Archive for the ‘Cake’ Category

I was completely engrossed in the third of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, when my 13 year old son (K) reached out for my right hand and tucked a pen between my fingers. He was trying to get my attention away from the book, but I was unreservedly enthralled by the adventure of Daniel Sempere and Fermín Romero de Torres that I hadn’t the clue that my boy got me to leave my signature on a piece of paper he had been holding all the time.

That evening, while preparing for dinner, K came up to me, and here’s our conversation …

K: Mama, so finally we are going to Japan!

Me: Huh? What are you talking about? When?

K: Ha ha … you promised to bring me to Japan.

Me: Say what? I never promised anything …

K (with a cheeky grin): Too late, Mama….you just did; this afternoon while you were so buried in your book. See, here …

He showed me a small piece of paper which was neatly handwritten with a sworn statement or an oath, swearing my promise to bring him to Japan for a holiday. My jaw dropped and my eyes goggled reading the troth with my signature on it, dated 1st May, 2014. I wanted to take the paper from his hand and ripped it off and thrashed it but he was too swift for me. He has the signed oath carefully hidden under lock and key to this day!

All things Japanese

K loves Sushi, all kinds of Sushi (and ramen). When he had his braces removed in July 2014, the first thing he requested was ~ yes ~ Sushi!! What else??

And here’s his portion! For a 13-year old, that’s one BIG portion and he walloped all 36 maki-zushi or nori-maki + uramaki + nigiri-zushi!!

Sakura Restaurant, Leuven

 

Kuching 2015

It doesn’t matter in which continent we are headed to, this young lad would sniff his way to a Sushi bar or resto anywhere in the vicinity. 

Sakae Sushi, Kuching, Sarawak

Summer 2016

When Pokémon Go was initially released in some countries in July 2016, K was adamant to download the App on his smartphone asap. His summer hols last year saw him so carried away with the new game craze and, boy was I glad that it was over in August during our annual family Summer Hols in the Provence in South France. I asked him why he was not ‘catching’ his Pokémons anymore. He said the holiday home we stayed in, sucked. The internet connection was so bad, ie almost no wifi and the place we stayed was rather deserted with no ‘active’ or ‘new’ Pokémons to catch. And so the game faded to oblivion, sooner than expected, much to his parents’ relief. Whew!

This was the photo he took in Carpentras, South France, to remind himself of the game that came and went …

Hand-painted boulder of Pikachu, Carpentras, South France



Christmas 2016

When my younger sister came to visit us recently, she spent Christmas and New Year with us. My boys have always been very thrilled to have their youngest Aunt around. For K, that would mean visiting places of interests and doing things out of the norm. Yup, we went to Paris for 5 days! Christmas Markets are BIG in Paris, especially along the mega long Avenue des Champs-Élysées, however, it was the Christmas Market near the Eiffel Tower that bewitched K!

Christmas Market near the Eiffel Tower, Paris


While sipping the warm Parisian Glühwein (vin chaud) and munching hot roasted chestnuts and admiring the magnificent wrought iron lattice tower from near; yes, very, very near, K was captivated by one of the booths a few steps down. The open booth was manned by one person, who seemed to be an Artist, but he was no ordinary Artist or Painter. He drew names and translated them from Roman to either Japanese or Korean. 
Guess what K chose to have his name translated into? 

No marks for guessing. Japanese…. Of course!!


By the way, the ideographic meaning of K’s name is translated to mean, Good Health and Happiness. The picture is now framed and hanged in his room next to his bed. As for his mother, she’s hoping that each morning, her son wakes up to the rising sun and the spring bird singing to good health and happiness 🙂

February 2017

K turned 16 on the last day of Feb this year. He had also been invited to a Sweet Sixteen celebration of friends who became 16 in January. When his turn came, he hinted on a small do. For me, a special cake for a 16-year old should do the trick.

Now, what cake should I order for my 16-year old?

K likes to construct things. His legos kept from yesteryears are being used at the max during school holidays. The most recent construction was a sweets or candy vending machine. I thought that was one of his coolest constructions. He made a slot machine type lego construction making sure that only the size (and weight) of a 2 Euro coin could vend a sweet or candy out from the ‘machine’ he made. And seriously? It worked! Anything less than 2 Euro would not ‘spit out’ any candy. So you can tell he’s thinking BIG, monetarily speaking, too! 😉

Hmmmm… I thought a Lego Cake would be a fantastic idea!

Looking for the person to make the cake was not a problem. He’s a colleague (CP) who works in the same building as I. Last year, CP was nominated and won the vote to represent our Region at our Company’s Got Talent Show. He’s a self-taught (hobby) baker who learns his tips and tricks of cake baking and decorating from watching the YouTube Channels. 

