Monthly Archives: October 2012

Earl Grey Madeleines

ImageSome cakes are meant to be like that. Brownies are always sliced to squares, financiers in their oval shapes and madeleines, in their seashell like shapes. If not, it wouldn’t be called madeleines, silly! 

I can understand why if some people do not want to bake these, just getting the seashell molds might not be worth it. You know you’re not going to bake muffins in them.

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But I love madeleines! If a place sells them, I’ll definitely grab one and hope it’s as good as the one I tried at The Loaf. Unfortunately it seems that Sydney prefers macarons over madeleines.

Here, in my house, I attempted at baking this dainty pretty looking cake, using a Daiso madeleine mold which probably cost me $2 or less.

Here is the recipe I adapted from Gourmet Kitchen Tales but made a variation with Earl grey tea leaves, sorry, I just had to! It has to be Early Grey.

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There are so many variations on madeleine recipes out there. Some recipes calls for the whole egg, some does not require you to let the mixture rest in the fridge. I was overwhelmed honestly, recipe one after another. I chose this particular one because it sounded promising and it is from Joel Robuchon. It has to work! I also watched a really good demonstration by Rachel Khoo on youtube, actually that was how I discovered her shows and it just amazes me how she cook in that tiny little kitchen! I think she’s got a really good TV personality, I would say she’s the Asian Nigella Lawson. Anyway, back to the madeleines, she did an amazing episode on baking them which I think anyone attempting to bake one should watch it first.

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Earl Grey Madeleines (Makes about 12)

100g Butter

100g Icing Sugar

40g Flour

40g Almond Meal

3 Egg whites

1 Orange Zest

2 Earl grey tea bags

Method:

1. Butter and flour the madeleine mold.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the tea leaves. Put aside and let it cool.

3. Sieve flour and icing sugar together into a bowl. Mix in the almond meal.

4. Beat egg whites to a fluid consistency.

5. Add flour mixture into the egg whites and beat until you get a smooth batter.

6. Keep beating while adding in the cooled melted butter.

7. Place the batter into the fridge for about 1 hour to firm up.

8. When it is ready, preheat oven to 200C.

9. Spoon the batter into the molds. I suggest using a teaspoon to fill them in and under fill them (no more than 3/4 full).

10. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown in colour.

 

 

 

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Orange poppyseed chiffon cake

As I grow older, I slowly got to understand my mother’s consumption habits, especially when it comes to food that she likes. And fashion too. When I was younger, she wore a lot of long sleeved top with colourful graphic prints which I thought was OTT, but now I am seeing those prints everywhere and even thought of getting one the other day. She also has a liking for anything with lace and linen (I used to question her taste for all things lacey) which I later became obsessed with for a while when I was in high school. I had no choice but to admit that “Yes mom, I now love lace too. Hey! We chose the same top!”. True story.


Not too long ago, I started to discover how wonderful chiffon cake is.

I mean, I always hear about how soft and fluffy it is and I’ve also tried it many times in my life, since young actually because it also happens to be my Mom’s favourite type of cake. So, it’s funny that I only start to like it now. That big pillow of airy cake, so light, can be boring at times and unsatisfying. That was exactly how i felt towards chiffon cake. How could my mom enjoy it so much. Perhaps its her Asian taste, preferring lighter desserts over rich creamy chocolate-y gooey brownies and cakes.

The chiffon cake that got me into this chiffon cake madness is the one from Azuma Patisserie. Everyone should try their chiffon cakes. It doesn’t need any explanation.

So I managed to get hold of a chiffon cake tin when I went back to Malaysia for my holidays. I even bought Okashi by Keiko Ishida, because I noticed her chiffon cakes recipes are everywhere. Since everyone made it look so easy, I tried.

Maybe the recipes are wrong, oven’s temperature wasn’t right, egg whites are not separated nicely and not beaten to its correct stiffness. I failed too many times. For other recipes, I tend to stay away from them a while if I fail the first time, but not for the chiffon cake. For everyone out there who failed at chiffon cakes, just keep trying.

Here, this time, I tried a recipe from the Australian Masterchef Magazine. This is the recipe which worked for me so far, but I think that is because of the higher flour content which differs from the Asian recipes.

