Tuesday, September 28, 2010

White Chocolate & Coffee Marbled Loaf Cake

Reached out for my favorite baking book out of the lot I looted from Amazon.com. I love how Dorie Greenspan writes her books. Her instructions are always so detailed and clear, providing extra information on how the mix will turn out to be, so we can keep check of whether we're on the right track. I've come across recipes where they always call for that one particular queer ingredient, either too rare or way out of the budget, and you have to skip the whole page as you don't wanna buy a whole bag of it just to make that one recipe. But nope, not in Dorie Greenspan's recipes, her ingredients are easily available everywhere. Already bookmarked numerous pages in her book, so you'll be seeing more of her recipes coming up in my future bakes heehee

So for the September monthly zadankai, I took on the challenge of making my first marbled cake...and I think I'm addicted to marbling! So funnn!!! hahahah I like how the marbling is so unpredictable and volatile. And how the flavorings is entirely up to your imagination, so as long as the color contrast is there.

While I like the flavors very much, I thought the cake could be less dense than this. I figured that I must have probably overmixed the batter a little, resulting in a less soft texture. Nevertheless it would not stop me from the next marbled cake attempt. Thinking of all the possible combination makes me excited heehee
White Chocolate & Coffee Marbled Loaf Cake (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours)

280g plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour (I measured mine to be 293g)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
169g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
120ml whole milk

85g white chocolate, melted
1 1/4 tsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tbsp of water

1. Preheat oven to 160°C (150°C if you're using a dark pan like me) and grease a 8.5" x 4.5" loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt
3. In a separate bowl, beat butter until smooth on medium speed
4. Add sugar and beat for another 2 to 3 mins
5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Don't be concerned if the batter curdles and stays curdled
6. Beat in vanilla extract
7. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately add flour mixture in 3 additions and milk in 2, mixing only until each addition is incorporated
8. Divide batter into half
9. Stir white chocolate into one portion and coffee into the other portion
10. Spoon white chocolate and coffee batter out in alternating rows and plunge a table knife into batter and zigzag through the batter in about 6-8 zigs and zags (I did only 4)
11. Bake for 1h 20 to 30 mins. If the cake looks as if it's getting too brown, cover it loosely with a foil tent
12. Transfer cake to cooling rack and let it rest for abt 15mins before unmolding, then cool the cake to room temperature right side up on the rack

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fried Parmesan Chicken

Some time ago, bf and I agreed to have a cooking mission every weekend where we'll take turns to cook for each other. Have to say it's kinda ambitious with our busy schedule and the so-called resolution ended up being a flop for months :P So we're back at it, probably not going to be a weekly affair, but it's nice to show our concern for each other by making the other party fat through cooking.

Sometimes I find cooking much easier than baking. You can just eyeball your ingredients and if you make any mistakes along the way, you can make amendments for it, unlike baking. Or maybe I'm just a novice cook, so I don't have fussy taste buds for savory food.

So he made cream pasta for lunch while I made fried parmesan chicken for the fried-anything-crazed fellow for dinner...and he loves it! Even though we used chicken breast, the meat is tender and succulent. I was initially half worried I'll not cook the meat thoroughly at first as it's pretty thick. The crust tastes amazing with parmesan cheese, it remained crispy and tasty despite laying there for a while before we ate it. The chicken will go well together with thousand island sauce or even some lemon cream sauce.

Fried Parmesan Chicken

1 egg
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2 pcs of chicken (any part up to your preference), approximately 200g each
Enough all purpose flour to coat chicken

1. Lightly beat egg with a pinch of salt and pepper
2. Combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese on a plate
3. Heat up oil in a pan, oil level enough to reach half of the chicken piece
4. Tenderize chicken by pounding with a meat pounder
5. Coat chicken with a thin layer of flour
6. Dip chicken into beaten egg mixture
7. Roll chicken in bread crumbs mixture
8. Fry chicken in the hot oil on low to medium heat until cooked...profittt!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mocha Chiffon Cake

I'm back from sunny Phuket! Lovely place packed with random cool people talking to you on the streets, asking where're you from. My first time there, and it's not going to be my last. The only crap that happened over there was my 2+year old canon camera took a dip in the Phuket sea. Being heavily reliant on my camera - I'm pretty much a trigger-happy kind of person on my camera - I was really disappointed. Good thing the SD card didn't give way so I managed to retained some pictures.