I lunched out with CP one lunch break and asked if he was willing to take my offer. It was the early week of February and we still had time until the actual birthday on 28th Feb. I discussed if it was possible for him to make a Lego Cake for a 16 year old. No probs, he said

A few days later, I kinda changed my mind about the lego theme and thought of a Book Cake. Why? Because K does not like reading and a Book Cake was a subtle message to him. To make it a more special book, I was thinking of getting 2 edible images (made from wafer) of him when he was a baby and one of him, now, hence at ages 0 and 16. I was quite excited about the idea but I thought it was rather selfish of me not to ask the birthday boy what he actually wanted. After all, it’s his birthday and not mine. BUT, I wanted it to be a surprise …

Again, my mind went back to the Lego Cake. Lego? Book? Humph! What’s it going to be??? Help!!

The calendar days went by one by one and I had not even finalized the theme of the cake to CP. The theme is important for him to check if he has sufficient inventory to come up with the final result, otherwise, he needs time to shop for the items

On the other hand, February was also a busy month for both CP and I at work due to the Budget and I was not sure if there was going to be a cake at all

That would be very sad, indeed … 😦

The Clock Ticked …

3 weekends in February had passed by. Still no concrete decision made. 

Then I told myself, “If I can’t decide this myself, the best help line is the person who knows best” And that person happened to be the Birthday Boy himself. 

On the evening of 22nd Feb, I asked K if there was going to be a cake for his birthday, would a Lego Cake be his thing. He said, “ No way! That’s too childish.” Er ….. okay. The Lego Cake theme was scrapped. I did not even bring up the Book Cake theme when he mumbled something about Japan!

Okey Dokey! Got it! Why didn’t I think of it at first ??? I was probably focusing too much on his past and what I want him to do, rather than what he wants. 

And by the way, I had the answer all the while. K wants to go to Japan! So of course, it has got to be something Japan-related.

And here it was! The best Sushi Cake (minus the chopsticks) for a mighty happy 16-year old. Happy 16th Birthday, K!


K wanted chocolate cake and he got the most scrumptious chocolate cake. Your wish is my command, my boy, but only for this time. The magic wand would not work after 28th Feb 😉



The nori-maki and nigiri-zushi nesting on top of the cake were filled with cake pops, cut from the bumped topside of the main cake, hence, there was no wastage at all. CP did a fantastic job in skillfully molding the icing fondants to a 3-D cake with nori-makis and nigiri-zushi’s complete with wasabe and gari (sushi ginger).


CP had the weekend of 25th and 26th Feb to complete the Sushi Cake and the Cake was delivered exactly on the day I requested, on 27th Feb.  K shared his cakes with some of his good friends and I shared some with my girlfriends. Everyone thumbed up to the tasty choclatey Sushi Cake


I’m glad I’ve made a special someone happy. It’s not Japan, but very close 😉

More Sushi 🍣 

I took a day off on 28th Feb coinciding with the school’s carnival break. I brought K to one of his favourite Sushi restos to celebrate his 16th birthday, thus concluding a plethora of Sushi and ramen bingings.

Sikinoya, Leuven


If you don’t already know …

25th March is a special day, too, because it was the date given to me by my gynaecologist 16 years ago. She estimated my baby would be born full term on 25th March. She was not totally wrong, because, baby K arrived almost 4 weeks too soon! You can read about his special birth on this post, “A special day that does not occur every year“.
 

K with his ukulele singing Ed Sheeran’s songs

Good Health and Happiness, my boy. God bless *heart*

Cheers! 

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This recipe has gone viral a few months ago and shared several times within the Thermomix Community. I was curious, of course, and jumped on the bandwagon. The cake used the simple Quatre Quarts Cake (literally 4-fourths) recipe which was taught at Domestic Science classes. This cake is quite similar to a typical Victoria sponge and is referred to as Pound Cake.  

By the way, I have made a very similar cake which I have posted in my blog in 2015. I had wanted to use poppy seeds then but I chose the healthier chia seeds instead. You can find out the reason why in this post, Lemon Chia Seeds Sponge Cake.

I had bought a packet of poppy seeds some months back and it had been sitting in my kitchen pantry, untouched, hence this was THE perfect moment for me to make good use of the seeds… Finally!

The Challenge 

The owner of this recipe promised this cake would turn out soft and moist. That’s what fascinated me, especially so when we know that a Quatre Quarts Cake uses 4 ingredients of equal amount (butter, sugar, flour and eggs). The recipe calls for 250 g per ingredient. First off, it sounded heavy, too heavy in fact,  and I was quite hesitant to bake this cake because I usually skip a cake recipe using the entire block of butter and a quarter kilogram of sugar!  Yikes! But I was tempted to proceed because I LOVE oranges and I’m sure nothing would go wrong with a pound cake with orange and poppy seeds!  Ha ha ..

To be very honest, the biggest challenge is beating and blending the ingredients at the right consistency to achieve that moist and fluffy effect. 

Is that attainable with a Thermomix? 

Let’s find out, shall we?

