Recent Bakes

Sharing with you my recent bakes….

1) Japanese Cheesecake: recipe from here

The only modifications I made was to replace the cream in sect A with milk and use 5 egg yolks and 5 egg whites.

It’s also important to beat the egg whites properly: see here.

I’m so glad to find out that my mini oven can brown the top nicely…Also, the sides are smooth…I didn’t use a springform pan to bake it, just an ordinary metal pan.

2) Junior’s New York Cheesecake: recipe from Junior’s Cheesecake Book

This is different from the Japanese Cheesecake, which is light and fluffy, and does not have a “heavy” cheese taste. It is also different from the Lime & Passionfruit cheesecake I baked earlier, which is light and yet creamy. This New York Cheesecake is the dense and creamy type.

One thing that I wished I had done better was to brown the top more evenly….

I made some modifications to the recipe:

  • Made a biscuit base instead of baking a sponge cake base
  • Used 750g cream cheese instead of 24oz
  • Reduced sugar to 170g instead of 1 1/3 cup (but brother commented that it tastes a little a savoury.…perhaps to try increasing to 200g)
  • Used 200ml whipping cream instead of 2/3 cup

3) Lime & Passionfruit Cheesecake

Although this has been mentioned in a previous post, I thought it would be good to put a pic here to show the contrasting textures of the cheesecake, resulting from the different proportions of cream cheese to whipping cream and the different methods of including eggs (Japanese Cheesecake requires an egg white meringue, while the other 2 just require eggs to be beaten in).

4) Cupcakes: from the Primrose Bakery Cookbook

Earl Grey Cupcakes

Cranberry & Orange cupcakes

These were baked in a silicon tray, but they were not cooked at the specified baking times…resulting in crusty tops and a dry crumb….:( need to experiment again….

5) Chocolate Chip Cookies: based on the New York Times recipe which was widely blogged about previously

I think these are the BEST I’ve tried to date although the choc chunks are a little too sweet for my liking….But these still become crunchy after 2 days although I kept them in an air-tight container (the lock & lock one)….Wonder whether is it because of the humid weather in Singapore.

I now honestly appreciate the quality of chocolate that goes into the cookie….No more Hershey’s or Nestle’s semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks….I’m going to look for better alternatives!

By the way, I replaced the cake flour and bread flour with all-purpose flour…wonder does that affect the retention of the chewiness. I’ve seen recipes that use bread flour only…perhaps I will buy some bread flour and use all bread flour….

Chocolate & Banana Cupcakes

I’ve been wanting to try new cupcake recipes, as I felt that the one I’ve been using is a tad too oily….So, this week’s de-stress project is baking chocolate and banana cupcakes, using a recipe from London’s Primrose Bakery (Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery).

I used 136g butter (didn’t want to have leftover butter), 507g bananas (the recipe says use 4 bananas) and increased the plain flour to 275g. The first few batches, while were cooked, were a little too moist and did not have a golden hue. Subsequent batches were baked slightly longer to achieve more firmness (but still very moist) and a golden hue.

I’m happy with the results: it’s not too oily (unlike my previous cupcakes), not too sweet. While baking, the homely fragrance of baked bananas wafted through the air. Now, all I need to improve is the amount of batter to fill into the patty tins in order to achieve fuller cupcakes and tweak the amount of bananas so that it’s not like a sticky banana cake (I wonder how heavy is 4 bananas in England??). This recipe is really a keeper and I can’t wait to try out the other recipes in the book.

Calla’s notes:

  • Although the toothpick test reveals that the cake is cooked and the top is springy to touch, if the cake doesn’t look golden brown, bake it longer till it’s golden brown, otherwise the cake may be a little too soft (sides do not feel firm). Do monitor carefully, as it’s often a matter of seconds that burning occurs.
  • I used 507g bananas, but I think there’s too much banana, such that it makes the cake like a sticky banana cake (although to me, the pictures don’t seem to be so). I would experiment with lesser bananas to create a less sticky cake.

  • Although recipe calls for 70% chocolate, I used 53% with no adverse results. The cake wasn’t too sweet. Overall the sweetness is alright.

Orange & Cranberry Cupcakes

Well, I didn’t like the outcome of these cupcakes. Taste-wise, it’s good; sweetness was just nice. But presentation-wise, it’s bad. Plus I find it a tad too oily. I’m going to look for another cupcake recipe plus read up on techniques! Anyway, here are some pictures to share:

This is a recipe I used (adapted from my secondary school home economics textbook):

Orange & Cranberry Cupcakes

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

1 large egg (60 – 65g)

1 tsp vanilla essence

2tbsp orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

75g dried cranberries

100g self-raising flour, sifted

Method

  1. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  2. Add egg and vanilla essence and mix till combined. Don’t worry if mixture curdles
  3. Add orange juice and mix till combined
  4. Fold in flour.
  5. Add orange zest and cranberries. Mix till cranberries are evenly distributed
  6. Spoon batter into cupcake moulds, about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake at 190 deg C for about 20 – 25 min

Brownie Muffins

(My project to document observations of past bakes)

I finally tried baking these brownie muffins and using a silicon cupcake/muffin tin. The recipe was from Stefanie who posted it in the Kitchen Capers forum (thanks, Stefanie!). I varied the fillings: some I used Reese peanut butter cups, and the rest I used prunes and chocolate chips. As for the results…only the prune & chips muffin were presentable….the Reese peanut butter cups were less good-looking…

