the window pane test. I stopped after about 15-20 minutes, when the dough was smooth and slightly elastic.

The first proofing was perfect and so was the second proofing. Unlike some occasions where the proofed dough did not rise very high, this time round, it rised to almost the brim of the pullman tin, raising my hope of a perfect square. Yep a perfect square! It was a beautiful loaf with the orange hue, from fresh pumpkin with no added colouring. The texture was really soft and fluffy even though I did not knead it till 100% perfect. It tasted plain, like any white bread but knowing it contains wholesome goodness, I simply love it. If I had pumpkin seeds, I would certainty included it. I bought this bread slicer from Elyn and was was finally able to use it. With this handy tool, my bread slices were still disastrous! I think I just have to be patient, and with that, I don't need this tool at all? :P

Here's the recipe adapted from Min's blog, I had it translated. I omitted the pumpkin seeds.

Honey Pumpkin Bread Loaf


150g mashed pumpkin

280g bread flour

50g egg

3/4 tsp instant yeast

1/8 tsp salt

20g honey

30g milk

30g unsalted butter

80g pumpkin seeds if using


  1. Cut pumpkin into big chunks, remove the seeds and steam over high heat for about 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft (if you can insert a chopstick). Remove water and let it cool.

  2. Remove the pumpkin skin and weigh out 150g of pumpkin flesh. Mash it with a fork. Set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients (except butter) together to form a dough. Then, keep kneading for about 8 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky to the hands.

  4. But butter into cubes and knead it into the dough. At first, the dough will be sticky and your hands will be a messy lump. Just continue kneading, turning 90 degree clockwise after each knead. The dough will slowly smoothen and become elastic. It is ready when you are able to stretch the dough to a sheer thin layer without breaking.

  5. Round the dough, and put it in a bowl, cover with cling wrap or damp cloth and let it proof until double in size, about 1 hour.

  6. After the first proofing, punch out the air, divide into three equal portions and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

  7. Roll the three doughs into a swiss roll style and place them in a pullman tin, with the sealed portion at the bottom. (if you are using pumpkin seeds, spray the surface of the dough with water, roll the dough over a pan of pumpkin seeds and place the dough in the tin.

  8. Sprinkle the surface with water (I didn't do that) and let it proof again for another 60 minutes. (preheat the oven at 190 degree celsius about 30 minutes in advance)

  9. Cover the tin with its cover, and bake in preheated oven for 35 -40 minutes.

  10. When done, remove from the tin and let it cool.

April 10, 2011

Lovely Blog Award

I received an award! Thank you Zhuoyuan (Bakertan) of Baking Library and Janice of Home Cook Baker for passing this award to me despite being rather inactive here. It serves as a motivation for me to keep this blog going and share as much as I can with all the fellow food bloggers.
Ok, as what the others have done, I have to list down the rules to follow upon receiving this award, which are:

1. Post linking back to the person that gave you the award. 2. Share 7 random things about yourself. 3. Award 15 recently discovered blogs. 4. Drop them a note and tell them about it.

Luckily I referred to my past postings as I'd almost wanted to share similar random facts about myself which I'd shared before. So, can see Im such a very boring person! *lol* :P

1) I love pink! I'm sure you can tell from my previous and current blog layout. :)

2) I am on my way to having my dream kitchen. It was designed by hubby and me (we did not engage interior designer for our upcoming renovation). Stay tuned. *wink wink*

3) I'm sure no one knows (except those who's on my facebook) this.. that I carry a permed hair now. Hehe... I finally pluck up the courage to perm my hair after deliberating for years.

4) I bought so many muffin cases and little cookie bags from daiso / baking supply stores but I can't bear to use them.

5) I will be attending a cake decorating class at Sugar Inc this coming weekend. :)

6) I got my driving license 4 years ago but I think I'm as good as a newbie and the number of times I drive can be counted using my five fingers. If you were to ask to drive now, I can't! :P

7) Baking ingredients/equipment and beauty products are the two shopping items I'd most willing to splurge on, rather than clothes and accessories.

Alright... I wont be passing this award as I've not been blog hopping enough to discover that many new blogs. I would just like to dedicate to all the food bloggers out there. There are so many lovely blogs, by people from all walks of life with a passion for food and baking and you guys are really awesome!

April 2, 2011

No-bake Mango Cheesecake

This mango season sees the sprouting of many mango bakes in the blogsphere that I think readers are all spolit for choice on the variety that one could do with this tropical fruit.

Mango cheesecake was the first thing that came to my mind whenever I thought of baking with mangoes, for I've been eyeing this mango cheesecake recipe in one of the issue of Food & Travel Magazine. I bought a block of cream cheesecake some time back, planning to bake a birthday cake for my girlfriend but plans changed and it had been sitting in the fridge till now, waiting for me!

I set a day to bake a mango cheesecake. I told myself I had to do it before the cream cheese expire. With that, I bought everything, getting ready to make it when I got home. But but, I was too tired when I reach home that day. :( I almost wanted to give up making the cheesecake. In the end, I decided to make something simpler instead, and opted a non-bake cheesecake, which I think would be easier and less tedious.

Sometimes, I really have to salute to some bloggers out there who could make really beautiful birthday layered cakes or pastries with such patience and passion. Although I have been baking for quite a few years, baking cakes for my friends and family, I felt my standard has remained stagnant. I just wished I could have more time, more energy, more patience to be involved in my hobby. But I couldn't do that because of my work committments. But, I do see some coping well and could still bake, cook and take care of their children despite a full-time working lady. I really wonder what would happen if I were to have a child next time... :P My colleagues have been telling me that there's no way I could bake if I have kids, given our current workload.

So, well... I guess there has to be a give and take... if time is limited, you can't possibly do everything well and there's something you got to sacrifice... like how much time you are prepared to spend on your hobby, and how much committment you need to spend on your work, and how much sleep you want to and can sacrifice. It's all about time management and juggling well on your career, family, hobby... the worklife balance. Anyway, sorry for digressing so much and lamenting on all these. Thoughts just came pouring.... :P

Anyhow, I believe the work and effort that you put in will eventually reap its rewards. After receiving the promotion letter yesterday, at least I felt more comforted, that at least the time and effort I spent was worth it. ;)

Back to this no-bake cheesecake, it was not really a success. After letting it set in the fridge for about 8 hours through the entire night, the cheese custard was still rather soft and not firm enough. I believed it was due to the gelatin that was not fully dissolved when I melted it, hence forming some clumps which I discarded. I remembered I used to make a non-bake strawberry cheesecake many years back and the texture was like jelly!

mmm.... I really need to practice more on such frozen desserts like as mousse and non-bake cakes. I always seem not able to get it correct... arghh.

Although this mango cheesecake didnt set as well as it should be, the taste was great and it indeed melt in the mouth, as what Happy Homebaker advised. The sad thing was, about half of it was wasted because I tried to bring to the office for my colleagues to try but it ended up in a melted mash. :P

I'd initially wanted to submit this post to the Aspiring Baker #5: Fruity March, but on second thought, decided not to as I didn't manage to take a nice picture of it, and the unsuccessful attempt with it. But rest assured the recipe os trusted, cos' it's from Florence's Chilled Mango Cheesecake. ;)