The original recipe was posted by Ellin Chong as per below –


I tried to follow the recipe exactly but ended up modifying some of the steps to my liking and logic. Well, that’s just me 😉

The recipe indicated 30 mins baking time. I thought that was way too short. Was my judgement right?

Here are my modification to some of the steps 

  • I added another cycle of pulverization in (1)  i.e. 2 times MC/ 10 sec/ sp 10 to get the visual consistency I wanted.

  • I increased the time in (2) from 2 mins to 2 mins 45 sec as I thought that would give me ample time to crack the eggs one at a time to mix through the lid hole.

  • I added 15 g of London Dry Gin to give the cake a slightly boozy effect 🙂

  • I sifted the APF with 10 g of baking powder and increased the mixing time from 10 sec to 20 sec.

  • 30 minutes of baking time in my pre-heated oven was definitely too short. The cake was under cooked, i.e. still wet and the crust was too pale for my liking.  

  • I increased the time to another 16 minutes, making the total baking time of 46 minutes in my pre-heated oven at 180 deg C. That was a lot better.



So, was the cake moist and fluffy as promised?

Seeing is Believing!


    My Verdict?

    When I first saw the recipe, I saw the baking time of 30 minutes was too short for a cake as ‘dense’ as a Pound cake. Well, my initial judgment was correct. Perhaps it’s just my oven. If it worked well for the owner of the recipe then it was tested based on the type of oven she owns.

    When I increased the baking time to a total of 46 minutes, the cake turned out visually PERFECT ! I loved the citrusy smell whiffing past my nostrils and my kitchen smelt heavenly. 

    And I definitely prefer a tanned (not charred) cake to a pale looking one. Again, it’s just me.


    Was the cake moist and fluffy? 

    Yes, when it was fresh out of the oven and when still quite warm, like most cakes. When the cake was left to cool completely, I thought it was very lightweight but less moist than when it was warmer. Definitely not dry, but with a pleasant texture. It’s not bouncy either like chiffon cakes, but, hey I LOVED it!

    Some changes I would like to make are (1) reduce the quantity of sugar, as the cake became too sweet the following day(s), (2) increase a little of the poppy seeds, as I like the crunch and the subtle nutty flavour and (3) increase slightly the gin, as I was still trying to trace the aroma … ha ha ha …

    Oh yes, I should have left the cake to cool in the bundt pan and not got it out too soon when it was still hot. That’s why the surface of the cake was not smooth 😦

    Just compare the cakes I have baked using the same cake mould below …


    Nevertheless, this recipe is definitely a keeper but I will not be in a hurry to bake another one in a jiffy. 1 kg of sugar, flour, eggs and butter combined was a humongous amount to consume too often.

    Have a great week!

    Cheers!

    1st November this year fell on a Tuesday. I could have made a bridge for a longer “weekend”, but could not due to my workload at work 😦

    I was glad to break off work for that one day that week for a yearly family reunion, hosted by one of my SIL’s. While driving to my SIL’s, we stopped at a friend’s house. I received a text message from F that she was giving away some of her ‘harvests’ in her garden. 

    Guess what? I hand-picked the chillies in her garden. They were so, very, very fresh! She wanted only the red ones, so I helped myself to the green chillies. I didn’t mind the ‘raw version’ at all, because I knew if I left the chillies wrapped in absorbent paper in the lower drawer of the fridge, the chillies would ripen. 

    And I was right!

    10 days later, some of the birds’ eye chillies had turned to a lovely bright orange-crimson colour. And I knew exactly where some of the chillies would end up into 😉

    Thai Chef vs Me

    There was one Wednesday that I took a day off and brought my 2 sons out for lunch (Note, both boys had half-day school / Univ on a Wednesday). We went to a Thai resto near our place. 

    For starter, I ordered Tom Yum Goong (TYG) for us. It was a good TYG, but I missed that Oomph in their soup. It was a wee bit too lame. 

    Saturday came, and TYG was in the pipeline for our lunch menu.

    So here it was, my version vs the Thai Chef’s. 


    And not only that, I made my TYG in my thermomix! 


    To be honest, I could eat my TYG all day without anything else that day, because it had been a while since I last made the soup! I looked back at a post I wrote; it was in March this year when I had friends over. You can read it all … Here 🙂

    Because I love bold-tasting soups, I thought of a way to totally infuse the aromatics in the soup first before proceeding further. Be warned! It’s a highly seasoned soup that hits the palate and warms the heart without burning, if you know what I meant 😉

    (Note: This is my own recipe using my preferred method – tried and tested – after a few trials and errors).  

    Please be aware that some measurements are not given as only you will know how much or how little you want to put in the dish. Remember, “Ut quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum” or what is food for one man may be bitter poison to others. 

