Sunday, March 29, 2009

Apple Sauce & Cinnamon Cupcake

Had an exam this morning and while I felt relieved that it's finally over, I'm quite sure that I'll fail big time. (#_#) In order to de-stress & comfort myself, I need to have my therapy .... Baking Therapy !!!

So, i tried out this recipe since I had all the ingredients the recipe calls for. It was great. Love the cinnamon smell while it was baking ... the cupcakes turned out soft & moist ... the pecans & apple slices added a nice crunch ... the raisins were plum & juicy... 100% yummy!

Apple Sauce & Cinnamon Cupcake
Ingredients (Makes 1 dozen)

115g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
115g (4oz) caster sugar
115g (4oz) self-raising flour
2 eggs
115g (4oz) unsweetened apple sauce (I bought those under the baby food section)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
50g (2oz) pecans, chopped
75g (3 oz) sultanas
1 small red apple, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon granulated sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degC. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line the muffin tin with papercups.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, flour & eggs in a mixing bowl & beat with an electric whisk until smooth, about 2 - 3 mins.
  3. Stir in the apple sauce, cinnamon, pecans & sultanas.
  4. Spoon the batter into the cups. Lay the apple slices on top & sprinkle with a little sugar.
  5. Bake for 25 mins or until golden brown & a skewer / toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Remove tin from oven & cool for 5 mins. Then remove the cupcakes & cool on a rack.

Recipe from: 500 Cupcakes & Muffins by Fergal Connolly

According to the recipe, these cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Trust me ... you must try this recipe ... it is that simple yet that good (oh, did I mention my hubby actually had 2 at a go?). I bet it will taste even better served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream .... sluurrpppp :P~~~

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Dessert to "Pick-Me-Up"

Tiramisu. A famous Italian dessert and definitely one of my favorite. Once, a TV program I watched explained that the word tira~mi~su actually means 'pick-me-up' or 'pull-me-up'. I totally agreed. Somehow, indulging in this soft velvety dessert always has an uplifting effect on me.

So, my mum requested that I do this 'pull-me-up' as a birthday treat for my uncle's birthday yesterday. Prior to that, she's been asking for it several times but I keep delaying, partly also be'cos I didn't want her to have too much of it for health reasons. Though I doubted her 'kind' intention *lolz*, I gladly obliged this time since it was requested on 'legitimate' grounds. (^_^)

The original recipe is meant to end up with a tiramisu cake but I prepared in individual cups instead to serve as after-dinner dessert. I also settled on commercial lady finger biscuits (known as savoiardi) rather than baking my own, not wanting to 'burn' my Thurs night after work, & simply concentrated on making the 'mousse' portion.

I love the dessert cups as I feel it adds a nice touch to the look of the tiramisu. It even comes along with dome-shaped cover to make space for decorations on top.

The taste? Simply wonderful. It's so light in texture yet so rich in flavor. Ummm ... am I getting a little dreamy ?!?! I feel like I'm being lifted up to the sky ...... (must be the Khalua working).
Oh btw, I found this website that shares quite a lot of information on Tiramisu.

Ingredients (Enough to yield 8 servings or a 6" round cake)

2 egg yolks
30g honey
30g icing sugar
2 gelatine sheets*
250g mascapone cheese
250g dairy whipping cream

Coffee liquor mixture

10g instant coffee granules
50g caster sugar
150 hot water
10g coffee liquor (I use Khalua)

Some savoiardi (lady finger biscuit) or vanilla sponge cake base
Cocoa powder

  1. Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water to soften.
  2. n a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks till slightly thick & pale yellow in color. Add honey, icing sugar & set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Mix well & increase the temperature slowly till approx. 65 degC. Remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water.
  3. Squeeze the gelation sheets to get rid of excess water & mix into the heated egg yolk mixture from Step (2). Add in the mascapone cheese & mix till well blended.
  4. In another clean, dry mixing bowl, whisk the dairy cream till soft peaks form.
  5. Add the whipped dairy cream into the egg yolk mixture & fold till combined.
  6. Lay the base of a 6" round mousse ring /the dessert cups with some lady finger / sponge cake & brush the coffee liqour mixture over generously. Pour in 1/2 portion of the mousse.
  7. Repeat with some more lady finger / sponge cake, the coffee liquor mixture and pour in the remaining 1/2 portion of the mousse. Spread evenly.
  8. Refrigerate till set & dust some cocoa powder on top. Decorate as desired. Best served chilled.