Note for chiffon cakes:

Separate the egg whites when they are still cold (from the refrigerator) and let it slowly warm up to room temperature. I find it easier to separate them this way, if not the yolk tends to break easily. Tools must be absolutely clean as well. I rather have the cake stay longer in the oven than to take them out under cooked, because it will sink. Lastly, be patient while waiting for the cake to cool down after coming out from the oven. This will take more than an hour. You want it to be at least 85 percent cooled before removing it from the tin so that the cake is able to stand on its own and not collapse.

Orange poppyseed chiffon cake (makes a 25cm chiffon cake)

adapted from Masterchef magazine

Ingredients

400ml orange juice (to be reduced to half later)

7 eggs (separated)

330g (1 1/2 cups) castor sugar

125ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil

Zest from an orange

40g (1/4 cup) poppyseeds

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

300g (2cups) self raising flour (sifted)

1. Preheat oven to 190C.

2. Place orange juice in a small sauce pan and bring to boil over med high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes until the juice reduced by half. Cool.

3. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks and 165g(3/4 cup) sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick.

4. Combine 180ml (3/4 cup) of the reduced orange juice, oil, poppyseeds and zest in a jug. Gradually add to the yolk mixture and whisk till combined.

5. In stainless steel bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks. Gradually add remaining 165g (3/4 cup) of sugar and whisk until stiff and glossy.

6. Add flour to egg yolk mixture using a wire whisk and whisk until well incorporated.

7. Take 1/3 of the meringue mixture and fold into the mixture using a wire whisk. This prepares the mixture for more meringue so it is easily incorporated later on. Then, fold in another 1/3 using the wire whisk gently. Finally, pour the mixture into the meringue bowl to incorporate the final 1/3 of the meringue.

8. Pour into chiffon cake tin and bake for 10min.

9. Reduce oven temperature to 170C and bake for another 50minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

10. Invert the cake tin after removing from the oven over a wine bottle. Leave cake to cool completely (may take more than an hour).

Reducing the orange juice to about half.

Invert the cake, with the help of a wine bottle. U need a bottle, trust me. I almost flatten my cake.

Chiffon cakes aren’t the prettiest cakes. To beautify them, whip up some whipped cream flavoured with syrup or just enjoy them bare as it is.

I didn’t use the fork in the end.

Green tea sablés

I was once given a box of cookies as a thank you gift by a japanese student I hosted last time. I can remember it very well because the box was filled with individually wrapped cookies ( in which later I read that they were indeed actually sablés) with different delicate flavours, a common Japanese pastry trait. There was earl grey, green tea, citrus and others which I couldn’t remember. All i know is that I savoured each and everyone one of them and wishing someone could make me the same thing, again.
So, that was my first encounter (probably) with sablés.

Sablés are the French equivalent to the shortbread biscuits but just sounds so much nicer. Sablés

Perhaps the Japanese popularized it and made it look so pretty and delicate. They are sold in most Japanese bakeries I saw and in commercialized snacks. Put that next to good old shortbread cookies and it just does not look the same.

So here’s one of my attempts in creating sablés. I find it hard sometimes to make it just right because the dough can be abit too dry to form into logs or too wet, but if you follow the recipe well, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Roll into a log. I used the help of the baking paper to roll and shape them.

One thing I realized is that it takes some time for the dough to come together because usually the recipe tells you to incorporate the flour mixture into the butter using a spatula/wooden spoon instead of a mixer. So keep mixing gently till you get the right consistency.
I also suggest you to thaw the dough abit before slicing them (if you refrigerate them in the freezer or if it feels very hard). This way, you get a neat cut without the dough crumbling and getting knife marks. So, patience. Just let it soften a little.

Nicely spaced and ready to go into the oven. You could tell the edges are a bit rough.

If you are a perfectionist and couldn’t stand the sight of the edges of the cookies showing lines, roll the cookie log on a plate of granulated sugar to cover them before slicing. I skipped this, but that’s because I do not have granulated sugar with me.

Green tea sablés  (Makes about 50 cookies)

Adapted from Okashi by Keiko Ishida

Ingredients:

Plain flour/pastry flour 240g (chilled)

Green tea powder 15g

Unsalted butter 150g at room temp

Icing sugar 130g

Salt (a pinch)

Egg yolks 2

Granulated sugar, optional (for covering the sides of dough)

Egg white (beaten)

Green tea leaves (for garnishing)

1.Sift flour and green tea powder together, twice.

2. Beat butter, icing sugar and salt until soft and creamy. Add yolks and mix well.

3. Add flour and green tea powder mixture and fold in with a spatula until a dough is formed.

4. Cover the dough with cling film and refrigerate for about 15 minutes so that it is firm enough to roll into logs.

5. Divide dough into half. Place a portion onto baking paper and shape it into a log about 3.5cm in diameter. Wrap it up with the baking paper and do the same to the other. Refrigerate logs until firm.