    Ingredients A

    • 2 cm piece galangal
    • 1 shallot
    • 1 lemongrass
    • 2 coriander roots

    Ingredient B

    • 5 g cooking oil / coconut oil

    Ingredient C

    • 1,500 g water

    Ingredients D

    • Lemongrass, bruised and halved
    • Shallots, halved 
    • Galangal, sliced
    • Bird’s eye chillies, lightly bruised
    • Kaffir lime leaves, lightly bruised with the fingers

    Ingredients E

    • Fish sauce, to taste
    • Homemade chilli paste, eyeball for colour, taste and flavour
    • Salt, to taste 

    Ingredients F

    • Prawns, shelled 
    • Mushrooms, sliced 

    Ingredient G

    • Lime juice, to taste
    • Cherry tomatoes, halved or whole

    Ingredient H

    • Fresh coriander 

    Steps –

    • Place A in the TM bowl. Grind 5 sec/ sp 10  * 2

    • Add B. Sauté for 3 mins/100C/ sp 2 
    • Place D in SB and add C. Cook for 15 mins/ 120C/ sp1


    • Remove the SB and tip the aromatics in a bowl. Set aside for garnish later.

    • Transfer F in the SB. Cook for 4 mins/120C/ sp 1 or until the prawns are cooked. 

    • Remove the SB and set aside the cooked prawns, mushrooms, etc
    • Add E. Cook further for 5 mins/ 120C/ sp 2


    • Add G. Stir for 1 min/ R/ spoon
    • Assemble a serving bowl with prawns, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, some slices of galangal, bird’s eye chillies, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Garnish with H.
    • Done!


    Happy 1st Anniversary!

    I made the TYG to go with my Nasi Ulam and baked spiced chicken. Our Saturday lunch was the bomb, by the way, with full-blown explosion of flavours. Yup, my kind of food 🙂


    There’s no better way to celebrate my first year anniversary of owning the thermomix than sharing with you some of the dishes I have conjured the past 12 months using my most used kitchen gadget today!

    And as they say, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words‘ …


    IMPORTANT NOTICE : Please be aware that I’m neither a Consultant/ Advisor nor an employee of Thermomix.  I am NOT paid anything from any parties. I just happened to own a thermomix and love doing what I’m doing and will continue doing so. 

    Happy Mid-Week ya’ll!

    Cheers!

    I have not been baking for a while. It’s at the back of my mind for weeks on end. If there was a ~ quick and scrummy ~ cake I’d bake, then it has got to be that almost effortless and idiot-proof Banana Loaf Cake. Ha ha ha …

    I’m glad my boys share the same sentiment as I do.

    3 weeks ago (or probably longer..) I bought a nice-looking bunch of Chiquita bananas in the hope of ripening some of them for my Banana Loaf Cake. I needed only 3 bananas, so we ate the rest of the bananas. 


     

    While the 3 bananas were dangling on the banana hook to be ripened, my poor guys tried to brush their temptation away. With the cold weather outside, it’s warm inside the house with the heating on. And the result? 3 completely blackened and over-riped bananas with some mouldy white spots after more than 2 weeks of ‘crucifixion’. OH * MY * GOD!!


      

    “What are you going to do with those bananas? To ‘hatch’ more black bananas?“My hubby asked (with a hint of sarcasm)

    LOL!

    There go the bananas … in the bin“, he said, pointing to the dustbin.

    I replied with a classic feedback cheekily, “I’ll make Banana Cake*grinning with guilt big time*

    Erm… by the way, did I use the ultra black, over-riped and limpy and almost fermented bananas in my cake? 

    Uh-uh! Don’t think so … I needed ripe bananas but they were way, way too ripe! So I bought a new batch of bananas and made sure they ripened within a visually correct duration of time. Ha ha …

    Here were the bananas that went in my Banana Loaf Cake I baked last night.


    Not Once But Many A Time … And The FIRST Time, Though!

    The first tutorial I’ve watched on YouTube in making a Banana Bread was the demo by Stephanie Jaworski of JoyOfBaking.com and I have baked Banana Bread or Cake as well as muffins many times since. It’s the easiest cake to bake. And I have done several tweaks and modifications to suit my family’s palates and they usually turned out great, me thinks …

    Last night, however, was the first time I baked the Cake with the help of the Thermomix.

    Here’s how I did it, by combining recipes of a cake and a muffin.

    Sorry for the bad photos as the only lighting I had was my kitchen tungsten halogen lamps. No natural (sun)light. I did say I baked the cake last night, didn’t I? *wink*

    Banana Bread or Banana Cake? It looked like Bread but it tasted like Cake, so I called it Banana Loaf Cake! It was super yummy and moist. I kid you not…


    Ingredient A

    •  240 g ripe bananas

    Ingredients B

    • 125 g butter
    • 110 g cassonade light brown sugar
    • 1 tsp Vahiné natural vanilla powder

    Ingredient C

    • ca 120 g eggs

    Ingredient D

    • 60 g Lyle’s Golden Syrup

    Ingredients E (dry ingredients)

    • 255 g APF
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
    • A pinch of sea salt

    Steps 

    • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
    • Place A in TM bowl and blitz the bananas for 40 sec/ sp 5 until they form a creamy consistency. Set the mashed bananas aside in a separate bowl.

