January 29, 2008

My First Angel Food Cake

I finally made my first angel food cake. For those who are not too familiar with what's an angel food cake, it is basically an airy sponge cake, rather similar to a chiffon cake in texture; it is usually baked in a tube pan and it relies on beaten egg whites for leavening; but does not contain any oil, butter or egg yolks..so it's literally fat free! Though it usually has a higher sugar content.

Even though I had wanted to make this in the past, the number of egg whites is way too tremendous and I don't want to end up with leftover ingredients in the fridge. I had 6 egg whites left from the previous almond cookies baking, which I used for egg washing. After some contemplation between almond crisps or an angel cake, finally decided on the latter.

The recipe I used was from Williams Sonoma - Essential of Baking. I scaled down the recipe to half since the original requires 10 egg whites for a 23-cm pan while I used a 16-cm.

I wasn't expecting high hopes since this is my first try and I'm not sure whether I would get the 'soft peaks' in the beating of egg whites correctly. Unlike chiffon cake which usually asked for stiff peaks, this requires the egg whites to be beaten until soft peaks where the tips droop down slightly when the beater is lifted up.

I "played smart" by placing the pan towards the right side of the oven as the left side always gets browned faster. I don't know if that was the reason, cos' halfway through baking, the right side of the cake shrunk!! Well, well, I was disappointed of course, that it had already shrink inside the oven. The funny thing is the other was fine..no shrinking at all. To my relieve, when I overturned it for cooling, the cake did not drop out of the pan. Upon unmoulding, the cake actually looked good, if not for the fact that one side was shrinking badly...(see the picture below) LOL!

Chiffon/angel cakes are such a pain...and interestingly challenging. To think I can get one side 'well done' and the other side deformed. You can get different results if not handled properly. I guess since they are so delicate, understanding your oven in order to suit the baking needs is also important. Of course, not forgetting to polish up my skills as well. ;)

I shall post the original recipe here, but you may scale it to half if you had half the number of eggs.


1 1/4 cup sugar (315 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (125 g ) cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
10 large egg whites, cold
Juice of one lemon, strained
2 tbsp lukewarm water
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (i omitted this)
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)

  1. Sift 1/2 cup (125 g) plus 2 tbsp of the sugar, flour and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper. Sift a second time.
  2. Combine egg whites, lemon juice and lukewarm water in a large bowl. Place the bowl in a sink of warm water.
  3. Stir the whites until they no longer feel chilly, but still cold. Stir in cream of tartar.
  4. Beat egg whites on medium high speed until soft peaks form, and have tripled in volume.
  5. Slowly pour in remaining sugar and extracts and beat until the mixture firms up slightly. (When the beaters are lifted, the whites should fall over gently.
  6. Sift 1/3 of the dry ingredients over the whipped whites.
  7. Fold in gently; continue sifting the remaining flour by 1/3, folding in the flour until fully incorporated. Do not overfold.
  8. Scrape the batter into a tube pan, smooth the surface.
  9. Bake the cake until the top us golden and toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. (i used 30 minutes for my 16-cm pan).
  10. Once done, remove from the oven and invert immediately.
  11. Let it cool for about 45 minutes before moulding.

Note: This method seems to be slightly different from the ones I usually see. The lemon juice is added into the egg whites, then beaten instead of adding at the last instance. You may want to reduce the sugar as it's very sweet. The flour is sifted 3 times to aerate the dry ingredients, helping ti ensure a light-textured cake.

The cake turned out soft, and a little sticky, probably due to the sugar. It is extremely white in colour..no wonder it's called "Angel Food Cake", besides the fact that it's fat-free. ! It is light and non greasy...I had it with a little blueberry pie filling. The tarty lemon taste pairs well with the blueberry pie fillings. Yummy! :)

By the way, pardon for the pictures which seemed rather bright. I baked and took the picture at night so I thought of using the 'vivid colour' setting to make it less dull.

