Sunday, 28 April 2013

Apple Crumble Cake

Apple Crumble Cake

(adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes)

230g self raising flour
pinch of salt
120g butter, softened
120g sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanillin)
2 tablespoons milk
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thinly (I just used 1 big apple)
ground cinnamon

125g self raising flour
90g sugar
45g butter, diced
1 1/2 tablespoon water for mixing
ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C. Grease a 19cm square/round cake tin.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add in flour, milk and salt and beat until combined. Don't overbeat the batter.

3. Spread mixture evenly over the base of the tin and evenly distribute the apple slices on top to cover the whole surface. Sprinkle ground cinnamon over the apples.

4. In a clean bowl, put flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and rub mixture between your fingers to combine them together. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon then gradually add in 1/2 teaspoon of water at a time whilst combining mixture with your fingers. Continue rubbing the mixture until it starts to form fairly big clumps of 0.5cm.

5. Spread crumble over mixture over the top of the apples and pat it down slightly.

6. Bake for 45 minutes until the crumble is golden brown. Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Green Tea Layered Crème Pâtissière Chiffon Cake

I love green tea cake. I can still remember the bursting green tea flavour and cottony soft texture of the first time I tried a green tea sponge roll cake with a thin layer of cream and red bean paste. Ever since then I told myself that I must bake it some day.
Last week one of my supervisors turned 70 and knowing that he likes drinking green tea, there is no better choice than to bake him a green tea cake. But then, he has put me to the test of what type of cake I should bake and design for him. He prefers savoury and avoids sweets. The cakes I usually bake are sweet and usually have a big slab of cream on top. Although green tea cakes aren't sweet by itself but I was not going to settle down with a plain looking cake without any decoration.   
I searched high and low over the world wide web looking for the most suitable green tea cake. I even observed the designs of green tea cakes in shops but they were all packed with cream so it wasn't all that helpful. Somehow, my eyes were laid on the green tea chiffon cake. I've never made chiffon cake before and it got me worried because sponge cakes have never worked properly for me. I was literally able to predict that the percentage of success would be leaning towards a fail and on my first try, I got 2 flat pancake layers of chiffon cake. I started to panic because I only had one more day left to bake the actual cake and if this fails, I don't know what else I could do (borderline crying). I went online and did more research on troubleshooting issues with chiffon cakes here and here where on my second try I succeeded. Although the cake succeeded, I didn't add enough green tea powder. I would recommend double the amount of green tea powder instead of the 2 teaspoons that I've added. I also recommend going on Youtube to see how to fold egg whites properly in a chiffon cake if you're unsure how to do it properly as that is one of the very crucial steps.
Now to talk about the green tea crème patissiere which is the best part of the cake. Full of strong bitter-sweetness and made up for the inadequacy of green tea flavour in the chiffon cake. I can literally just scoop out the crème patissiere and eat it by itself as it is so good. The crème patissiere can be made a day in advance but it would be pretty cumbersome during the layering process once it is set. I had to defrost it in the microwave for 30 seconds or more and then run the spatula in boiling water before spreading it across the cake. Crème patissiere definitely does not look as clean when it comes to decorating cakes and so I covered the clumpy texture with extra green tea powder, tada!

Green Tea Layered Crème Pâtissière Chiffon Cake

Green Tea Chiffon Cake
(recipe adapted from Inspired Nest)
Part I
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use vanillin)
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup plain flour
4 teaspoons green tea powder
Part II
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/155°C fan-forced. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and green tea powder in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks, water, oil, vanilla and sugar together until combined. At low speed, add in the flour mixture and beat until the batter is smooth.
3. In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed for approximately 1 minute. Reduce to medium speed and gradually add in the sugar. Continue beating until very stiff and shiny. Be careful not to overbeat the egg whites. Do the overturn test where the egg white mixture shouldn't fall out from the bowl.
4. Using a spatula fold in the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture until well combined.  
5. Bake in a 9-10 inch no non-stick cake tin for 55-65 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
6. Invert and cool in cake tin over a wire rack. When cool, loosen edges with a knife and remove from the cake tin.
- I used 2 different sized no non-stick cake tins (25 and 29cm in diameter and 5cm in height).
- Don't fill cake batter more than 1/3 full of the cake tin or else there'll be an overflow.
- Be gentle when removing the cake from the tin, because it sticks to the base the cake can rip easily.
Green Tea Crème Pâtissière
3 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
25g cornflour
1 teaspoon green tea powder
1/2 vanilla pod (I substituted with 1/2 teaspoon vanillin)
250ml whole milk
15g unsalted butter, cubed
1. In a large saucepan boil milk and vanilla over low-medium heat. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and green tea powder together.
2. Slowly add boiled milk to the egg mixture whilst whisking. Return mixture to the stove over low-medium heat and continue whisking until it gets thick in texture.
3. Add in the butter and whisk until melted and crème is smooth. Put a cling film over and leave to cool in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. It can also be left overnight.
Note: This amount was enough for the rectangular cake I cut out from the round layers. My cake was approximately 10cm x 20cm. So you might want to double the amount if you want to fill the entire cake.
1. Spread a layer of crème patissiere on top of the first layer of cake. Put slices of strawberries on top.
2. Top with the second layer of cake and add the remaining crème patissiere on top. Sprinkle with extra green tea powder on top (optional) and decorate with halved strawberries.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Moist Butter Cake