    • Add B and mix for 3 mins/ sp 5. Scrape down the sides of the inner bowl and continue mixing for another minute to form a light and creamy consistency. 
    • Add C one at a time. Beat for 10 sec/ sp 5 per egg. 
    • Add A and D to combine for 45 sec/ sp 5


    • Add E by weighing the dry ingredients, then tip the mixture into a clean bowl.  Fold in manually with a spatula until the mixture is combined.

    • Scoop the mixture into a greased loaf tin/ pan. Bake for 55 mins in a pre-heated oven. The cake is baked through if a skewer pricked in the middle of the cake comes out clean.



    My Verdict?

    I LURVE the smell of freshly-baked cakes and pastries, although I am not a sweet-tooth person. The smell that floated in my kitchen last night was heavenly. My boys were upstairs when I baked the Banana Loaf Cake and they could immediately smell baked bananas when they walked in the kitchen 🙂

    While leaving the cake to cool on a wire rack, I just had to cut a generous slice of the cake (while still a bit warm). It was too tempting for me to let it sit until it’s cooled completely. And by the way, I’m a crust person, so the slice with the crusted end was mine! It may have appeared to look like it’s on the hard side but, surprisingly, tasting is believing and seeing is deceiving; it was actually quite soft and moist (crust et al).   I’m glad I added Lyle’s Golden Syrup. You could add Maple Syrup or Honey. The syrup gave the cake a nice tan colour and made it moistier and ‘stickier’ with a caramelised flavour. I left the Cake on the kitchen table overnight and had a slice for breakfast this morning. The softness and moistness of the cake remained.  Before I left for work, I placed the cake in the fridge. When I got home, I thought the cake would harden while being refrigerated, but no, it remained as soft and fresh. You know what?  This is by far, my favourite Banana Loaf Cake recipe sans nuts.  The next time, I will add some walnuts from my garden!
    Have a great week!

    Cheers!

    Of Red and Tortoises

    My Mum and siblings know it!

    Every trip to Kuching, Mum or one of my sisters would buy at least half a dozen of the red, soft, sticky and chewy Chinese pastry filled with mung bean paste for our brekkie. This is one of my must-haves whenever I am in Kuching. The cake (transcribed from the local dialect, ‘kueh‘ ) is moulded to resemble a tortoise shell. 

    Remember Grand Master Oogway, one of the characters from DreamWorks animated film, Kung Fu Panda? His character is a tortoise and his name, “Oogway” is the English approximation of the Chinese word for ‘turtle’. In the film, Oogway is shown to be highly venerated for his wisdom, tenacity, knowledge and experience. He is considered a sage (a legendary icon with profound wisdom). 

    Here’s one of my favourite quotes *wink*

      

    And by the way, tortoises have one of the longest lifespans of any animal. They are known to have lived longer than 150 years, therefore, by equating Red + Tortoise, we arrived at the most powerful equation. In Chinese culture, the colour red symbolizes joy and happiness, whilst the tortoise is traditionally used as a symbol of longevity, power and diligence

    Not Red but all-natural Orange Tortoise

    Traditionally, Ang Ku Kuehs are prepared during Chinese New Year as offerings to the Chinese deities, as well as auspicious occasions such as a newborn baby’s first month (muah guek) or birthdays of the elderly to symbolize blessings for the child and good fortune and longevity for the elderly.

    In modern times, the colour red is no longer restricted to special occasions. These sweet pastries are commercially available all year round in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Taiwan and Southern parts of Thailand. The two main components in Ang Ku Kueh (AKK) are the skin and the filling. The skin is made from both glutinous rice flour and sweet potato whereas the fillings are usually pre-cooked mung bean paste or grounded peanuts and sugar. The oval-shaped AKK is the result of the imprintment of the tortoise-shape mould used in shaping the sweet pastries.

    Here were some photos I took during my last trip to Kuching in August last year. These were taken during the Annual Kuching Food Festival.
       
     

    With the mass production of the AKK all year round, I am very certain food dyes are liberally used. I am not a fan of using food colouring in my kitchen, hence, my homemade Ang Ku Kueh will definitely not be Red.

