November 27, 2010

Aspiring Bakers#1: Chiffon Cakes (Nov 2010) - Pandan Chiffon Cakes

In order to meet the timeline to support Small Small Baker's first blogging event that she had initiated, I told myself I have to prioritise to put up this chiffon post ahead of other bakes. ;)

I may not have put up this because I thought pandan chiffon cake is boring? :P It is the most common chiffon cake and I believe anyone who had attempted a chiffon cake would have made it. In fact I'm always keen to try out new variations of chiffons but my mum only recognises pandan chiffon cakes and is always asking me to bake either pandan chiffon cake or butter cake. My attempts to change her tastebuds for other variations failed.

I thought since she love pandan chiffon cake so much, it may not be a bad idea that I keep doing it, so that at least I may be able to perfect a pandan chiffon cake one day, out of my own modifications. ;) So there you go, there are actually two chiffon cake recipes in this post. I made one after the other on the same day, for hubby and his parents, and not to waste the packet of coconut cream as well.

I used Judy Koh's recipes that I got from her class, using a 3 egg recipe. According to the recipe, it can make a 17-inch chiffon cake with additional 6 muffin size. I made using a 21-inch pan, so the cake was not very tall. I was feeling unrest while waiting for the chiffon cake to cool as I thought I had under beat the egg whites, and fortunately it came out beautifully. :D

Pandan Chiffon Cake Recipe 1


3 egg yolks
30g sugar
pinch of salt
20g corn oil
36g cconut milk
54g cake flour
1/4 tsp pandan paste

3 egg whites
40g sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Whisk egg yolks, salt and sugar first. Remove from the mixer (I used a hand whisk), add in corn oil, pandan paste and coconut milk. Stir well with a hand whisk before adding in the flour. Mix till smooth.
  3. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric beater, adding sugar gradually.
  4. Fold 1/3 of the egg white batter gently into the egg yolk batter until slightly incorporated, add another 1/3, fold and finally the remaining egg whites and fold till well incorporated.
  5. Pour mixture into chiffon cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes (for 17-inch pan) or 45 minutes (for 21-inch pan).

Recipe Source: Creative Culinaire, recipe by Judy Koh

I attempted this recipe from Food Travel magazine (May 2009 Issue). From the picture, it looks as tempting as it was described - fragrantly fluffy. There are some differences in the recipes so I thought it would be a good one to try it and compare the result side by side.

Verdict? Sure, it was very soft and fluffy but my poor moulding skills spoilt it all. :P There is just something about the 17-inch pan that always resulted in a less than perfect moulding! I hope it is an excuse but I can't figure out the reason why. :P

I believe it is the raising agent that gives it the extra fluffiness. In fact I thought it was too soft that it gets flatten easily. Taste wise, there was not much of a difference. If you were to compare the proportion of the ingredients, you'll see that this recipe has more liquid content, while Judy's recipe has lesser, hence a firmer structure. Personally I prefer Judy's recipe because of it's structure, yet equal softness. You can try out the two recipes and see which you prefer. ;)

Previously I tried the recipe posted by Aunty Yochana (It was actually from Kelvin Chai's Chiffon Cake is Done as I have that book) but I personally do not like the taste as it uses more coconut milk than oil.

Pandan Chiffon Cake (Recipe 2)


3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
60g self-raising flour
40g coconut milk
32g oil
1/4 tsp salt
10ml water mixed with 1 tsp pandan paste

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
30g caster sugar


The method is the same as the one posted above. You just need to mix the 10ml of water and pandan paste evenly before adding to the egg yolk batter. Temperature and baking time remains the same.
Recipe Source: Food Travel magazine (May 2009 Issue) - Original recipe uses 7 eggs for a 25-inch pan but I scaled down the recipe and baked in a 17-inch pan. It reached the top of the pan nicely.

The one on the left is the recipe by Food & Travel. It was greener in colour because of more pandan paste used. Next time, I would experiment with pandan juice.

November 18, 2010

Basic Vanilla Pound Cake

My mum always loves buttery cakes but I will try to refrain from making it or use a lighter version with lesser butter because of her cholestrol level.

This pound cake was made just before a family gathering so that I could divide and pack it for my brothers and their family individually. I think this is the first time I made a pound cake using the same ratio of flour, sugar and butter. It sounds scary when I see the ratio of butter and sugar used but I believe the key to balacing between health and indulgence is to eat in moderation. It would not do good to your health if you are eating too much of only one kind of a healthy food.

The cake did not turn out as fluffy as I'd prefer and since its the first time I'm making a pound cake, I am not sure if I got it correct, as it was rather dense, but soft nonetheless. It is plain enough for those who love just absolutely plain butter cakes like my mum. I don't think I would make this often but maybe once in a while for my mummy. :)

Vanilla Pound Cake
150g pastry/cakeflour
1/8 tsp baking powder
150g unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs (about 150g)
1 tsp vanilla extract (priginal recipe uses 1 lemon, grated for its zest)
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Line cake pan with parchment paper. Sift flour and baking powder together twice.
  3. Beat butter, icing sugar and salt together in an electric mixer until light, fluffy and pale. Gradually add eggs and beat well.
  4. Add flour and baking powder mixture and fold through completely using a spatula. Surface of the batter should be glossy and smooth.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and make a lengthwise dent in the middle with a spatula. Bake for about 50 minutes.
  6. When cake is done, remove from the baking pan and place on a wire rack to cool.
Recipe adapted from: "Okashi Treats" by keiko ishida

November 7, 2010

Wedding DIY - personalised wedding bear

I love to D-I-Y (Do It Yourself) stuffs. If baking had not become my top hobby, there'll be lots of handicrafts I'd love to do. Cross stitch (the one I'm making for my dd is still done halfway since like 1.5 years ago? :P), crochet, knitting, accessories and many more.

