Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Banana Yogurt Cake

If I did a count of the fruit I baked most with, then it has got to be bananas, with oranges a close second. I simply love baking with these two fruits! The aroma was so amazing, and it definitely didn't come from essence as none was used.

I was recently introduced to Greek yogurt, which is creamier but less sour than normal plain yogurt. Working with it initially was a challenge but I soon grew to like this better than the usual yogurt, which tends to be very watery. In my opinion, results of bakes with Greek yogurt comes closest to those with sour cream. I was told that recipes that call for sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk yield the best results. I have tried both sour cream and yogurt and I love both. I will find a chance to try baking with buttermilk. I am begining to be more selective with recipes under the good influence of a cyber friend :)

I managed to buy a tub of Greek yogurt over the weekend but there was only one size, 1 kg! Ideally, everything should be consumed within three days of opening. Imagine the stress of looking for the right recipe so that the yogurt won't go to waste. I had wasted half a tub about two months ago and felt so bad. I had just enough for one last cake and when hubs said he felt like having bananas, (which is really rare although he loves it) I encouraged him and looked for the nicest bunch with the most speckles.

And which recipe did i use? This one from Baking Bites of course! I cannot remember how many times I tried baking with this recipe, but today's result turned out best. Previous attempts were very moist due to the overdose of bananas. Today, however, the proportion of all the ingredients was just right. I must make a note of the amount of ingredients which I used today so that I can get the same result the next time.

I was pleasantly surprised with a call from my little 6 year-old niece. She called especially to tell me that she liked the banana cake and to "please cook it again, ok?" Of course, sweetie, I will definitely bake it again.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Orange Yogurt Cake

A show of hands, please, how many of people (on this sunny island, at least) have encountered problems when using cups instead of the weighing scale? Perhaps it's just me but I would like to think that my problem, with the latest yogurt cake, lies not in the size of the cups but most likely in the size of the eggs. I bought this last batch of eggs from the market, 10 for S$2.10. These are likely to be slightly bigger than 60g each.

I know I am not the only person who have problems with this recipe. I used oranges instead of grapefruit. After an earlier unsuccessful attempt with another yogurt cake, I approached this with a proper plan.
  • make a more conscious effort to scoop (and flatten) the 1.5 cups of flour
  • mix the eggs, yogurt and sugar together, then add oil (to prevent over mixing flour later)
  • use the balloon whisk to fold in flour, not more than 15 strokes (a tip I found here, see "Batters")
  • bake at a slightly lower temperature (than 180 deg C).

With all the above checked, I put the tray in to bake. All looked and smelled well, and I drenched the cake with OJ from two oranges. And waited... but I could wait no longer and cut the cake when it was cooled enough.

After uttering a silent prayer, I picked up one piece of cake. I should have suspected when there wasn't any crumbs, it's another kueh :(

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sago, Say Me

Did I mention that I am a TV addict, and that my fave channels on cable is Asian Food Channel (AFC, Channel 69) and Discovery Travel & Living (Channel 16)? That's also because our subscription plan does not include any of the chinese channels, that explains why I am not watching the drama serials on cable channels.

Back to my fave channels, I simply love and enjoy very much any programme that features, what else but food! That said, I do have my preference and lately, Food Safari caught my attention. Ok, from what I gather so far, it's about the different types of food found in Australia, either from restaurants or people's homes.

In recent episodes, they featured both food from Singapore and Malaysia. And something caught my girl's eyes -- sago gula melaka. I didn't follow the recipe on AFC, though, as the idea of eating raw egg white doesn't rest well with me. But I think the egg white will give another dimension to the otherwise bland sago. There is a lot of room for improvement and the result was not too bad for a first attempt. Prior to this, I had neither made nor tasted this. As expected, my girl went "ooohhh, taste a lot like coconut..." By the way, she is no fan of coconuts, in any form.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rum Raisin Pound Cake

I have been reading a few chinese cook books lately. All of them feature simple and beautiful cakes. These books are regularly featured on a few blogs and so I visited the library's website to reserve them. I especially enjoyed Delicious!! Baked Cakes, Ikuko Omori, BUT, I was also very frustrated when I found some pages of the book missing! The pages were torn so meticulously and indicated that it was a pre-meditated act. How anyone can be so selfish is really beyond comprehension, not only did I have to pay to borrow it (ok, it's a small sum), I had to wait a few weeks for it. Gosh!

So, I turned to a previously tested recipe and was totally blown away with the result. Perhaps it's due to my obsession with rum & raisins, but the texture of the cake is really something. It's soft and moist, almost like "melt in your mouth". I used light sour cream this time and I have reasons to believe that this version is better than the previous attempt. As for the recipe, it's a pound cake, so use your imagination...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finally Posting

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. There are a number of factors, work and personal matters have been keeping me busy. It felt like an extended PMS, one that lasted a few weeks. Thanks to my friends in the blogging community who emailed me, it's a really warm cyber community. I would have baked tonight had I not run out of caster sugar...

I have been baking during this period but I didn't post because I had been baking numerous banana cakes since baking Nigella's banana rum cake. So I figured it was a little meaningless to keep posting about banana cakes.

I also tried baking 3 chiffon cakes, all I can say is that I am out of practice. They were all lousy to look at, but I still ate three-quarters of the 2 orange chiffon cakes. I added cointreau to the batter and that added another dimension to the taste. I would probably not be baking without liquour, if I can help it.

During the past few weeks, I added more toys to my collection as well. I went to Shermay's as they were having a sale for microplane graters. When I got there, I could not resist buying the packet of 3 different zesters/graters. The packet was priced at a real bargain, all for under S$100. Then I picked up 2 silicon madeleine moulds from Pantry Magic as well. I really love the microplane zester, it seems that orange and lemon zest taste and smell much better now! That was why I baked 2 orange chiffon cakes and 1 lemon chiffon cake (sadly, without liquour).