This is the first time that I used a silicon tin and I wasn’t sure whether I had to use lower temperatures or adopt other changes when using a silicon tin. Got to read up on using silicon tins…

Some notes:

  • I reduced the sugar to 150g and added it into the chocolate butter mixture while the chocolate and butter were half-melted. Next time I would try melting the sugar with the butter, then add the chocolate to see whether there’s any difference. I remember reading from somewhere that melting the sugar with the butter can give a shiny crust to a brownie.
  • I sifted the flour, cocoa, baking powder & baking soda into a bowl, mixed it thoroughly with a whisk, then sift it into the chocolate mixture. Wonder whether this would contribute to a light and fluffy muffin…
  • I filled up the patty tin 2/3 full (including the fillings). The resulting muffins had a nice dome shape…
  • The bottom of some of my cupcakes were burnt…think I should try baking at a lower temperature, e.g. 160 – 170 deg C. Not sure whether this was because I was using a silicon pan…On the other hand, I forgot to leave an oven thermometer in the oven…so….In any case, I need to experiment with temperatures and times.
  • I think I would still use paper cup liners, even for a silicon tin…so that it’s easier to remove….

As Fluffy as a Cloud…

(My project to document my observations of past bakes)

As my grandparents-in-law require soft foods, I was racking my brains what baked goodies were suitable for them. As I was surfing the internet for ideas, I thought, “Why not cupcakes – they are likely to be soft and being small makes it easier for the grandparents to eat?”

With that thought in mind, I looked for cupcake recipes to try. This lemon cream cheese cupcake was not my first choice. I tried another one, but it turned dry and dense after a day. I needed something that could keep soft and fluffy for at least a day when I bring the cupcakes to Malaysia. More about that cupcake in another post.

The lemon cream cheese cupake is from Betty Saw’s book “Tempt Cupcakes to Excite” and is posted on the net by various bloggers. I’m glad that the texture remained soft and fluffy even after a day! Also, I think the taste is good – full of lemony and creamy goodness. However, the sides and bottoms browned too fast – looks burnt, but doesn’t taste burnt (phew!). Think that’s because my mini muffin tin was the non-stick, black version. I will bake at a reduced temperature of 160 deg C to overcome this. Also, I will fill the muffin tins to about ½ to 2/3, so that the cupcakes will not rise over the paper cases and become too brown….

On another occasion, I varied with orange, but I think lemon is the best!

I present to you lemony goodness on a cloud…

2008 Chinese New Year Kitchen – Soft and Fluffy Mini Cupcakes


Recipe was taken from Cuen who posted in Imperial Kitchen. I used the one posted by Hugbear, who adapted it and posted it onto her website. The cupcakes were baked in a mini cupcake pan. These were light, soft, fluffy and not too sweet. As such, they are suitable for those who do not have a sweet tooth and those who like their cupcakes light and fluffy. I think I will bake this for hubby’s grandparents, as this is soft and fluffy and not-too-sweet.

Calla’s notes on the recipe

  • I added cocoa to get the chocolate flavour i liked: added 4 tsp cocoa, sifted into and fold into approximately 1/3 batter (i halved the recipe). Although the chocolate ones were still fluffy, not as fluffy as the vanilla ones. Vanilla one has better texture. But this could be because i didn’t reduce flour when i added the cocoa.
  • I reduced the sugar further. I personally don’t mind it a teeny weeny bit sweeter, but it could be alright for those who do not have a sweet tooth.
  • First batch baked at approximately 150 – 160 deg (based on oven thermometer), for 20 min; trays rotated mid-way and top heating element switched on. Think i baked too long, sides were crusty, but tops had no cracks.
  • Second batch baked at approximately 170 deg (based on oven thermometer), for 15 min; trays rotated mid-way. Top heating element switched on only for the last 2 – 3 min, as the temp was too hot and the tops had cracked. I forgot to switch off the heating element when i placed in the second batch.
  • Prefer the texture of the second batch. Will test to bake at 160 deg for 15 min, to achieve not-so-crusty sides, more fluffy texture and no-cracks top.
  • Also don’t fill the muffin trays to the brim. Batter spills over and becomes crusty. Fill to about 2/3 full. Cupcakes will rise.

Update: as in any cupcakes, these will turn dense after a day or two. Best eaten when fresh from the oven…

Bogged Down with Cranberry Sauce….

During the festive season, I received a bottle of Crabtree and Evelyn Cranberry Sauce with Orange. Well, I’m not a “cooking” person, i.e. I don’t really like to fry, steam, poach, etc.; but I like to bake! Strange huh….

As the sauce approaches its use-by date, I’m hard-pressed to find ways to use it in baking. Hence, I trawled the internet to look for ideas and found the following ideas/had the following inspiration:

I’m inclined to try the Cranberry Upside-down Muffins, any of the cupcake ideas and the Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake. I may even mix in the cranberry sauce into my muffin/cupcake batter and correspondingly reduce other liquids. Once done, I will share with you the results.

If you wish to have ideas on using cranberry sauce other than in baking, you may check out this site: http://www.musicbizadvice.com/15_ways_to_use_leftover_homemade_cranberry_sauce.htm. You could also check out Ocean Spray’s recipe database for more ideas.

Do you have other ideas?? Please feel free to suggest….