Marble Cake

It has been a tough week.  I feel a little under the weather and bothered by a problem.  It has been a few days since I started feeling unmotivated.  Today, I said to myself is time to get past moody feelings and start getting things done.  I haven’t been baking much.  Since baking is therapeutic for me, I decided to make something and start feeling productive again.

I didn’t take long to decide to make a marble cake because the whole family loves it.  But I didn’t have butter.   I did have a new jar of coconut oil so I went ahead to make marble cake with coconut oil.  I second guessed the cake would turn out well since my muffins made with coconut oil always turn out alright.  I prepped everything and sent the loaf cake to bake in the oven.  As I went around doing my chores, the aroma from the kitchen wafted and make me sense that I would have a nice dessert that afternoon.

When the cake finished baking in about 35 minutes, I let it cool completely before cutting it.  I was so happy the cake turned out very moist and delicious.  The only disappointment was the marbling of the cake.  It wasn’t prominent at all.  I used brown sugar in the main batter which made the cake turn out darker.  I should have used white sugar.  But since the cake tasted great, I thought I would share the recipe.

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Coconut Oil Marble Cake

Ingredients (one loaf cake):

  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100ml coconut oil
  • 100ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 175°C.
  2. Line loaf tin with parchment paper or lightly grease the tin.
  3. Sift all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  4. Using a hand whisk, beat sugar and coconut oil till all the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Add eggs and whisk to combine.
  6. Add vanilla and milk and whisk to combine.
  7. Add flour mixture and fold till everything is well combined and there are no traces of flour.
  8. Pour half of the batter into another clean and dry mixing bowl.  Set aside the other half.  You would have two bowls of batter.
  9. Sift cocoa powder over one of the bowls and fold to incorporate everything.  Make sure there are no traces or lumps of cocoa.
  10. Pour the batter into the loaf tin by alternating between the two bowls of batter.  Repeat till all batter is used.
  11. Use a knife or skewer to make swirls through the batter for a marble effect.
  12. Bake in preheated oven for around 35 – 40 minutes.  Check doneness by using a skewer to insert into the centre of the cake.  If the skewer comes out clean the cake is done.
  13. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and slice when fully cooled.

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Lemon Chiffon Cake

A light and airy cake is on the menu today.  It’s a cool day with overcast skies.  A respite from the tropical heat experienced over the last few days.  I really welcome the slight drizzle and the cool breeze with big open arms.  Walking my dog today has been so pleasant.

The weather has put me in a good mood to bake a lemon chiffon cake.  I hadn’t had a chiffon cake for many months.  The cake turned out pleasantly, light and airy with a tinge of fresh lemon scent.  I love it.  The recipe is pretty simple and uncomplicated.  I used the juice of half a lemon and some lemon rind to flavour the cake.  The other ingredients are the standard egg yolks, egg whites, vegetable oil, caster sugar and cake flour.  For the meringue, I beat my egg whites till they are at soft peak stage.  The cake rose beautifully and shrank just a little while cooling (this is normal).  The cake tasted light and refreshing and is a perfect pairing with tea or coffee.  I’m thankful for this simple enjoyment I have today.

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Lemon Chiffon Cake

Ingredients (for a 17cm chiffon cake pan):

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 20ml fresh milk
  • 40ml vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 15ml lemon juice (about juice of 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 70g cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 egg whites
  • 45g caster sugar

Direction:

  1. Preheat oven to 170C.
  2. Using a hand whisk, mix egg yolks and 15g sugar until all the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add milk and continue to whisk.  Then add lemon juice and lemon rind, whisk to combine.
  4. Add vegetable oil and whisk to combine everything.
  5. Add cake flour and baking powder and use a spatula to fold the flour into the wet mixture.  Set aside.
  6. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until they become frothy.  Add 45g sugar in 3 parts, beating until you get soft peaks.
  7. Take 1/3 of the meringue and fold into the egg yolk mixture.  Make sure that the meringue is completely folded in.  Repeat with another 1/3 until all the meringue is folded completely into the egg yolk mixture.
  8. Pour batter into chiffon cake pan.  The cake pan doesn’t need any parchment paper or greasing.
  9. Tap the cake pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles trapped in the batter.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  11. When the cake is done, remove from the oven carefully and immediately invert the cake pan on the base of a cup or bowl.  This step is important so that the cake doesn’t collapse.
  12. Let the cake cool completely.  This takes about 1 hour.
  13. When the cake has cooled, turn the cake pan over and use a thin bladed knife to run through the rim to release the cake.
  14. Slice cake and store in an air-tight container.

 

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Almond Cake

Happy Lunar New Year!  I hope you had a fabulous time visiting family and friends and feasting on all the delicious food and snacks.

I spent two days visiting my relatives and I had a good time catching up with them.  We had a fun time sharing stories, giving out hongbaos and trying out each other’s bakes.  I brought the pineapple tarts that I made to my in-laws and grandmother’s house because they love pineapple tarts but can no longer make them.  I remember that when I was a child I would go to my grandmother’s house to help make pineapple tarts.  Those good old days will always be remembered dearly.  We made tray after tray of pineapple tarts to give to our relatives.  Now that Grandma is almost 90, it is time for me to make them for her each Chinese New Year.  I’m glad she likes my tarts.  She is a good cook and hearing her say she likes them is like receiving a pat on the back.

