Monday, August 23, 2010
I saw a recipe for Clear Water Sponge Cake on The Little Teochew which looked very much like the sponge cakes that are often sold at chinese bakeries. Super spongy and light as air, the chinese sponge cakes are usually the size of oversized muffins. I always pick up a few when I visit a chinese bakery and I make sure to eat them right away because they spoil quickly.
I wasn't sure if these clear water cakes were the same, but they looked remarkably similar and they were easy to make. In fact, I was a bit suspicious at how easy the recipe looked. A lot of chinese desserts and bakery items are pretty complicated to make.
After I finished mixing the batter, I realized that there was no baking powder agent to make the cake rise. I was really concerned. I knew the egg whites would help the sponge cakes rise, but I wasn't sure it was enough. I double checked the recipe, but I was afraid that something got lost in the translation, or perhaps the flour used in the original recipe already had baking powder inside it.
To my relief, the cakes came out fine. They were soft, spongy, airy. They didn't rise that much though. So I still wonder if I was supposed to have baking powder in there. Perhaps next time I'll fill the batter cup higher too, to make these cakes higher.
I'll have to investigate more to see if I should have put in baking powder, but the recipe as written is great too. The cakes tasted just like the chinese sponge cakes I get in the chinese bakeries! I used a regular muffin pan rather than the oversized ones, so these are more like mini sponge cakes. I had no idea they were so easy to make. Next time, I'm just going to make my own rather than buying them.
Mini sponge cakes (adapted from The Little Teochew)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 50g corn oil
- 50g cake flour
- 3 egg whites
- 50g castor sugar
- Dash of salt
1) Beat (A) till well mixed with an egg beater.
2) Sift in (B), mix well.
3) Whisk (C) till frothy, add (D) and beat till stiff peaks.
Fold in the egg white mixture to egg yolk mixture in 3 additions, mix
till well combined. Scoop the batter into paper cups till 60% full.
5) Bake in preheated oven at 150C for about 18-20mins.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
About a month ago, I made mini cherry almond cakes, which I really liked. One of the changes I wanted to make to my first attempt was to make the tea cakes smaller, as the original recipe intended it that way, allowed the whole cherry in the middle to be a big part of the tea cake.
Another thing I wanted to do was pit the cherries even though you are supposed to put a whole cherry in there. No one was eating the cakes the first time because they complained about the one little seed inside the cherry. So this time, I used my Cherry Pitter, and pitted the whole cherries, before putting each cherry in the middle of the tea cakes.
Last time, the cherries were pretty well covered with batter, so this time I let them stick out. I do think that they ended up popping up a little too much, so next time I'll stick them down a little more in the batter.
The cherry cakes looked even cuter in their mini size and they tasted just as good as last time. The mild sweet taste of cherries mixed with almonds is a delicious combination. These cakes are also really easy to make if you have all the ingredients.
And with the cherries pitted, these cakes were a much bigger hit this time around.
Cherry and Almond Cakes (recipe found on the cookie shop)
- 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for muffin tin
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for tin
- 1 1/4 cups almond flour (I used this one)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 5 large egg whites
- 4 teaspoons kirsch
- 30 sweet (Bing)cherries (pitted or not depending on your preference)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees/ 180°C. Brush 30 cups of 2 mini-muffin tins with butter, and dust lightly with flour. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When it begins
to sputter, reduce heat to medium. Cook, swirling skillet occasionally,
until butter has lightly browned. Skim foam from top, and remove
skillet from heat.
2. Whisk together flour, ground almonds, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add
egg whites, and whisk until smooth. Stir in kirsch. Pour in
butter, leaving any dark-brown sediment in skillet, and whisk to
combine. Let stand for 20 minutes.
3. Pour 1 tablespoon batter into each buttered muffin cup, filling about
halfway. Push a cherry into each, keeping stem end up. With a
small spoon, smooth batter over cherries to cover. Bake
toothpick comes out clean and cakes are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Let cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges to
loosen, and unmold.
Cakes can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I love purple sweet potatoes and have been wanting to create desserts with them. I've had a hard time doing so though. The purple sweet potato, when cooked, turns a vibrant, dark purple. But when mixed with egg yolks and batter, the color becomes very muted. It becomes a bluish grey. Sometimes, it turns a dark green!
I saw quite a few recipes for purple sweet potato chiffon cake that came out a beautiful pink. I ended up using a recipe from Next Food Stop. I followed the recipe, but as you can see, my cake didn't come out pink. Instead, it was a bluish grey.
I'm not sure where I where went wrong. Perhaps there are different varieties of purple sweet potatoes and the ones available here are not the same as the ones being used in the recipes I found.
This recipe required as many eggs as my previous chiffon cake recipes, though it is only about half the size. I didn't have the smaller chiffon cake pan, which is what is required for this recipe, so I ended up using a full sized pan so my cake isn't as puffy.
All the eggs made this cake very, very moist and soft, like a cloud. It was actually a little too moist for me. I prefer the other chiffon cakes that (while still soft and pillowy) do have a slightly firmer texture compared to this one. The shell of this cake is also soft and sticky, whereas the other chiffon cakes I've made have a clear crust that doesn't stick to your hands.
I think it's your own personal preference because Baby Bro loved this recipe.
The cake tasted good, but I wish it had come out pretty pink. I guess I'll try it again with another recipe. If anyone can tell me why my purple sweet potato recipes come out this color or sometimes a dark green, please let me know!
Purple Sweet Potato Chiffon Cake (adapted from Next Food Stop)
- 220 g egg white (about 6 large eggs)
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- egg yolk 80 g (about 5 large eggs)
- water 100 g
- corn oil 80 g
- sweet potato 100 g (steamed and mashed)
- plain flour 100 g
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- caster sugar 20 g
- sweet potato 140 g ( cut into cubes and steamed)
1. Whisk egg yolk with the mashed potato. Add in water, 20 g sugar. Then add in oil.
2. Sift flour with baking soda. Mix into the egg yolk mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy, then gradually add in the 100g sugar and cream of tartar until a shiny meringue forms. Your meringue is ready when you can hold the bowl upside down and the meringue does not slide out. Fold
into the yolk mixture carefully, then add in the potato cubes using a
4. Pour batter into a 17 cm chiffon cake tin. (Do not grease the pan because you want to be able to keep the cake upside down when it is done cooking without it sliding out of the pan)
5. Bake the cake at 165°C for 45 minutes or until cooked.
6. Remove cake from oven and invert the pan to finish cooling. The cake should stick in pan even though it is upside down.
7. After cake has cooled, use a plastic knife to loosen the edges of the cake so that it will slide out.