Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Peanut Butter Cake

Breakfast is always easy for me. Normally, I only take two pieces of biscuit or one to two slices of kaya butter toast and a cup of "Kopi-O Kosong" (i.e. long black). Isn't it boring ? I can't tuck in anything that is rich and heavy early in the morning.  Many Singaporean like to start their day with a plate of fried Mee Hoon or Nasi Lemak but if I do so, I'll feel my stomach very bloated and it will spoil my appetite for lunch.

Butter cake with coffee is perfect combination for breakfast but if I will take, a thin slice of cake is fine. Too big a piece will make my day very lousy.  That's why all these cakes that I baked are not for my consumption, it's for my daughters and friends/ relatives.  And of course, my maid gets to enjoy as well, she is a cake lover especially butter cake.

Both my daughters like the peanut coffee cake from Polar Cake Shop, I used to like it as well.  Since I found this peanut butter cake recipe from one of cookbook I newly bought, I decided to give it a shot.

This is the first time I used this recipe, hence I did some homework by comparing this with other bakers' receipe but most of those posted on the web are very rich, they either go with chocolate or layer with rich peanut butter. What I want is just a plain cake for breakfast.   Since nothing I could use for comparison, I followed straightly to the recipe.  The baking process is very simply, I just need to use a mixer and one mixing bowl.  The preparation/ mixing time is short, it only took me 20 mins.   The cake turns out very tasty and rich, my family and friends like it except my elder daughter.  She commented that it's too dry (not moist) and some of the part not fully cooked.  I've the same thought as her.  If I will to bake again, I think I'll add in some milk and bake it a bit longer - 5 to 10 mins more.

Here is the recipe for sharing.

- 200g butter
- 200g peanut butter
- 250g caster sugar (can cut down 10% of sugar)
- 5 eggs (each 60-65g)
- 280g cake flour         } sift together
- 1 tsp baking powder  }

(Rub butter into flour and then add brown sugar and peanut butter. Freeze for 5-10 mins before sprinkle on batter)
- 50g cold butter
- 50g plain flour
- 50g peanut butter
- 30g brown sugar
(You could replace 50g peanut butter and 30g brown sugar with 50g peanut and 50g brown sugar instead)

1.  Grease and line 8" baking tin.  Preheat oven to 175*C for at least 15 mins.
2.  Beat butter, peanut butter and sugar (speed 3-4) until light and fluffy (abt 5 mins).
3.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
4.  Reduce to low speed, add in sifted flour and baking powder, mix until well blended (5-10sec).  Spread batter into prepared tin.
5.  Sprinkle topping over the batter.  Bake in oven for 45 mins (should be at least 50 -55 mins) or until cooked.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yam Layered Cream Cake

I have long been trying to bake a Yam Cake but never put an effort to achieve.  It was a request from my elder daughter since her last year birthday.  Although I like yam cake and I've some recipes, I am not confident that the cake will turn out nice as I experienced a couple of failure. 

However, since these days, I can't afford to spare time to attend new baking classes, I have no choice to turn to the cookbook recipe else I'll have no new product to try and showcase ..hee hee..

This recipe is modified from one of Alex Goh's, it attracts me because the cake looks very tempting and the steps are quite straight forward.  As long as you know how to bake sponge cake and whipped the cream, you will find it fuss free. I find the most time consuming part is to stream the yam and smash it. Other than that, it's the skill about the icing work.
The above picture is the cake layered with yam but without the decor. It looked plain but I believed it would be brighten up if some little decors were sprinkled on top. Since I couldn't find anything in the kitchen, I decided to pipe the cream around the edge and line with Longan. I then sprinkled some chocolate curls and mini M&M, hope it could enhance the look. Not sure whether this make over is overdone. Anyway, it's a good try.
Was this cake turned out as nice as what I expected?  From my view, there is still room for improvement as  it's not creamy enough and the yam taste is not prominent.   However, my elderest daughter and hubby think it's just perfect.  

Here you go ..if you want to give it a try.

Prepare 23-cm Vanilla Sponge Cake - Pls X1.2 times.

- 450g steamed yam (cooked and mashed)
- 90g sugar (+15g)
- 1 tsp yam paste/ essence
- 1 tsp Gelatine
- 2 1/2 tbsp boiling water
- 300g whipped cream.