Coming from a small family, my visiting for Chinese New Year is finished.  If you have a big family with many relatives to visit and you are thinking of bringing a gift over to their house, I have a recommendation for you.  You can make an almond cake that everyone will love.  Whenever I bake this for someone I get good reviews for it. It is really delicious and moist.  The butter and ground almonds make this cake a winner.  The best part is everything can be mixed in one bowl.  It saves time in getting the mixer out and washing multiple dishes and utensils.  I use just a bowl and a hand whisk.

I bought ground almond to make almond cookies but never got around to it because I was making pineapple tarts (due to hot demand from the husband and daughter).  I doubt I will be baking almond cookies because my MIL has kindly bought us a box of almond cookies.  So today, I decided to make an almond cake using the ground almond meant for almond cookies.  I will be having this for tea later.  I hope you try this recipe and and get a thumbs-up for this cake.

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Almond Cake 

Ingredients (one loaf cake or 8″ cake):

  • 100g unsalted butter, bring to room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 90g ground almonds (almond powder)
  • 40g cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon flaked or chopped almonds for garnishing

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper at the bottom and lightly grease the sides of the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a hand whisk until it is light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and continue whisking.  Then add vanilla and fresh milk, whisking after each addition of ingredient.
  5. Sift over cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl.  Fold to incorporate the flour and butter mixture.
  6. Add ground almonds and fold to incorporate everything.
  7. Pour batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle flaked or chopped almonds.
  8. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing.
  10. Enjoy!

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almond cake orchids

 

 

Baking a Chiffon Cake

I wanted to bake a cake this week.  I wanted to make something light and I thought of chiffon cake immediately.  I had not baked a chiffon cake for a few months and I started thinking of the flavour.  I had lemons on hand and almost went with it.  Then I thought – If I went with lemons I would have leftover cake because not everyone in my family likes a citrus cake.  The other choice that was playing in my mind was Pandan Chiffon.  Ok, Pandan Chiffon would be a hit in our household.

If you live in Singapore or visited Singapore, you will know that Pandan chiffon is the most famous of all chiffon cakes.  This pastel green, feather-light, cottony cake is aromatic and flavourful.  The texture is soft and cottony and the taste is sweet and fragrant.  The fragrance comes from the cake’s star ingredient – Pandan, also known as Screwpine Leaf in some parts of the world.  Locally, we call this leaf Pandan.  It is a tropical plant used in a lot in South East Asia cooking.  It is almost always paired with coconut milk in South East Asian cooking.  In Pandan Chiffon Cake, coconut milk goes hand in hand with Pandan.

Image result for pandan leaf

Pandan/ScrewpineLeaves

I managed to get Pandan leaves and coconut milk at the market and made Pandan Chiffon yesterday.  Pandan leaves can be grown at home and can be easily found at supermarkets and wet markets in Singapore.  If you are living in other parts of the world and would like to try Pandan Chiffon, you can try to see if the Asian supermarkets sell the leaves or perhaps some bakeries do have Pandan Chiffon.

Pandan Chiffon Cake (17cm chiffon pan)

Ingredients:

90g cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

25g granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

100ml pandan coconut milk**

11/2 tablespoon vegetable oil **

3 egg whites

50g granulated sugar

Notes:

** To make 100ml pandan coconut milk, blend 120ml of coconut milk with at least 8 blades of pandan leaves.  Cut the pandan leaves into small pieces before blending.

** I used canola oil, do not use olive oil as the taste will turn out differently.  Use light flavoured oils such as canola or sunflower.

** Do not oil or grease the chiffon cake pan because the cake needs to stick to the sides of the pan to rise.

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Directions:

  1. Make pandan coconut milk by blending 120ml coconut milk with at least 8 blades of pandan leaves cut into small pieces.  Using a sieve, strain to get 100ml of pandan coconut milk.
  2. Separate egg yolks and whites and leave them till they reach room temperature.  (Tip: use eggs from the refrigerator as they are easier to separate than those left in room temperature)
  3. Whisk egg yolks with 25g granulated sugar till light and airy.
  4. Stir in vegetable oil followed by pandan coconut milk.  Stir till well combined.
  5. Sieve cake flour and baking powder over egg yolk mixture.  Fold to incorporate well with the egg yolk and pandan coconut milk.
  6. Preheat oven to 170 degree celcius.
  7. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites till foamy.  Add 50g sugar in thirds, each time beating well on medium speed.  Beat till stiff peaks form.  One way to test if egg whites or meringue has reached stiff peaks is to overturn the bowl.  The egg whites/meringue will stick to the bowl and not fall out.pandanchiffon3
  8. Take about one third of the beaten egg whites/meringue and fold into the egg yolk mixture. Fold till there are no traces of egg whites.  Light and swift folds are required so as not to deflate the egg whites.
  9. Next, take another one third and fold into the egg yolk mixture.
  10. Finally take the last third and fold into the mixture ensuring that everything is well incorporated and no traces of egg whites are present.
  11. Pour batter into chiffon cake pan.
  12. Tap the cake pan on the counter a few times to break any air bubbles in the batter.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes.  The cake will rise above the cake pan whilst baking.  This is normal.
  14. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the cake pan on an overturned cup.  This is to prevent the cake from collapsing.
  15. Let it cool completely for at least one to one and a half hours before removing from the cake pan.
  16. Use a thin bladed knife to run along the cake pan to release the cake.
  17. Cut into slices and enjoy.

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