    Here’s the result of my all-natural Orange Tortoise Cakes. (Note the colour orange was the result of my using orange sweet potatoes)

      

    This recipe is an adaptation of Nasi Lemak Lover’s AKK recipe with several modifications, as to the ratio of glutinous rice flour to sweet potato, reduced sugar and I added a pinch of salt and excluding food colouring. I did not use hot water as I was preparing the AKK in my Thermomix

    Ingredient A

    • 180 g mung beans (rinsed with several changes of running water and soaked for 4 hours)

    Ingredient B

    • 3 knotted pandan leaves

    Ingredients C

    • 100 g sugar
    • Pinch of sea salt
    • 30 g corn oil

      

    Ingredient D

    • 1,000 g water

    Ingredient E

    • 220 g sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut in chunks 

    Ingredients F

    • 170 g glutinous rice flour
    • 5 g rice flour
    • 15 g sugar
    • 20 g corn oil

    Ingredient G

    • 80 g water

      

    Ingredient H

    • 700 g water

    Additional ingredients

    • Some corn oil
    • Some glutinous rice flour

    How to prepare 

       

    1. Place A and B in the Simmering Basket (SB). Place E in the Varoma Dish (VD). Add D. Steam for 45 min/ V/ sp 2
    2. Remove SB and VD. Add the slightly cooled A without B into the TM Bowl. Add C. Blend for 45 sec/ sp 7.  Scrape the sides of the inner bowl and remove the dough into a clean bowl. Cover and set aside.
    3. Place the slightly cooled E into the TM Bowl. Blend for 5 sec/ sp 6. Add F and very slowly pour in G.   Mix for 30 sec/ sp 4. (Note, it is crucial at this stage to check the consistency of the dough. If it is too thick, add water; if too thin, add glutinous rice flour). Knead the dough further for 2 mins. Tip the dough out onto a clean bowl
    4. For the amount of ingredients I used in this recipe, I could make 18 AKK. Use your fantasy on how to put the mung bean filling in the sweet potato dough. I used a measuring spoon of a bit more than 1 Tbsp sweet potato dough and 1 Tbsp of mung bean paste. Try to form a ball and place the ball onto an AKK mould, which was pre-dusted with some glutinous rice flour. Press lightly with your hand and knock out the AKK on both of the long sides of the mould. Immediately sit the AKK on a greased banana leaf
    5. Repeat the process until the doughs are completely used up.  Pour H in the TM Bowl and set the dials to 30 mins/ V/ sp 2.  Once the temp reaches Varoma at approx 22 mins, reduce the temp to 100 deg C. Place the AKK on the Varoma set (Dish and Tray) and stack the Varoma set above the TM Bowl. Continue steaming until done.

       
      
     

    Verdict: This was the first time I made Ang Ku Kueh which were not red but all-natural orange tortoise cakes! I have read several recipes, both conventional and thermomix way of preps on the net. Most of them sounded too good to be true. ” … cool the dough and shape in x balls …” or “… weigh each dough and shape in balls … ” or “… divide the dough into x balls …” . Balls? What balls? Honestly, I wished I could do that! Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) made her AKK for the first time and yet she could roll the skin dough into balls (yes, balls!) as well as the mung bean paste. Now, why couldn’t I do that? The sweet potato-glutinous rice flour dough was not easy to handle at all. I added a bit more GRF but dared not go overboard, lest the dough would be too hard and overly tough and chewy. I wanted a soft yet subtly chewy dough, so I ended up scooping the dough with a measuring spoon of 1 Tbsp and tried making a ball on a greased clean plate. Did it work? On the plate, yes, but not on my palm, so no balls. LOL!. Same thing for the mung bean paste. I had to add a bit more oil to make a ball. It was tedious task handlng the “balls” 36 times (skin and filling). I was so craving for AKK and when I finally made it, I was in 7th Heaven, but …..I would NOT suggest eating the AKK hot or warm, ie just coming out from the steamer (Varoma set). It was too soft and the skin was not at all chewy. It was like biting through a gelatinous pastry. Uh-uh! At that point, I was really disappointed and thought the recipe was a big, flat flop! And then I read on fatboo’s blog that the AKK can be kept without refrigeration for up to 3 days; and if they are refrigerated, to re-steam for 5 mins prior to serving. Did I follow the rule? Yes and No. I kept my orange tortoise cakes un-refrigerated for up to 24 hours only, not 3 days. Thanks to fatboo, the AKK tasted sublime the next day, like it should be – soft and chewy with the right balance at the same time. The glossy skin was absolutely fab! I did not even brush extra oil on my little orange tortoise cakes. Likewise, I was really glad I reduced the amount of sugar for the mung bean paste. It was bang on the money, not overly sweet. The subtle pandan flavour and the aroma from the banana leaf were undescribable. Just too nostalgic.

       
     

    I had about 10 leftover pieces left. Since I am not used to leaving foods un-refrigerated for longer than 24 hours, I placed my precious orange tortoise cakes in the fridge. I did not re-steam the cakes because if I did, it would be a vicious circle. So I ate a piece of AKK in its cold refrigerated state. That was a BIG mistake! The skin was not chewy anymore. The sweet potato texture became more dominant. The filling was fantastic, though. In hindsight, I should have left the AKK un-refrigerated for 3 days. I guess that’s hinting me to make another batch of these Tortoise cakes, regardless the colour very soon *wink*

    Ang Ku Kueh is Hokkien Chinese and is literally translated as Red Tortoise Cake. This sweet Chinese pastry is ubiquitous in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand all year round. For this, I’m linking up this local delicacy to April Tea Time Treats: Local & Regional Recipes hosted by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedgecombers

      

    Have a great week!