1.  Mix the streamed yam with sugar, add in yam paste and Mix well.
2.  Dissolve gelatine in boiling water and add into whipped cream. Mix well.
3.  Add step 1 into step 2.  Mix well  (don't overmix).  This forms yam cream filling.
4.  Slice the cake into 3-4 layers and sandwich it with the above yam cream filling.
5.  Decor with whipped cream and longan as desired.

Vanilla Sponge Cake (Basic)

For most of the layered cake, I like to use this sponge cake recipe because it's very fluffy and light. Although this involes a bit more work, you will agree with me that the effort is worthwhile.

Since this recipe is a keeper, I decided to create a post for this so that for future layered cake that I bake , I will reference back to this post. 

Ingredients  (7” square or 8” round)
- 4 egg Yolks         
- 40g caster sugar 
- 2 tbsp milk 
- ¼ cup (56g) Oil
- ½ tsp Vanilla Essence
- 80g Cake/ Top Flour } sifted
- ½ tsp Baking power }
- 4 egg whites 
- 90g castor sugar (cut down to 80g)
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar (can omit)

1. Mix egg yolks and sugar for 2 mins. Lighter in colour, pale yellow.
2. Microwave milk and oil for 20 sec and immediately stir into the egg yolk mixture (Step 1) with a hand whisk.
3. Add in vanilla essence and sifted flour. Stir till smooth.
4. In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks formed. Add in the sugar and cream of tartar, beat until stiff. Fold in 1/2 portion of the egg whites into egg yolk mixture (step 3) and mix well. Repeat the same step for the remaining egg whites. Mix well.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven at 160*C for 40 -50 mins.
6. Once bake, let it cool down.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Prune Butter Cake

Treasure the time at home as that gives me the opportunity to do baking whenever I'm available! Since I've not been exploring any new cake, I think I should try something new this round. However, I have no intention to make something fanciful today given that I've limited hour.

Rich cake like cheesecake or chocolate cake is not suitable for breakfast, plain cake likes Chiffon or butter or Muffin is always the ideal.  Therefore, plain cake is my choice for today.

I love to buy and read baking cookbook these days.  Last trip in JB, I picked up a few cookbooks and food magazines, one of them only features butter cakes.  The author described that his baking career was prompted by butter cake, it was the smell of the butter cake from a cake shop that fascinated him.  From there, he started to bake for friends and family and developed into a passion and then he decided to take up baking as full time career .. this story sounds very familiar as most bakers seems to have a great passion in what they like to do..

I wanted to bake Kueh Lapis for the Chinese New Year but not materialized because I was too busy with others. This pack of prune was bought since then and since I have no more urge to bake anymore Kueh Lapis, I decided to use it for this recipe - Prune Butter Cake.  I believe the prune and butter should blend well like Lapis.

How was the cake turned out? The texture of the cake is soft and fine but less buttery   The prune doesn't add much taste to the cake, therefore, for those who don't like prune, I believe they should be able to accept this cake.   This cake is not my daughter's choice, she still prefer my previous recipe  but my maid and her friends tend to like it very much.  For me, I think I am with my daughter as well.

Well, if you like something less buttery, this recipe suit you.

- 200g unsalted butter
- 100g margrine
- 200g caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 eggs (abt 60-65g each)
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 200g pited prunes
- 2 tbsp strawberry fruit jam
1.  Grease and line a 20cm (8-in) baking pan; preheat oven to 175*C.
2.  Beat butter, margarine, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
3.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
4.  Fold in sifted flour and baking powder, mix well.
5.  arrange prunes onto baking tray.  Spread batter over the prunes.  Pipe diagonal line on top.  Bake in oven for 40 mins or until cooked.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oreo Cheesecake Again!

Originally, My hubby and I were planning to make a trip up to KL during the school holiday since we weren't been there for a while.  However, given that I was just back from Beijing plus it was hard find a suitable time slot to fit everyone, we had decided to go in JB just to shop and eat on Mar 20.

It's unexpected that the traffic was very smooth, there wasn't any jam at custom checkpoint, everything went so well. Food in JB generally is much cheaper than Singapore because of the exchange rate. It's always amazing how human behave when things are cheap there. We spent more than what we supposed to and bought a lot of the stuffs that we might end up leaving it in storeroom. It might become wastage but at that moment, I think we just couldn't resist!