Had been baking Chinese New Year cookie intensively. Stay tuned to my post! ;)

January 25, 2008

Healthy Non-green Salad

As much as I would like to add variety to my bentos, usually the time spent in preparing and freshness of the bento to stay are some of my considerations. I've tried preparing salad greens as a side to my main meals but they usually turn soggy. They really need to be eaten fresh, including the drizzling of the dressing. So no salads for my packed lunch. I'm running out of ideas...!

Happened to see this roasted pumpkin salad in the recent issue of "mindyourbody" The Straits Times. Recently they have been publishing articles on baked recipes! Some of them looks really good. :)

This pumpkin salad is an alternative to salad greens and is a really healthy dish! I don't have any likings for pumpkins in the past at all, probably cos' my mum don't introduce this dish in the house so very often, it became a dish we steer clear of, not really cos' we hate it. I think she only cooked pumpkin once in my lifetime, to my recall! I only started to know about this vegetable as I read more about food and healthy eating.

This roasted pumpkin turned out surprisingly tasty, as compared to my mum's. :P Made this for one of my lunch the other day. :) Below is the recipe for one serving.


1 purple onion (I used half big onion as I did not have purple onion)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
About 0.4 kg pumpkin (including the skin)
6 cherry tomatoes
Some salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 green chilli (I omitted as I did not have)

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Peel and slice onion. Squeeze lemon juice over the sliced onions. Add a pinch of salt to season and leave aside.
  3. Peel pumpkin skin, and cut into large cubes. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, some salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
  4. Place marinated pumpkin and cherry tomatoes on a baking tray and roast for about 30 minutes, till caramelised and burnt in parts.
  5. Top with pickled onion rings and sliced green chiilies. You may add a swirl of olive oil.
  6. Serve.
This is a versatile dish and you may add any dressing to your likings, or I would suggest some pumpkin seeds or nuts.

Took some pictures of my recent bentos. The lunch case looked cute and Jap hor...hehe. Bought from Daiso. it's supposed to keep packed food warm/cold cos' there's this aluminium foil layer underneath but it doesn't seemed to work though.

Tuna Mayo Sandwiches; more tuna; cherry tomatoes; orange. (The bread was my Hokkaido Loaf!)

Potato Salad with mayo, spring onions and bacon bits; fruits

January 20, 2008


After a previous failed attempt at "onigiris', I finally had a go at it again. I had used the normal long grained rice, so I had expected that it won't work...everything just fell apart! :P Recently just got myself a packet of calrose short grained rice to try (1 kg pack at $2 + only) and finally get the sticky texture of Japanese rice!

Using the triangular rice mould from Daiso, I tried to make the onigiris and stuffed it with tuna and pork floss fillings. I had thought it would be an easy task for me; but very often, I overestimated cooking/baking times and the level of difficulty (Or maybe I'm just not good at it). :P I find that in order to cover the fillings nicely, I had to make a 'well' so that the fillings would not be exposed at the sides. To camouflage the ugly sides, I wrapped with seaweed. :P
For the tuna fillings, I tried the 'Japanese' style from Mrs Kwok's Tuna Loaf. However, this is not advisable as cooking the tuna makes the fillings wet, thus during moulding and pressing, the rice becomes wet and difficult to handle. I would have the fillings on top next time and coat with furikake. :) Hey thanks Happy Mrs Kwok for your many advices :)

This was my lunch bento. :) It's a very filling meal! Hope to try my hands at sushi making. The maki sushi sandwiches - Happy HomeBaker looks good too. ;)

Cooking Japanese Rice
  1. Wash rice thoroughly in cold running water, until water runs clear. Left it to drain and set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour (I did not follow this but this is recommended in the book to ensure the rice absorb the right amount of water and be well moistened).
  2. Put rice in a deep pan and add water. Water level should not be more than a third from the base of the pan. (As a guide, for 1 cup rice, add 1 cup water). This should make about 2 servings bowl.
  3. Cover the pan, place over high heat and bring to the boil; this may take 5 minutes. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for 10-13 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.
For sushi rice
Mix 1.5 tbsp Japanese rice vinegar, 3 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt to the cooked rice immediately after the rice has been cooked and stir well until dissolved.
Note: I did not use a rice cooker as I'm making small servings only. I think the same should apply if using rice cooker.
This recipe was modified from "A Kitchen Handbook - Japanese Cooking" by Emi Kazko that I borrowed from the library. I find the taste just right but you may adjust the taste to your preference as I've actually reduced the amount of vinegar, sugar and salt. As for shaping, do remember to wet everything - from your hands to the mould, if using. :)