    Cheers!

    It seems like only yesterday when we were chomping on our stuffed turkey, gratin, lobsters, soups with lots of cream and all the sweets – OMG! – Christmas cakes, puddings, cookies and whatnots! A back-to-back bountiful banquets with sinful indulgences! *blush*

    The first month of the new year is usually a ‘slow’ month with less activities and less eating spree :-). To be honest, it’s a rude shock to get back to the pace of reality, for me, at least. Back to work after the holiday mode and crippled with the crazy traffic jams, the icy cold weather and it gets dark ever so early! Really, leaving home in the morning when it’s still dark and coming home from work in the evening when it’s dark. It’s like living in the ‘Dark Side’ 24/7. LOL!

    Tribute to my late MIL

    When it’s dark and cold, our tummies seemed to rumble a bit more than normal. With not a lot of leisure time to do extravagant cooking or baking during weekdays, I opted for the easiest way out. I have been meaning to bake this ‘healthier’ version of sponge cake in a long time. By the way, this was a recipe from the Thermomix (TM5) recipe book. It not only looked great, but was a breeze to make.

      
       

    My late MIL used to bake her lemon sponge cake using yoghurt instead of butter. As I have said earlier, I have been meaning to bake this cake but have not got round to doing so until now. And I’m glad I finally did it! Thanks to my late MIL for ‘introducing’ this cake to me more than a decade ago.

    Ingredients –

    • 80g oil (I used corn oil), plus extra for greasing
    • Zest of 1 organic lemon (see my honest review “Verdict”)
    • 150g sugar
    • 3 free-range eggs
    • 200g flour
    • 120g Greek yoghurt
    • A pinch of salt
    • 15g baking powder
    • Some icing sugar for dusting (see my honest review “Verdict”)

      
     

    Method

    1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. Grease a bundt cake tin. Set aside
    2. Place lemon zest and sugar into mixing bowl and grind (For TM5 owners, grind for 10 sec @ speed 10. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula)
    3. Add eggs and mix with a hand or stand mixer (For TM5, mix for 30 sec @ speed 3)
    4. Add flour, baking powder, oil, yoghurt and salt and mix until all ingredients are combined (For TM5, mix for 1 min 15 sec @ speed 5)
    5. Place mixture into the greased bundt cake tin and bake for 30 minutes at 180 deg C. Allow to cool in cake tin for at least 10 minutes before tipping the cake from the mould to a serving plate. Leave to cool completely and then dust with icing sugar.

      

     
      
     

    Verdict: The original recipe is called, simply, Yoghurt Cake. Seeing that lemon is used in the recipe, I wanted to intensify the lemony flavour of the cake, which was light and refreshing. In hindsight, I should have used the zest of two lemons instead of one and add a splash of cointreau and make a lemon icing glace instead of just dusting with icing sugar to elevate one of my favourite citrus fruits, lemon! And what better time to start baking again with the next festive season coming up. The Chinese New Year!

    Cakes of all forms, shapes and sizes are omnipresent during ‘open houses’ at Festive occasions in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. With the playful and intelligent Monkey shooing the woolly Sheep away come 8th Feb, this cake will surely be a hit for kids from 1 to 92 😃

    Without much ado, I’m linking this post to celebrate the auspicious occasion of prosperity at Cook and Celebrate: Chinese New Year 2016, hosted by Yen from GoodyFoodies, Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids 

      
    If you want to indulge in something sweet, but not overly sweet and yet tasty, zingy and not too boring at the same time, this healthier version of butter sponge cake will do justice on anyone’s palate anytime of the day. For, this, I’m linking this post to Simply Eggcellent #11 – start the year on an egg … hosted by Dom @ Belleau Kitchen

      
     

     

     

     

    Stay warm if you are cold

    Stay cool if you are warm

     

    Cheers!

     

     

     

     

     

    If there was one type of cake I had always wanted to bake it right first time, it’s got to be that feather light and tall cake! Yup, it’s none other than Chiffon Cake!

    This cake has been on my Bucket List for a good number of years. I am so glad I finally owned that special Chiffon cake (tube) pan, with removable base. A colleague got it for me from The Netherlands early this year, however, it has not been used until yesterday!  It’s a pretty big pan at 26cm diameter. 

    Live Demo!

    Yesterday I had 4 ladies over at my house, one being the ‘sifu‘ (teacher) whilst the three others and myself were the eager students wanting to know the tricks of the trade of baking one of my favourite cakes!

      
    According to Wikipedia, “A chiffon cake is a very light cake made with vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and flavorings. It is a combination of both batter and foam type (sponge type) cakes

    By the way, we did not make one but 2 chiffon cakes yesterday!