Recipe from: 轻松学会做点心 by 吴美珠(台湾)

*The gelatine sheets can be replaced with 8g of gelatine powder. You may reduce the amount of gelatine used or omit it if serving in cups/container. Reducing it will result in softer, mousse-like texture while increasing it will result in firmer, cake-like form.

Baking 101 - As raw egg yolks are used in making tiramisu, heating the egg yolk mixture to 65 degC helps to "sanitize" & kill the germs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marble Chiffon Cake

Here's the other Chiffon Cake I did on Sunday - Marble Chiffon Cake which is a mixture of vanilla & chocolate chiffon. This time round, I folded in the egg white icing gently with patience making sure it's well blended without small lumps of egg white still 'floating' inside the batter, yet not too much to burst the air bubbles.

This round, the end result was rather pleasing as the cake did not shrink after cooling. The texture is as fluffy & springy as I like it to be, the taste is very good too (though I prefer the refreshing fruity scent of the Grapefruit version). In fact, when I try it minutes ago, it still stays soft right out from the fridge with a nice cooling sensation ?!?! The only grumble I had was the marble effect which didn't show up contrasting enough - I was too anxious to pour the batter into the pan for baking & did not do a very good job of swirling the patterns ... ummmm (>_<)

Though the mixing of egg white poses a challenge to me and will continue to do so till I conquer thee, I will not give up exploring & experimenting more Chiffon recipes & improve on my baking (which is still very much at amateur level). (^_^)

Marble Chiffon Cake
Ingredients (For a 20-com round chiffon tin)

100g egg yolks (I use about 5 yolks)
50g caster suagr (A)
80g vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
80g fresh milk
3g vanilla essence (I use 1 teaspoon)
10g rum
110g cake flour
2g baking powder (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
250g egg white (I use about 6 - 7 whites)
90g caster sugar (B)
2g salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
10g cocoa powder
40g hot water


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degC. Sieve the flour & baking powder together, set aside.
  2. Separate the egg yolks & egg white. Whisk the yolks & sugar (A) in a mixing bowl till it turns pale yellow in color.
  3. Add oil, milk, vanilla essence & rum. Mix till combined.
  4. Sieve in the flour mixture & whisk till the flour is fully incorporated into the batter.
  5. In another dry, clean mixing bowl, add the salt into the egg white & whisk till foamy/frothy. Add in the sugar (B) over 2 separate additions & whisk the egg white till stiff peaks form.
  6. Add 1/2 the egg white icing into the egg yolk batter. Fold the egg white in gently using a spatula. Then add in the remaining 1/2 portion of the egg white icing & repeat till just combined.
  7. Dissolve the cocoa powder in the hot water. Add in a small portion of the cake batter & mix till well blended to form the cocoa batter.
  8. Pour the cocoa batter into the vanilla batter & mix gently with a few strokes using the spatula. Pour the batter into the tube pan (do not grease the pan) & using a chopstick, swirl the batter to create a marble effect.
  9. Bang the pan gently on a work surface to release large air bubbles trapped inside the batter. Bake for 30 - 40 mins till the top turns golden brown or a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven & invert the pan immediately. Let cool completely before unmould.