January 16, 2008

Japanese Souffle Cheesecake

After baking the blueberry cheesecake for Kailing, I was left with cream cheese which had to be used as fast as possible, cream cheese being a very perishable dairy product. Several ideas came popping...Japanese cheese cake, cheese chiffon, blueberry cheese tart, cheese biscuits, cheese muffins, chilled strawberry cheesecake....the list goes on...I would often decided on one, and then at the last minute thought of baking something else when I came across some inviting recipes. Then, I will be outweighing the cost and effect involved - opportunity cost such as time involved, ingredients available, hard/easy, high calorie; effect - will mum like it, will i eat it, can my nephew eat it..etc etc....Haha what to do, I'm always thinking so much, which makes me a slow decision maker; which of cos if you were to see in a brighter view, I make wise decisions. I seldom regret what I do.

Okok see, I'm digressing again. Hehe. Anyway the answer is up there. In the end, I decided to bake this Japanese souffle cheesecake. The amount of leftover cream cheesecake exactly fits into the recipe! Good no wastage! This time, no more burnt top as I cleverly placed the pan more towards the right side and front of the oven, where it is not so hot. I also placed it at the lower third shelf. The cheesecake browned nicely :) It cracked a little, however after it cooled, the cracks closed itself as it shrunk, leaving behind a 'wrinkled rough skin'. Is it supposed to be like this??

I adapted the recipe from Hungry Hamster Food Adventure and made some modifications


125 g cream cheese
20 g butter
40 ml milk
3 egg yolks
32 g cake flour
8 g corn flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
3 egg whites
55 g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbs apricot jam (Omitted)

  1. Preheat the Oven to 160°C.
  2. Melt the butter, cream cheese, and milk on a double boiler, leave to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks, salt, lemon juice, lemon rind, and cake flour together until well mixed.
  4. Add cheese and milk mixture into egg yolk mixture until well mixed.
  5. In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Slowly add in the sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form, and the mixture is glossy.
  6. Slowly fold in the egg white batter into the egg yolk mixture, 1/3 at a time, until incorporated. Pour into an 8 inch springform tin and bake in a waterbath for 30-40 min or until cooked when inserted with a skewer.
  7. Remove from the mould immediately to prevent the cake from sinking.
  8. If using apricot jam, mixed the apricot jam with a bit of water and warmed it in the microwave.
  9. Brush the apricot jam all over the top of the cheesecake to give it a glossy finish.
  10. Refrigerate after cooling
Recipe Source: Hungry Hamster Food Adventure

Indeed the cake was cottony soft and the top was springy and spongy. After refrigeration, the texture remained soft and light. My mum said it was too cheesy, even though it was just a light cheesecake. Luckily my best friend, bingki shared the cake with me and she said it looked like 'real cheesecake'..Haha I told her of cos' it's a real cheesecake. Yeah, I knew she meant to say it looked like those sold in bakeries. :) Well, so I had improved! ;) She had been with me throughout my baking journey, be it bad or good times, LOL and always so supportive of whatever I baked, be my taster and gave my genuine comments. Thanks my dear gal! :)

January 12, 2008

Hokkaido Floss Loaf

I made this again! Yes yes...the famous Hokkaido Milky Loaf. I had some leftover whipping cream which I had to use up in case before it turns sourish...it's such a pain whenever I had to buy large quantities of ingredients for certain bakes, requiring only a little of it and letting the rest gone to a waste after it turns bad. So, here I am, trying to perfect my skills with this great recipe again.