6. Preheat oven to 150C.

7. Thaw the dough a bit before cutting them into 7mm thick rounds. If you want, dip the edges with granulated sugar.

8. Place them on baking trays and brush a little egg white over the cookies and garnish with green tea leaves.

9. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Olive oil orange cake

Occasionally, I need a break from chocolate. I love chocolate like any chocolate lover out there. I can have chocolate every single day, whenever. Just on some days, I needed a lighter dessert, something spring-y, perhaps. Hey, its spring afterall!

So i chose to bake this olive oil orange cake. Originally, its meant to be topped with pistachios but, I could not find any at the supermarket ( can you believe it) so I opted for walnuts instead. I love walnuts, they are good for your hair i heard. Most of the time, I have issues with nuts in my dessert, especially in cakes. I tend to avoid cakes with visible nuts on it, I guess I just don’t like those nuts getting in the way when I am eating my cakes. This time, I just went with it. I just had to, just because the original recipe has pistachios in it and I thought an orange cake would be too plain old plain. Well, I had no problems with it but I might want to just roast and coat them with honey, marmalade or caramel next time before topping them on the cake.

It wasn’t difficult, this cake. The only part i didnt like was juicing the orange, thats all. Honestly, I chose this recipe because of the olive oil used, instead of butter or other vegetable oil but I could hardly smell or taste the difference. Probably just abit, when i open the oven doors. The taste of orange is pretty subtle as well, I definitely wanted more punch in the cake. Probably ginger to kick it up a notch? Still, its a good cake, especially with a cup of earl grey tea (again).

Olive Oil Orange Cake with Walnuts (makes two 22cm round cake)

adapted from tandteacake

(The recipe makes two 22cm round cake tin cake, but I halved the recipe for a 9inch square tin cake)

Ingredients

400g (14 oz) pastry flour, sifted
250g (8.8 oz) castor sugar
200ml (6.75 fl. oz) olive oil
4 eggs, separate the whites
Grated zest of an orange
250ml (8.45 fl. oz) freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
Chopped walnuts (just to sprinkle on top)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease the baking tin.

2. Beat egg whites until stiff. Refridgerate.

3. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with vanilla bean until fluffy. Add sugar and zest. Continue beating.

4. Add olive oil in a steady stream while still beating the mixture.

5. Add sifted flour and baking powder and fold in well.

6. Add orange juice bit by bit and mix well.

7. Fold in the egg whites.

8. Pour into cake pan and sprinkle chopped walnuts on top.

9. Bake for 30 minutes. ( I only baked mine for about 20 minutes as the cake was on the thinner side)

New Classic Brownie

Since I’ve moved back to Sydney, I have been on a baking craze. I will casually browse through food blogs the night before, especially tastespotting because it has everything in a page. It is not hard at all to find something that I’d wanna bake. Then, I will be in a dilemma over which to try out and I stress myself out a little sometimes. Next morning, I will start getting my ingredients and bake.

Lately, I have been so caught up with work I do not even have the time to go through food blogs. Okay, I still go through them, but I had to stop because its such a torture to see and having the urge to bake but you know how much time constraint you have and alternating between work related tabs and food tabs on the browser can get pretty stressful and gives you the guilt trip.

So after some off days/week from flour and sugar, I finally had the time to myself, but I was stressing myself again. Why? I was so overwhelmed by so many recipes that I’ve been thinking of trying that I suddenly did not know how to pick. Choices. Reminded me about The Paradox of Choice.

It was tough, but in the end, I settled for good old brownie. I needed something familiar and quick.
After reading how awesome the brownie were and how people raved about it, I was sold. But seriously, how bad can a brownie be? And I wonder, how many brownie recipes have we all gone through and still go on searching for more? We are all spoilt with brownie recipes. So many ‘Best brownie ever’ and ‘Fudgiest brownie ever’ recipes.

Anyway, like anyone else, I am still willing to try out different brownie recipes. and here it is. A really fudgy brownie. I wished I used better chocolate, as it turned out, my cadbury 70% dark chocolate just couldn’t make it ( that’s all I have).
They are called NEW CLASSIC BROWNIES. I found the name weird at first, but then I understood. I guess its because the author made some tweaking to the conventional brownie method.