Recipe from: 轻松学会做点心 by 吴美珠(台湾)

For those who would like to give Chiffon Cake a shot, here's some pointers I have gathered based on my own trial & errors. I would greatly appreciate if anyone (food bloggers, baking bloggers all are welcome) can share their comments & experiences. A big THANK YOU in advance!
  1. Do not grease the pan. The batter needs to adhere to the wall of the cake pan so that it can 'crawl' up when baking. This is due to its relatively high liquid content.
  2. If possible, use refrigerated egg whites & add salt / cream of tartar to the egg white when whisking. These will help to stabilise the egg white icing & lower the chance of 'bursting' the air bubbles in it required for the cake rise & 'bloom'.
  3. If dried fruits, nuts or chocolate are being added to the batter, the amount should not be too heavy and/or the size of the fruit/nut/chip should not be too big. These may cause the cake to collaspe or the ingredients may settle at the bottom (as it's too heavy for the cake to support).
  4. Do not overbeat the egg white icing.
  5. Remember to invert the pan immediately & leave the cake to cool completely before unmould.
  6. Use a palette knife to run through the sides, centre & bottom to unmould.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Grapefruit Chiffon Cake

As mentioned in a separate post here, I did 2 types of Chiffon Cake today, one of which is the Grapefruit Chiffon Cake. I decided on baking Chiffon Cake as I wanted to have something that's light & healthier. As I flipped through the pages, this recipe caught my eye - Wonder why I didn't notice it before? Not only is it a Chiffon recipe, it uses Grapefruit - A fruit bursting with nutrients & one a woman on diet cannot leave without. (^.^)

Grapefruit Chiffon Cake w/ Cranberries

Served w/ fresh grapefruit segments on the side

Little did I know that Grapefruit is actually a new member to the citrus family, derived from a natural cross-breed of orange & pomelo. No wonder I've always feel that it tastes rather similar to its bigger brother - Pomelo. And how did it get its name? Cos it grows in clusters like grapes (just as I guess so). (Source:

Chiffon Cake has always been popular, providing an alternative compared to dense & rich cakes. It uses liquid fats (vegetable oil) instead of butter & more liquid (water, milk or juices) in the batter thus resulting in a light & springy texture. I hardly bake Chiffon & till now, the mixing of egg white into the batter still poses a great challenge for me. If the egg white is not mix well & thorough, it will result in large pocket holes. But if it's mix too long, too much air might be released from the egg white, possibly causing the cake to collaspe .... Gggrrrr (-_-!)

Mine did shrink & the cake as a whole was too ugly to be seen so I sliced it up before taking the pics. I also added dried cranberries but somehow , it all sink to the bottom ... I concluded the egg white fellow is causing trouble again (>_<)

Nevertheless, the smell is fantastic & the taste is really really good. The grapefuit I bought was surprisingly sweet & it was totally refreshing when I had the fresh Grapefruit segments to go along with the Chiffon Cake. This is definitely one of the recipes I'm gonna keep & try again.

Grapefruit Chiffon Cake
Ingredients (For a 20-cm round chiffon tin)

5 egg yolks
130g caster sugar
1g salt (I use 1/4 teaspoon)
100cc vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
120cc grapefruit juice (from 1 grapefruit)
Zest from 1 grapefruit
130g cake flour
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
6 egg white
20-30g dried cranberries, coarsely shopped (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degC. Sieve the flour & baking powder together for 2 - 3 times, set aside.
  2. Separate the egg yolks & white. Use an electric mixer to whisk the egg yolks, salt & 1/2 amount of the sugar in a mixing bowl till the batter turns thick & pale yellow in color.
  3. Add in oil gradually & mix well, followed by the grapefruit juice & zest. Whisk till combined.
  4. Sieve the flour mixture over & whisk till flour is fully incorporated into the batter. Add in the cranberries now, if using & mix well.
  5. In a clean dry mixing bowl, whisk the egg white till frothy & foamy. Add in the remaining 1/2 amount of sugar in 2 separate additions & beat on high speed till stiff peaks form.
  6. Add 1/3 of the egg white icing to the egg yolk batter. Mix well with a whisk.
  7. Add in another 1/3 of the egg white icing to the egg yolk batter. Now using a spatula, fold the egg white gently into the batter till just blended (traces of edd white can still be seen).
  8. Fold on the remaining 1/3 egg white icing & fold in gently with the spatula till blended (traces of egg white disappear).
  9. Pour the batter into the chiffon tube pan (do not grease the pan) & bang the pan gently on a work surface 2 - 3 times to get rid of the large air bubbles trapped inside the batter.
  10. Bake for 30 - 40 mins till the top turns golden brown & a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  11. Remove from oven & invert the pan immediately. Let cool completely before unmould (runs a palette knife along the side, the centre & the bottom to unmould).