Please don't be deceived by the picture. The loaf looks really ugly on the surface, but the interior texture is the real substance. It was really superb! This was the most successful bread, in terms of texture - soft and really fluffy and delicious I had churned out so far. I'm so happy! I couldn't found the size of pullman loaf tin I wanted and had to make do with my regular loaf pan. The dough rose so high this time and even higher when it was baking, thus resulting in this irregularly risen loaf. The loaf rose very high up to the brim of the oven and almost touched the heating element. Luckily I had placed it at the lower third shelf. As usual, the top was a little burnt and I had to use an aluminium foil to cover it.

This time round, I was a little helpless with the sticky dough so I decided to use my handheld mixer with the dough hook to help me mix the dough together before kneading. I had not used the handheld mixer in bread making before as I thought it was not powerful enough. However after hooking for a while, the dough began to pull away from the sides of the bowl and the dough became smooth and more elastic. I took the dough out and kneaded for about 10 minutes. It had not passed the stretch test yet. I decided to hook it for a while more, about 10 minutes and I was happy that it became more stretchy! I kneaded for about another 5 minutes or so and tested it. It pulled away quite a distance without tearing! This is the best I had achieved so far! I had, in one of my chinese bread-making cookbook which says that when a kneaded bread dough is pulled apart until it tears, the tear should be able to form a nice rounded hole (instead of a an irregular hole), this would show that the stretch test is done.

I then carried on with the proofing, rounding and resting, and final proofing of the dough. (Please refer to my previous post for the recipe. It's entirely the same but I had it halved this time). I also added pork floss before rolling it into swiss roll style. I think I would roll the dough to make it thinner next time, so that I can achieve more swirls when the bread is sliced. I had forgotten to take close-up pictures of the fluffy texture but it was definitely softer than the previous attempt. :)

When I removed it from the pan, it was so soft that I feared having the bread being squeezed. I finally achieved to that extent! Yay! Hehe...

Able to savour my own freshly baked soft bread; and seeing others enjoying it makes me a happy girl...Hehe..My handheld mixer is not that 'useless' in bread making afterall. I'll probably incorporate it into my mixing and kneading next time. At least, it do saves me some time I guess...:)

January 10, 2008

Lunch Bento - Tomato Fried Rice

I have been bringing lunch bentos to work often ever since I'm transferred to my current workplace. There ain't many eating places around and is kinda inconvenient. Luckily this suits me as I don't mind packing my lunch to work as it is much healthier and saves the trouble of deciding what to eat and melting myself in the hot sun while having to take buses / walking to the nearest coffee shop (unless it's in town where I can shop and walk around but unfortunately it's not :P).

Most of the time I only packed simple, easy-to-prepare lunch such as sandwiches, potato salads, pastas, etc. Today is the first time I did my own fried rice for my lunch after I saw this simple, yet looks appetizing tomato fried rice with scrambled egg by Happy Mrs Kwok. It was indeed simple; I fried the rice this morning without much preparation. I used the leftover white rice from yesterday's dinner.

All the condiments added were just nice, neither too oily nor dry; the taste was just right. I cooked extras for my mum and she was surprised that it was tasty! She thought I only know how to bake and bake and bake..LOL! She had not tasted fried rice with tomato sauce before either.

I followed Mrs Kwok's recipe, but I added some green peas and topped with some pork floss, fried onions and a dash of pepper. It's yummy! Hey, thanks Mrs Kwok for sharing!

Do refer to Mrs Kwok's blog if you are interested. Her's looked more delicious than mine, very bright and golden. :D

January 8, 2008

Blueberry Cheesecake for dear KL

Cheesecake is something that I don't often make, as my family don't fancy cheesecake, and it would be way too fattening for me to eat it all alone :P Last week, we celebrated our dear Kailing's birthday; she loves cheesecake so this was something I had planned long ago to make for her.