After the shopping trip in JB, we had to rush to attend a friend and her hubby's 14th-year wedding anniversary at Shangri-La hotel. I liked the dessert there, just felt irony as when it wasn't baked by me, I could enjoy the food but when I baked it, I somehow lost appetite.

Since I had not been baking cheesecake for a while and my younger daughter has been craving for it, I decided a Oreo one following my former recipe. I baked a 8" round cake with 500g of creamcheese this time round, with this size, if I dont' give away, there is no way we could consume although my family like it.  Since I am not going to office next few days , I think I should give it to neighbours instead.

If you like this recipe, I've converted into gram for easy reference.  Here you go..
- Preheat oven at 160*C. Baking Time: 55-65 mins .
- Baking pan: 8” spring form pan. Bake on the lowest rack in a water bath.

- 160g Oreo Cookie (remove cream and crushed)
- 80g melted butter
- 500g cream cheese (softened)
- 270g sweetened condensed milk
- 30g caster sugar
- 3 tsp flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 16 Oreo cookies (quartered)
- Coco powder for garnish if desired

1. Crush the Oreo cookies using roller pin.  Melted butter and stir into it to combine. Press onto bottom of the pan. Freeze for 20-30 mins.  Put aside.
2. Preheat Oven with boiling water for water bath.
3. Cream cream cheese until creamy (abt 2 mins). Add condensed milk and beat until smooth (20 sec).
4. Add sugar and beat to combine. Stir flour in till combined.
5. Add eggs one at a time to combine after each addition.
6. Add the lime juice and vanilla extract; beat until combined.
7. Use spatula, gently fold in the quartered Oreo cookies. Pour batter evenly onto base.
8. Bake in water bath in a preheated oven at 160*C for 55-65 mins or until the edge is set and center moves slightly. (Don’t overbaked)
9. Shut off and allow cheesecake to cool in oven for 1 hour.
10. Remove and chill in fridge to cool for 2 hr before removing the pan.
11.  Allow to chill overnight for best flavor and texture.  Dust with coco poweder and decorate as desired before serving.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Banana Walnut Butter Cake (II)

Just back from Beijing after 3 weeks of business trip. It was a freezing trip as the temperature was between below 0*C to 5*C in most of the days, this was my first time experiencing snow flakes and it was quite interesting except the traffic was a hassle.

Although I visited Beijing in Dec 2008 with my family joining the tour, on a free and easy trip, its experience is totally different. I could say after this trip, I have changed the impression I had on Beijing totally. Beijing has changed so much, there is wide variety of foods and shopping. Foods are cheap and nice there. Although Singapore has better food, it's too expensive to eat in restaurant these days. The price to pay to eat the similar quality of food in Beijing only cost half of the price in Singapore. It's unbelievable.

The only problem I felt upset is the restriction of social network websites in China. I couldn't access facebook, blogs and other websites when I was there. For someone who used to connect friends via these websites like me, I felt very disconnected and miserable staying in China. It's fortunate that I only had to stay a short period of time there and able to reconnect when I'm back in Singapore.

Since back in Singapore, I wanted to resume my baking momentum and hence, I decided to bake something today for breakfast tomorrow. Initially, I thot of baking muffins but realized no buttermilk at home, I therefore adopted Baking Mum's Banana Cake recipe with slight modification. This recipe is less buttery and rich as compare to my previous one.   If you like something more buttery and rich, you should stick with my previous recipe.

- 180g Butter
- 150g Fine sugar
- 3 nos. small  or 2 extra large eggs- beaten lightly
- 250g Cake flour                 }
- 1 tsp. baking powder         } Sift together
- 1 tsp. Bicarbonate of Soda }
- 220-240g g. Bananas - mashed  (abt 3 pieces)
- 50g Full Cream Milk
- 10g Condense Milk
- 1 tsp. Vanilla essence
- 80g lightly toasted Walnuts
- 50g untoasted Walnuts (for topping)

(1) Cream butter and sugar till light and creamy (about 5 mins)
(2) Pour in eggs gradually and bat till creamy (about 8-10 mins)
(3) Add in milk, mashed bananas and vanilla essence and mix well (at low speed about 30 sec).
(4) Add in cake flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and mix well (at low speed about 30 sec) .
(5) Pour into baking tray, and top with untoasted nut
(6) Bake at 175C for about 55 to 60 mins or until cooked.  


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