Recipe from: 送礼西点DIY by 加藤千惠(日本)

A Great Sunday Morning

Usually by the time I wake up on a Sunday morning, it would be around 9-10+ am if I'm lucky or easily past noon when I'm not (Yes, I know I know but Hey! It's the ONLY day that I get to sleep late so ....). Anyway, on such Sundays, we will simply settle our breakfast (or brunch) at neighbouring coffee shops or Macdonald's. In fact, I've been feeling guilty that I haven't prepared breakfast for my hubby for a long while.

But, somehow, something must have gotten into me today for I was up wide awake at 7.30AM !!! It was such a great feeling ... enjoying the fresh morning, breathing in the cool, crisp air without having to rush for work. And since I had such a rare good start on a Sunday, I decided I had to prepare something decent for my hubby.

After rummaging through my fridge & shelves, I found quite a few items enough to whip up a simple western breakfast. So what's today menu at I-Luv-Baking B&B? Minestrone soup, salad greens, palette of cheese, ham, luncheon meat (MY FAV), eggs to choose from to go along with healthy black sesame bread & Meiji low fat fresh milk !

Haha ... when my sis-in-law & hubby saw the spread, their eyes went wide open & go "Wooh ... this is what you call SIMPLE ?" (^.^)

Our breakfast spread today.

We thoroughly enjoyed it & I was full to my neck that I had to skip lunch. After the 'humble' meal, I was in such good spirit & started flipping through my mini-library of baking recipes. Finally, I settled on baking Chiffon cake and in fact, did 2 at a go - Grapefruit Chiffon & Marble Chiffon (Recipes are provided on separate posts).

Ain't I greedy? I had all the stuffing in my sandwich!

What a great & fruitful day !!! I resolve to have more of such Sundays in 2009 ... (^_^)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Rosti w/ Cordon Bleu

Yesterday was my mum's 59th birthday. I had originally wanted to make Tiramisu (her fav) for her as the birthday cake. However, it was a tradition for Penang-ian not to celebrate birthday years ending with -9 (I didn't really ask why ... some sort of a taboo) & she requested to keep it simple. So, I offer to cook lunch & decided to do a dish we had while we were travelling in Europe - Rosti with Cordon Bleu.

Rosti is a rather popular potato dish & are considered by many a national dish of Switzerland. But in Singapore, the only places I have come across it so far are at Marche@Vivocity & another 2 Japanese-themed restaurants located at Raffles City Shopping Centre basement & Bugis Junction Level 1 (I cant recall their names). For a potato lover like me, it is THE ITEM I'll definitely order everytime I go to Marche.
I have several trial & error before finally getting the hang of cooking Rosti. It was great - pan-fried with butter till crisp on the surface yet soft on the inside, lightly seasoned with salt & freshly ground black pepper. I can still taste the natural sweetness of the potato. A simple yet delightful dish ...

Rosti w/ Chicken Cordon Bleu & Salad (see the cheese oozing out?)

I coupled the Rosti with Cordon Bleu - chicken breast fillet (I also use pork loin slice) with cheese & ham wrapped in the middle, then coated with breadcrumbs & deep/pan-fried till golden brown. Sinful but truly yummylicious ...

This one with Pork Cordon Bleu

To make myself feel less guilty & to make it a well-balanced meal, I had it served with garden salad of my own creation - toss of butterhead lettuce, cherry tomatoes, jap cucumber, blueberry & kiwiberry. KIWIBERRY ?!?! Yup, it's not a typo error. I was so fascinated when I first saw it at NTUC I just had to get it. It looks like a 'hair-less' Kiwi & taste like a kiwi fruit - sweet with slight hint of sourness BUT with the size of a grape! It would be a great decorating fruit for dessert & cakes. I hope I can still find it the next time I need it for my baking.

Cross-section of the Kiwiberry. Diameter is only abt 2cm

Side by side with Blueberry & against my fingers

It was a simple & quiet birthday but felt great spending time with my mum & family. Happy Birthday Mom !!! (^.^)