Ever since I started baking, friends of mine who are lucky enough would have Aimei's specially made birthday cakes..hehe ;) Sorry to those who were not so lucky especially BK - you know who you are :) cos' probably that time I wasn't confident enough yet to bake you one or sometimes the timing just wasn't suitable to bring the cake outside, especially when I'm meeting you guys just after work or some other places and my office does not have a fridge. BK, rest assured this year I'll definitely bake the nicest, yummiest cake for you, either before or after your examinations ok? ;)

I combined the recipe from Aunty Yochana's American sour cream cheesecake and Florence's New York Cheesecake. Luck doesn't seemed to be on my side. I had a hard time searching for cream cheese and blueberry pie filling! :(

On the day when I planned to make this cheesecake, almost every supermarkets seemed to run out of Philaedephia cream cheese. I've seen comments that Philaedephia is one of the best brand for cream cheese. I've not tried that before and would so much like to have a go at it this time round. My last resort landed at Phoon Huat - Sembawang Branch where I knew they sell the Redman house brand. Luckily, they still carry this Australian cream cheese (don't exactly know wha brand is that - just stated Autralian cream cheese0. I was rather skeptical whether the spreadable type would be suitable for cheesecake but according to the shop assistant, it could. Otherwise I would have to abort my plan. Same goes for blueberry pie filling; all supemarkets ran out of those canned blueberry pie fillings. I was so lucky to have found it finally at the bakery near my neighbourhood where they actually sold bottles of self-packed blueberry pie filling, those they used for spreading onto waffles. Lessons learnt - I must remember to stock up on the essential ingredients earlier next time round! I had thought I would have no problem with these ingredients and I wanted the freshest so decided to buy only on the day itself.

The recipe had been modified to suit my pan size. So if you were to bake in larger pan, do take note or refer to the recipe source.



60 g digestive biscuits
25 g unsalted butter, melted

Cream cheese filling

250 g cream cheese
50 g fine sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
7.5 g plain flour
1/2 no. grated lemon zest
1/4 tbsp lemon juice
2 no. small eggs
25 ml whipping cream


Blueberry pie filling (note: I omitted sour cream topping as this doesn't seemed to be common here)


  1. Tossed crushed biscuit crumbs into melted butter.
  2. Press biscuit mixture over a lined pan and leave aside.
  3. Bake biscuit base at 165°C for 10 minutes. Leave aside for later use.
  4. Cream cream cheese with sugar till light, add eggs one at a time till well mixed.
  5. Add in lemon zest and lemon juice.
  6. Add in vanilla extract and plain flour and mix thoroughly.
  7. Pour in whipping cream and mix thoroughly, then pour into prepared springform tin.
  8. Steam bake for 35-40 mins at 160°C. (note: this timing is for my 5-inch pan, which surprisingly took such a short time to be baked. For 7-8 inch, it should take about 1 hour 30 minutes but please note that it varies with your oven, mine probably took shorter time cos' my oven was rather hot).
  9. Once baked, let it cool.
  10. Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight to let it set.
  11. Spread blueberry pie filling and serve!

Recipe Source: From Aunty Yochana & Florence

Note: The original recipe was for 7-8 inch springboard pan but I halved the recipe and used a 5-inch cake tin with removable base. There was still some extra batter for 2 large silicon moulds. I omitted the sour cream topping and spread blueberry pie filling on top directly.

This is how the 'naked cake' turned out, this photo was taken after it had been chilled overnight. I was actually prepared for the top to be cracked, having understand the temperament of my oven. But not to worry, cos' I've prepared my secret weapon - blueberries!! Nobody would know! LOL...so we could have guessed how bakeries out there could have done to salvage their cracked cheesecake. ;)

This was the first time I made a rich cheesecake, and I was quite pleased with the results, if not for the crack on top. The biscuit base was also too thick as I merely halved the recipe and could not gauge how thick it was when pressing onto the pan. Other than that, it was smooth, rich and the taste was not too sweet. Heavenly! Most importantly it brought a big wide smile on Kailing!

Mini Cheesecakes made from silicon moulds

We had our dinner at Kenny Roger and I had the chance to try their corn muffins once again. The last time I dined in there, I had not closely savour how the taste was like, I just knew it's yummy. This time round, I tried to compare with the corn muffin I baked previously and found that it was not too far off from this original one, with the exception that kenny Roger's more soft and fluffy. I shall try to improve on the recipe again when I have the time!!

From top left: Me, Shunmei, Kailing, Kexian

Our Birthday girl!