    One of my girlfriends also brought her cake pan over for the live cooking cum baking demo’s. Her chiffon cake pan was a smaller size than mine.

    David and Goliath 😄

    Baking, unlike cooking requires precise measurements, therefore, two different-size pans meant utilising different quantities of measurements. That’s when the subject of Mathematics came in handy 😉

    Where precision in baking is concerned, I needed visual aids. I’m glad sifu JL took my offer by coming over to my house to give live cookery demo. 

    She started with the smaller pan from my friend. While she was in control of everything from weighing the ingredients, mixing, whisking, etc, I was taking notes as I had to replicate what she had done by adapting the measurements aligning to the size of my 26cm chiffon cake pan.  You bet I was nervous. I was really paying attention to every detail.

    And here were the results!

    David and Goliath ~ the results!

    Sifu JL got the recipe from another friend. She said it’s a foolproof recipe, even for a novice, and I couldn’t agree more. Thanks, JL!
      

    My first visual aided attempt and definitely not my last! Before all these efforts went to waste and became lost in oblivion, I translated the verbal and visual ‘languages’ from yesterday to a ‘language’ I could decipher. I wanted to remind myself tomorrow or next week or next month or next year or in 10 or 20 years from now that if I googled my blog, I’m very certain that this is a tried and tested recipe that will not go wrong even for a novice …

    Here’s my improvised recipe like how I grasped it, translated in a ‘language’ I’m comfortable with based on the live demo presented by JL yesterday with an amazingly positive result from my first ever aided attempt in baking a chiffon cake  😀

    Pre-heat the oven to 165 deg C for 1 hour

    Ingredients

    (For a 7-egg 26 cm chiffon cake pan like mine)

    • 150g caster sugar (split 50/50 parts or 75g each for the whites and yolks)
    • 150g plain flour (sieved through very fine strainer)
    • 15g  baking powder
    • 59ml cooking oil (I used corn oil)
    • 118ml Chaokoh 100% coconut milk
    • Koepoe Koepoe” Pandan paste (Note: this is very concentrated paste, hence, a little goes a long way!)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 63g * 7 fresh free-range eggs (room temperature)
    • 8g vanilla sugar (optional)
    • 1/2 tsp vinegar or cream of tartar or lemon juice (optional)

     

     Method – 

    • Separate the egg whites and yolks. 
    • Divide the caster sugar into 2 small bowls of 75g each
    • In a large bowl, add all the wet ingredients ~ cooking oil, coconut milk, egg yolks and Pandan paste. Mix with a balloon whisk and then add 75g sugar and salt. Stir well to combine.
    • Re-sieve the flour with the baking powder into the wet ingredients. Mix well until no sign of flour is visible.
    • Whisk the egg whites in an electric stand mixer. Add the  sugar (75g) in 3 batches until the whites turned from foamy form to soft peak meringue and finally stiff peaks
    • Add a third of the meringue  into the cake batter and fold with a rubber spatula. Continue with the second and third batches, folding lightly but quickly until the meringue is completely combined with the batter
    • Pour the batter into the chiffon cake pan and remove any visible air bubbles by poking with the spatula. Level the top layer with the spatula 
    • Tap the cake pan 2 or 3 times on the work surface to raise the air bubbles out of the batter.
    • Check the timer of the oven and place the cake pan in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes.
    • When cake is cooked, remove from the oven and immediately tilt the cake pan upside down to cool the cake. This also helps to avoid the cake from shrinking from the pan.

       
     

    I fell in love with the smooth top layer. My first aided attempt and the chiffon cake did not crack! 
     

       
     
    Verdict:-

    The crack was visible on the smaller cake pan due to the heat of the oven and the duration of the baking. So yes, the type of oven you own will trigger the different results.

    Cream of tartar was not used as the stabilizing agent to beaten egg whites to increase their stability and volume in this recipe. My friend JL added 1/2 tsp white vinegar as substitute in the first cake. This step was omitted on the second cake. Vanilla sugar was also added in the first cake while it was omitted in the second cake. Overall, both cakes had perfect textures of a good chiffon cake, with or without the stabilizing agent. To be honest, I found the second cake was a wee bit sweeter than the first. In hindsight 150g sugar was a bit too much. I will reduce the sugar count in my subsequent attempts, plus making my own fresh Pandan juice. The Pandan paste was used due to time constraint.

    Honestly speaking, making a chiffon cake is not as difficult as it appeared to be. Seeing is believing. I’ve seen it and it’s true! 

    I’m linking this post over at the October blog-hop cooking event with the theme, “COCONUT” at Little Thumbs Up organized by Doreen of my favourite little DIY and Zoe of  Bake for Happy Kids and hosted by Jess of Bakericious at this post
     
     

    This post is also linked to Dom’s (Belleau Kitchen) monthly “eggy” cooking challenge, Simply Eggcellent #8 with the theme, “Anything Goes!”

      

    Happy new week!

    Cheers!