Last picture from my camera before taking a plunge into the sea -_-

Boy, I miss my oven LOL So it's going to be a stay home bake-athon for me this weekend. I'm sorry that I'm baking chiffon again as I don't have time to make notes of my baking books since my holiday so I'll just make do with a familiar recipe with minor adjustments.

Same good ol' light and cottony texture. I find that chiffon with cocoa tend to be more spongy, probably due to the higher protein content. And I like how lasting these cakes are. I placed one of them out in the open overnight and it remains fluffy and moist the next morning. I wouldn't call this a real mocha chiffon as there's no milk. Wonder if it's possible to sub water for milk in chiffon cakes. hmm.
Mocha Chiffon Cake (modified from Keiko Ishida's Okashi)
makes 3 10cm chiffon

24g cake flour
8g natural cocoa powder
2 egg yolks
8g caster sugar
30g coffee, room temperature (3 tsp instant coffee for 1 cup)
24g canola oil

2 egg whites
36g caster sugar
4g corn flour

1. Preheat oven to 160°C
2. Sift flour and cocoa powder twice
3. Beat egg yolks and sugar until well mixed
4. Add coffee and canola oil to the yolk mixture and blend well
5. Add flour mixture to yolk mixture until the batter becomes sticky
6. Combine sugar and corn flour in a separate bowl
7. Beat egg whites until frothy and add half of the sugar mixture, and continue to beat
8. Slowly add in the rest of the sugar mixture and beat until egg white stiff peaks and is glossy but not dry
9. Add one third of the meringue into yolk mixture and fold in lightly
10. Pour in rest of the meringue mixture and fold until well combined
11. Pour the batter into chiffon tins and bake for 22 mins
12. Invert the chiffon tin on a wire rack and let it cool for 2h before releasing the cake for serving

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Espresso Shortbread-by-the-Dozen

By the time this scheduled entry is posted, I'll be in sunny (hopefully) Phuket! Bf and I snagged the air tickets way back in January during a sale. What a long ass wait! It would be a short getaway for us, we spaced out the activities so we'll have no agenda for some of the days to waste ourselves away. I'm gonna miss my ovennnnnn lol

One last bake before I fly. Grabbed this off one of my baking books. Espresso shortbread! Once I started splitting the dough up in 7 pieces, I was reminded how I dread baking stuffs from the cookie and shortbread family. Sticky messy dough...accidentally flicked one or two bits onto my baking book. The good thing is, however, now my baking book is 4-dimensional - when I read the recipe, I can smell the page to remember how the bakes turn out to be LOL

Think I've underbaked them a little as I pulled them out from the oven at the 45th min mark. A few more mins shall make them the texture even better. Nevertheless, this crumbly shortbread melt in your mouth, leaving a rich buttery taste coupled with sophisticated coffee flavor. The salt also adds a new dimension to the sweetness. You can leave out the espresso powder if you want plain shortbread, but I'll prefer them with it.
Espresso Shortbread-by-the-Dozen (adapted from Flo Braker's Baking for All Occasions)

255g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
120g sugar
2 tsp espresso powder, ground
1 to 2 tsp vanilla extract (I use 2)

1. Preheat oven to 150°C and prepare a 8" square baking pan with parchment paper
2. Sift flour and salt and set aside
3. Beat butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth
4. Add in sugar and ground espresso and beat until mixture is light and fluffy
5. Add in vanilla during the final moments of mixing
6. Divide the dough into 7 equal pieces. Place 1 piece close to each corner of the prepared pan and the 3 remaining just off the pan's center
7. Using your fingertips, spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. To hasten the spreading, you can place a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the dough and use a pastry roller (or even a soda can - I use this) to help spreading it evenly
8. Prick the surface all over with a fork
9. Use a knife and cut the dough into six 1 1/4inch-wide strips and all the way through the midpoint to form 4-inch long rectangles
10. Bake the shortbread 45 to 50 mins, until pale gold but yet brown and transfer to wire rack
11. Without delay, gently cut the warm shortbread along the marked lines with a small sharp knife (This prevents the squares from breaking once the shortbread has been cooled)
12. When completely cool, using the ends of the parchment as handles, lift the shortbread out of the pan. If necessary, carefully break the shortbread into bars along the marked lines