I hate being sick. It's the most annoying time to have a coughing fit with bundles of snot especially when you're running out of time to finish things before the deadline.

What makes everything depressing is that I've been on a restraining order from consuming my favourites: chocolate, cookies, peanut butter etc. So then the loop hole around this was perhaps I can have a plain cake that wouldn't be a burden on my coughs.
This was a very good opportunity for me to travel back in time to one of my fondest childhood memories. I still remember very clearly from my childhood , the first time when I ate the Golden Butter Cake my papa had baked for the whole family. I pointed to a cake mix on the supermarket shelf and told him that I wanted to eat this cake. Without much hesitation, he agreed to buy and bake it for me. 
For numerous times I ran back and forth to the kitchen to peek over my papa's baking. When the kitchen was filled with the buttery aroma I got very impatient. I couldn't wait to eat the cake. The cake tasted splendid. I went from one slice to another.
I decided to give Ju's Butter Cake a try. It's moist and full of buttery goodness but is still rather different from the Golden Butter Cake from my memories. The texture and appearance is not quite the same. Not to say the butter cake is no good, it just hasn't pushed the buttons in my memory as there is a special place in my heart for this particular cake. However, with this butter cake I still can still go from one slice to another and won't get sick of it.  

Butter Cake

(recipe adapted from The Little Teochew)
195g (approx. 3/4 cup) plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
170g butter, softened
225g sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use Imitation Vanilla)
120ml (12 tablespoons) milk
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan-forced. Grease and flour a 9 inch cake tin.
2. Sift together the plain flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
4. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla until well-combined.
5. At low speed, add in the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with milk.
6. Switch mixer to medium speed and beat for 10-15 seconds, just until the batter appears uniform.
7. Pour batter into the cake tin and smooth top with spatula or knife.
8. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until it reaches a dark golden colour and when the inserted skewer comes out clean.
9. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cake onto a cake stand or platter.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


It's been quite a while since I've had this fabulous Italian dessert. For months I had sponge fingers readily bought sitting in my cupboard, ready to be unleashed. What kept me at bay was that I was determined to make my own mascarpone cheese.
I love mascarpone cheese. Such a smooth and light texture that's suitable for any dessert. One of the downsides is that it's expensive. A small standard tub in the supermarket costs approximately $5.50 down in Melbourne. I couldn't afford to have it all the time at my expense. I was astonished to find that mascarpone cheese is cheap and quite easy to make yourself. So, never again will I let the supermarket take me for a ride in ripping me off.  
I got a bit hasty in the process in making the mascarpone cheese that I only ended up with a 50% yield in the end. Half of the poor cream was wasted but luckily it was just enough for me to make the tiramisu.
Tiramisu is such a common dessert in the western countries but my parents were only exposed to it last year. They had no clue about this well-known dessert to my utter surprise. My jaw dropped when my sisters were also quite clueless about it. I think I got a bit enthusiastic and even told them the romantic love story behind this lovely dessert. There's so much sentimental value in this dessert. No one is a coffee fan in my family but we've all embraced the love for tiramisu. 


(recipe adapted from tiramisu pots of VideojugFoodandDrink)
 3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
250g mascarpone cheese
400g thickened cream, whipped
500ml strong espresso or 6 teaspoons instant coffee in 500ml water 
20 sponge fingers (lady fingers)
unsweetened cocoa powder for sprinkling on top
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream at high speed until stiff peaks form. Leave it aside until ready to use.
2. Using a heatproof bowl, place egg yolks and sugar over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until it's slightly cooked, with a smooth and runny consistency. Remove bowl from the saucepan and allow it to cool.
3. Add the mascarpone cheese to the egg mixture and whisk until the cheese is fully incorporated and lump free.
4. Add in the readily whipped cream and combine well with the whisk.
5. Build the tiramisu. Dip the sponge fingers into the coffee and place horizontally on a 20cm square cake tin. Spoon over half the creamy cheese mixture in and spread evenly. Sift cocoa powder across the whole layer. Place the rest of the dipped sponge fingers vertically down the tin and add in the remaining mixture. Spread evenly and dust with cocoa powder on top.
6. Allow it to set in the fridge for a few hours before eating it.