Brownie turned out to be super fudgy, crisp on the top ( how a brownie should be ). I also sprinkled some sea salt and dropped some dark chocolate chips on top before popping them into the oven.

SO here it is:

New Classic Brownie,
adapted from Anna of Crunchycreamysweet

Ingredients

113g ( 4 oz. ) unsalted butter
100g unsweetened chocolate (I used 70% cadbury dark chocolate)
225g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temperature
60g all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a square 8inch cake pan with baking paper.

2. Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler until a few pieces of chocolate are still visible. Remove from heat.

3. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla until well combined.

4. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Make sure the egg is incorporated into the batter before adding the next.

5. Add flour and fold using a spatula.

6. Whisk the batter with a mixer/wire whisk for about a minute until the batter pulls away from the mixing bowl ( I accidentally omitted this step, I think it might help in making the brownie more fudgy and chewy)

7. Pour the batter into the pan. (I also sprinkled sea salt and topped it with dark choc chips) and bake for 20 minutes.

8. While it is baking, prepare an ice bath at the sink.

9. Once the brownie comes out from the oven, gently place it onto the ice bath to stop the brownie from further cooking (so the insides remains fudgy) and let it cool completely before slicing.

Now, take a few slices and make yourself a cup of earl grey.

Caramel topped banana bread/cake

I grew up eating banana cake, not banana bread. Honestly, I am not sure of the difference. No one calls it banana cake here in Australia. Perhaps because its baked in a loaf pan, resembling a loaf of bread? But one thing’s for sure, they are both so easy to love and eat.
I have gone through countless recipes for banana bread….cake..bread. It was disastrous the first time i baked it. My friends and I ended up using the cake for a game where the loser had to finish them up. But that was during one of my early baking days. Still, that cant be an excuse because I baked another banana nutella bread not too long ago ( I mean, how bad can that be?) and let’s just say, it was definitely for the health conscious and someone who wants a  banana bread but tried to cheat and failed.


Banana bread after bread after bread. Then, comes this. Caramel, banana bread. Yes, caramel may seem too much for a banana bread to handle, but it worked so well! Especially when the caramel sets on top and a little on the sides. Neither one overpowered the other. This recipe has been in my Bourke St Bakery cookbook but somehow i always flip past it and jump to the familiar cakes i always see on display at their bakery. I don’t remember seeing this crazy banana bread in BSB!

So yeah, I shall call this the final banana bread recipe. I am going to stop searching for another one. Unless I stumble upon another one of course 😉


I don’t recommend toasting this like how we always toast and butter them. This should actually be called a banana cake, its more cake like. In fact, the recipe uses a round cake pan instead of the loaf pan but I halved the recipe and it fills up just nice in the loaf pan.

I made the caramel sauce earlier, just to feel more prepared.

Banana cake with caramel sauce (makes a 28cm round tin cake)
adapted from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook
For the banana cake:

250g unsalted butter

355g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

4 eggs

200g sour cream

300g self raising flour (sifted)

2-3 ripe bananas

20g soft brown sugar or golden syrup

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Grease and line a 28cm (11 1/4 inch) round cake tin. Allow the baking paper to protrude 1 inch above tin.

3. Lightly mash bananas and drizzle with the brown sugar/golden syrup. Put aside.

4. Cream butter and sugar and vanilla with a paddle attachment on mixer. (if not, just use the normal beater) until soft and creamy.

5. Add eggs one at a time. Make sure it is fully incorporated before adding the next egg.

6. Add sour cream in two batches, then fold in sifted flour in two batches. ( I alternate between these 2)

7. Fold in the mashed banana into the mixture and pour into baking tin.

8.Bake for 55min to 1 hr 15min.

 

Caramel sauce (makes more than enough for a cake, but can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week)

200ml whipping cream (35% fat)

100ml water

300g castor sugar

30ml liquid glucose (optional)

80g unsalted butter

1.Pour cream into saucepan over high heat and bring it to almost boiling point.

2. Put the water, sugar and glucose syrup in another larger saucepan over high heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Once it dissolves, do not stir and cook for another 7-10min or until it turns caramel in colour. Remove from heat immediately as it will continue to cook after.

3. Pour the hot cream into the caramel (be careful! as it will bubble up 4 times its original volume). Place it back on the heat and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat, cool a little and whisk in the butter.

 

Assembling

After cake cools for about 10min, poke about forty holes into the cake using a skewer and pour caramel sauce over the top while the cake is still warm.