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pandan Chiffon Cake

This has been an eventful week for me. A car crash greeted us on Monday late night on PIE when my bf sent me home. We were involved in a 4-way car butt kissing accident - we were the 3rd car. Our car is basically like bacon between toast, thankfully we were not hurt. Poor dude was badly shaken though.

A little baking to calm my nerves. Bought 10cm mini chiffon tins as I thought they look really cute. I notice mini chiffon cakes in neighborhood bakeries and this chiffon specialty cake shop selling mini chiffons in interesting flavors along the new Raffles City B2 link to Suntec. Thought I'll just jump the wagon and join in the mini chiffon craze too.

I know, I know...I should have used pandan leaves and extract the juice out for au naturale goodness, but I'm lazy I didn't have the time to visit the market to grab some, so I settled for pandan paste.

Really pleased with the results. I would like to think I've mastered the art of meringue beating (and folding I hope?) as the chiffon cake was significantly softer and cottony than all my previous attempts, even though they were already considerably light and fluffy in texture already. Pandan flavor could be strong though, will add more the next time.
Pandan Chiffon Cake (modified from Keiko Ishida's Okashi)
makes 4 10cm chiffon

32g cake flour
2 egg yolks
8g caster sugar
1/4 tsp pandan paste
28g water
24g canola oil

2 egg whites (weighed mine to be 84g)
36g caster sugar
4g corn flour

1. Preheat oven to 160°C
2. Sift flour twice
3. Beat egg yolks and sugar until well mixed
4. Add pandan paste, water and canola oil to the yolk mixture and blend well
5. Add flour mixture to yolk mixture until the batter becomes sticky
6. Combine sugar and corn flour in a separate bowl
7. Beat egg whites until frothy and add half of the sugar mixture, and continue to beat
8. Slowly add in the rest of the sugar mixture and beat until egg white stiff peaks and is glossy but not dry
9. Add one third of the meringue into yolk mixture and fold in lightly
10. Pour in rest of the meringue mixture and fold until well combined
11. Pour the batter into chiffon tins and bake for 20 mins
12. Invert the chiffon tin on a wire rack and let it cool for 2h before releasing the cake for serving

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Soufflé Cheesecake

Today marks a milestone for me - Completed my 2nd half marathon at Army Half Marathon. Was slower by 9 mins than my first timing of 2 h 11 mins clocked at Sundown earlier on this year, but I'm still happy that I completed it given that I was running with a cough. Was still fooling around with my colleague taking jumping jack pictures after the run. But damnnnnn my knees are hurting and cracking like an old man's now =S And now I fret for my upcoming full marathon at the end of the year.

Second happy event for the day. Bf is back! Yay! Despite having laosai on the last 2 days of his trip and landing at an awkward 5+am in Singapore. He stayed up to wait for me to finish my run and came to look for me immediately. Touched :D Poor dude was always the guinea pig for my initial fail bakes, ate my numerous chilled cheesecakes till the poor fellow got so sick of it hahaha. He has told me that he'll love to try a water bath-ed one someday. So the day before his return, I prepared this. Wasn't really expecting anything from this chinese cheesecake baking book I grabbed off Popular, but it turns out great!...though ugly.