Well, the next birthday girl would be me, in less than 2 months time. ;) Haha, wonder if I should bake for myself?? Haha, seems rather funny to bake myself a cake and have my friends celebrate for me hor...LOL.. :D

January 1, 2008

I love homemade buns :D

It has been quite some time since I last made some homemade buns. I had the whole sunday afternoon so decided to get down to making it. :D

I was attracted by this 'wonderfully soft bread' posted by Florence - Do What I Like. I had all the ingredients on hand, and the reviews were good.

The dough looked rather yellowish in colour probably because of the egg yolks used. I must say this dough is rather elastic as compared to other recipes I had tried before. I kneaded by hand and after 30 minutes, I just gave up. Although I would say I did reached the windowpane test to some level, it was not totally very stretchable and elastic. I had seen in some books where they could achieve really elastic dough that can be stretched for a rather long distance without tearing. Is this actually achievable? I did not have a power mixer and my hand power is all that I can do.

Here's the recipe adapted from Florence's blog.


  • 312 g bread flour
  • 60 g cake flour
  • 40 g Nestle Coffeemate (I used milk powder)
  • 115 ml skim milk
  • 20 g condensed milk
  • 55 g castor sugar
  • 3 g salt
  • 7 g instant yeast
  • 1 egg + 2 egg yolks
  • 40 g butter
  • egg glaze - 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water


  1. Sift flour mixture.
  2. Add in all the ingredients except butter.
  3. Mix till a dough is formed.
  4. Knead in butter until the dough is soft and elastic (window pane test).
  5. Prove for about about 50 minutes.
  6. Divide dough into portions and shaped or wrap in fillings as desired (See below).
  7. Proof for about 50 minutes.
  8. Brush with egg wash. Baked at 190C for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked.
Cinnamon Buns

  • Weigh 255 g dough, dust a work surface and roll it to a 20 cm by 25 cm rectangular flat dough.
  • Brush the top with water; sprinkle 1 tsp of cinnamon mix with 1 tsp castor sugar. (Used more if you like cinnamon. For me, I felt it's not cinnamon-ny enough)
  • Top with raisins; I added some walnuts as well.
  • Roll it like a swiss roll and seal the ends.
  • Trim the sides. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.
  • Mix 24 g icing sugar mix with 1 tsp of warm water and drizzle onto cooled buns. (I omitted this)
Red Bean buns

  • Divide into 8 portions (about 55 g to 60 g) each.
  • Shape as desired.

Recipe Source: Florence - Do What I like

Yield: 4 Cinnamon buns and 8 red bean buns / 12 buns portions

I measured out some dough to make a few pieces of cinnamon buns while I shaped the remaining dough and wrapped it with red bean paste from Daiso. The whole kitchen was filled with a nice aroma of freshly baked bread especially from the one infused with cinnamon.

Red Bean Buns sprinkled with white sesame seeds

Cinnamon Buns

Verdict? The buns were very soft when out fresh of the oven. I couldn't wait to try it! Hehe...However after it cooled down, it hardened a bit, especially on those buns which were a little burnt on the surface due to uneven browning. I find that the interior were always not as fluffy as those sold outside; you know those that were really soft and fluffy that when you squeeze it, it literally can't return to its original form. LOL don't know if you know what I meant...

I'm having problems with my oven as well; there is uneven heat distribution, causing the upper left side to brown first. Thus, I always have to put a piece of aluminium foil halfway during baking. This is giving problems for those delicate cakes where opening of oven doors is a no no. :(

Can see that the surface is very glossy? Haha cos' I glazed it too liberally with egg wash. I had too much of it from one large egg and I do not want to let it go to a waste...

I also forgotten one thing - I did not line the baking tray. Well actually I did not know whether it was necessary or not. I had always been doing that but I simply forgotten about it that day until I placed the buns on the tray. Thinking it would not matter, I didn't lined it. My poor buns had their bottom badly burnt. :( I even called my brother to come get the buns as he liked red beans. lol. In order not to disappoint him with a bitter-taste buns, I salvaged the buns by carefully scraping away some of the burnt bottom! heheh...:P

This is my first post of year 2008!

Here's wishing everyone a great year ahead! Happy Baking!!! ;)