There were actually a list of DIY that I had planned to do for my ROM but I was too ambitious and some were actually unneccessary. dd had been asking me to have more rest instead of trying to perfect things here and there and making myself so tired nd busy, since I also have my work committments. Well, I guess those were common for excited bride-to-be like me. :P

There was one in my list which I have to do - personalise our wedding bear.

I actually prefer the wedding ring pillow given by Lee Hwa Jewellery if we purchase the wedding bands from them. However, after visiting a few stores, we settled for a pair at Soo Kee Jewellery. Instead of providing a wedding ring pillow, they gave a pair of wedding bear as a complimentary. I thought of making my own ring pillow but it is just not cost effective and with my sewing skills, it wouldn't turn out good. I decided to make do with the complimentary wedding bear but I had to let it have a "make-over" as it was too plain.
I made a set of clothing for them, added some crystals to the ring holder and some seashells to the base and tada! ... I have my own personalised wedding bear, solely my own. It became the star during my ROM as photographers were busy snapping shots of it away, no less than the groom and bride!

I am by no means a tailor who can actually made a set of clothing. What I did was I literally wrapped some ribbons and cloth on the bears and sew to seal it. For the bride, I wrapped a white silky ribbon with some patterned design over its body. Then I used a frill corsage kit (please refer to the picture below) to wrap it around its waist, that made up its skirt. The material is organza-like so it's very light and sweet. I also glued some silver sequins on it. Finally I gave the bride bear a final touch with a handmade string of pearl necklace! :)

I sewed a big ribbon to cover the untidy needle works at the back.

Making a piece of clothing for the groom bear was the challenging part. I can't simply wrapped a piece of cloth for a male. I thought of buying a pair of wedding bear and take off its clothes for my bear to wear! *lol* Very fortunately, I have my dear mum who took the trouble to help me out with it. She learnt some tailoring during her younger days and had in fact made me a cardigan and pyjamas for my brothers and I when we were kids. She said she had forgotten her skills but she still tried to do some trials and errors by cutting some scrapes of cloth. Finally she was able to cut out the shape for the bear's pants. What we did then was to wrap the black colour felt cloth over its thighs, and sew the pants tightly. The pants ended too tight for the bear so you'll find that it had difficulty sitting straight.

Instead of making it a coat, I came up with a brilliant idea of sewing a strap over it's shoulder (I do not know what this type of clothing is called). :) My mum took out her"antique" (vintage) buttons that she had kept over decades from our old clothings and I chose a matching set for its buttons.

I glued some "blings blings" on the ring holder. :D

These are my mum's collection of "antique buttons". ;)

This was supposed to be a corsage kit, from Daiso and I used it for the bride's skirt and it turned out really pretty.

Thank you mommy for helping me out. :D

November 2, 2010

Charity Breakfast, 3rd year in a row!

When I received the email circular about this year's charity breakfast event, I paused for a moment, closed the email and continued with my work. As much as I would like to continue participating in this event like I did for the past two years, this period of time is extremely busy for me that for that moment when I saw the email, my first thought was "impossible to do it this year lah."

Had my work buddy (who was nominated to be the representative of our department for this year's charity breakfast event) not been persuading me to participate, I would have just gave it a miss this year.

With the support of my good buddy cum baking kaki, Huiqin, we eventually gave it a go again! Timing was bad though, as it was held on a Thursday, which means that we can't have the whole day to prepare like we did last year which was held on a Monday. We applied for half a day off the day before but we didn't have the luxury of time to make as many for sale because I had to "return" the kitchen to her by 4pm on the day of baking so that she can cook and prepare dinner.

We decided brownies as one of our items this year, as it was much easier to make and the baking time for a tray is shorter. We reckon that brownies would not be a good breakfast item, hence our alternative item was sandwiches. As there were other stalls selling sandwiches as well, Huiqin came up with this pizza bread. Althought the taste was good, it would have turned cold by the time we reached the office. A few sample tries for our colleagues indicated that it was not a very welcoming item on the menu.

As we were pondering whether to go ahead with the pizza bread item, this idea suddenly popped up in my head - using my sandwich maker to make toasted sandwich on the spot. My mum have this sandwich maker which my brother won it in a lucky draw many years back. We used it only a few times and it was the best choice for making freshly toasted sandwiches on the spot.

This year, things somehow didn't turn out smoothly as expected. The brownies were a little burnt just because we overlooked by a mere 1-2 minutes and were not in time to tent the top part of the brownie. I managed to salvage it by trimming the burnt portion and frost the top with chocolate icing. (hopefully my colleagues didn't see this!) :P Anyway, I'm not too worried cos' the taste of the brownies was still good.
Another mishap was, on the day of the charity breakfast event, the coordinator missed our stall and we were left with no stall. Anyway, eventually we still managed to share a little space with another colleague and managed to sell all our brownies and sandwiches, thanks to the support of our colleagues. ;)

One really has to put his heart and soul into doing something to make it successful. I thought over and reconciled that this year, somehow I wasn't committed enough to this event whole-heartedly, partly because I did not want to spend too much time on it because it was out of my busy schedule. Yet I still wish to participate because it's a charity event and out of my collesgue's persuasion. It has taught me that if I ever decided on doing something, I must do it WELL, especially if it's baking-related, I do not wish to tarnish my name. :P

Huiqin in action - making sandwiches

I was in charge of toasting the sandwich.

These are truly the experienced cooks and entrepreneurs. :)