Creamy yet light and refreshing with a hint of lemon. It can easily pass off as Fiesta's light cheesecake. And all it takes is just a box of cream cheese. The recipe is a keeper. But I would suggest add a aluminum foil to prevent a burnt cracked top.
Soufflé Cheesecake (adapted from Junko Fukuda, Yasuyo Shida & Kumiko Yanase's 我爱乳酪蛋糕)
Makes 7" cake

Cheesecake filling:
250g cream cheese, room temperature
60g sugar
30g unsalted butter, melted
3 egg yolks, room temperature
100ml milk, room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp corn flour

3 egg whites, room temperature
30g sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease a 7" (I use 6") springform pan and wrap the bottom with aluminum foil to prevent seeps from water bath
2. Whisk together cream cheese and 60g sugar until creamy and smooth
3. Pour in melted butter and mix well
4. Add egg yolks one at a time until incorporated
5. Add milk and stir until well combined
6. Add in lemon juice and blend well
7. Sift in corn flour and mix well, then strain the mixture and set aside
8. In a separate bowl, combine salt and egg whites and beat until soft peak
9. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into strained mixture, then fold in lightly the rest of the meringue until well combined
10. Pour batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for 45~50mins in water bath
11. Let cake cool completely before chilling it for >3h in the fridge for serving

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Basic Biscuits

Feeling adventurous, I tried making biscuits. The first I ever had was from Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits when I was in USA. They were so good (waaaaaaaaay better than what we have here in Singapore) that we went to Albertsons and bought a tube of Pillsbury's biscuits to bake in our apartment. Thereafter I had cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster too...those were godly! So in my honorary Biscuit Hall of Fame, the ranking goes like this: 1. Red Lobster, 2. Popeye, 3. Pillsbury.

So mine are actually really-pretty good as well! Crispy on the edges, soft and flaky on the inside. May I also say...It's so FLUFFYYY I'M GONNA DIEEEEEE!!! Damn, you should see the multiple layers of flakes, oh wait a minute, there're pictures Pretty impressed with the recipe. I'll rank them uhh...better than Pillsbury as it's just a basic biscuit without any flavoring or spices. But texture wise, they're comparable to the tops. They go well with butter and jam. I prefer them to be served warm, so I'll heat them up before eating if I'm not feeling too lazy.

Even though Dorie suggests it's okay to use our hands to handle the dough, I try not to use them over here where it's practically summer all year round. It's a race against time to send these babies into the oven before the cold butter melts, so I'll rather use my equipment. This recipe going to be in my bake-again list.
Basic Biscuits (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours)
Book states it makes 12 biscuits. 16 for me.

280g all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
85g unsalted butter, cold and cut into 12 pcs
180ml milk, cold

1. Preheat oven to 220°C and prepare a baking tray with parchment paper
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt
3. Add in cold butter into the flour mixture
4. Work with your finger tips or a pastry blender (I use this) to rub the butter into flour until the mixture is pebbly
5. Pour in milk and use a fork to gently toss over and turn the ingredients until you have a nice soft dough
6. Reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick gentle knead, abt 3-4 turns to bring everything together
7. Light dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough
8. Use your hands to pat or roll the dough with a pin (I used a pin) till abt 1/2 inch high (Don't worry if dough is not completely even, a light quick touch is more important than accuracy)
9. Use a 2 inches biscuit cutter to cut out as much biscuits as possible and transfer them to the baking tray*
10. Gather together scraps and repeat step 8 & 9 until the dough is used up
11. Bake for abt 14 ~ 18 mins or until they are puffed up and golden brown, and serve warm

* At this stage, the dough can frozen on the baking sheet for up to 2 months. For baking without defrosting, just add a few more mins to the baking time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cheddar Ham Muffins

The past 2 weeks actually had been pretty awful for me. Ultra moody everyday. Seriously...when you wake up in the morning, you wish the day will end with a snap of fingers. But I'm glad I made it to the weekends. Don't feel like going home to get caught between a domestic dispute. Bf was out of town (and still is) to destination unknown. Guess I was trying not to think too much of him in case I get lovesick. Plus I caught the flu bug due to the temperamental weather, kinda worried now if I'll recover in time before my half marathon this Sunday.

Whilst I was missing my bf, I was secretly thrilled that I had a lot of time for myself. I was occupied with activities with friends and colleagues in the weekends. It reaffirms to me that my relationship is heading the right way as I don't find myself feeling lost due to having my life revolving solely around one person that I had nowhere to go nor had no invitations for outings in the weekends. And I'm happy that I have him as my bf, he's always the most understanding and accommodating person.

Having the long weekend for myself means I have more time for baking! Baked savory breakfast muffins for sister and her boyfriend. Savory muffins are pretty new to me, the results were kind of disappointing though. I was expecting cheese to ooze out from the muffins as they were promising with all the fizzling and cracking while inside the oven. Guess not! The cheddar gave the muffin an overall cheesy taste but sorry, no cheese ooze. Other than that, it's pretty filling for breakfast.
Cheddar Ham Muffins
makes 6 muffins

70g all purpose flour
65g corn meal
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of coarse black pepper
Pinch of blended herbs - rosemary, thyme, red pepper
55g salted butter, melted
120ml milk, room temperature
1 large egg
1 tbsp sugar
70g cheddar cheese, shredded
30g honey baked ham, chopped into bits

1. Preheat oven to 190°C
2. Whisk together flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, black pepper and herbs in a bowl
3. In another bowl, whisk melted butter, milk, egg and sugar together until well combined
4. Pour the liquid mixture over dry ingredients, and gently stir to blend until just combined
5. Add ham and cheese and stir just 2 strokes to combine
6. Divide batter evenly over muffin cups
7. Bake for abt 25 mins and transfer pan to a cooling rack
8. Let muffins cool in rack and serve them warm

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Green Tea Sablés

The closure to my can of almost-expiring matcha powder went to this recipe. I've never eaten nor seen a sablé before but that seems like a good recipe to burn my matcha powder, and the reviews for this particular recipe are good. Sablés is a classic French butter cookie which originates from Normandy, France. The name "Sablés" is French for "sand", describing the sandy texture of the cookie.

Googled for its pronunciation - we know how French words always sound so different from the spelling - it's pronounced as 'Sah-Bleh", sounds classy LOL. I can imagine myself going around offering the green cookies to everyone, and they gonna ask, "What are these?" And I'll take a deep breath and look oh-so-poetic and go, "Sah-Bleeeeh~"The thought of that intrigues me.

True to its name, the cookie is sandy and crumbly, enriched with the smoothness of butter. The granulated sugar rolled onto the side also contributed to the sandiness. The green tea fragrance is intense enough for me, make sure you use good quality matcha powder though. As you can see, I don't have the best rolling and slicing skills in the world, but they still look cute enough to be given away as little gifts for people :D
Green Tea Sablés (adapted from Keiko Ishida's Okashi)

240g pastry flour, chilled
15g matcha powder
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
130g icing sugar (I use 122g because that's all I've left :Þ)
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
Granulated sugar for rolling on

1. Sift flour and matcha powder twice and set aside
2. Beat butter, icing sugar and salt until soft and creamy
3. Add in egg yolks and mix well
4. Fold in flour mixture with a spatula
5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about 15mins
6. Divide dough into 2 and shape them into logs about 3.5cm in diameter
7. Wrap the logs with parchment paper and refrigerate them until firm (I use shrink wrap instead and placed them in the freezer instead as I was running short of time)
8. Preheat oven to 150°C
9. Cut logs into 7mm thick slices and dip the edges into granulated sugar
10. Bake for about 25 mins and transfer to rack to cool completely

P.S. Damn I had a colleague went, "What are these?! Wasabi cookies?!" xD

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vanilla Jam Muffins

Hanged out with the gang today. Had a mini gathering at Marina Barrage. We've just discovered a new found past time - kite flying! This is the second time we've been to the barrage within 3 weeks. We only had one $3.50 kite (which we shamelessly named it 'Soaring Guppy') the first time we went and it flew so far that it became a dirty pixel in the sky. This time we had not 1, not 2, but 3 kites!! LOL

Grabbed this recipe online only the night before. I halved the recipe as 3 1/2 cups of flour seem like a pretty intimidating volume to me. Love the outcome of it. The nutmeg perks up the vanilla and heightens the taste of the muffins, but I don't want to add too much of it as the spiciness may take over the whole flavor department. I like how the cinnamon sugar on the muffins top gives the already-crispy muffin crust even more crunch. A refreshing change from the usual chocolate chip/blueberry muffins. I ended up with lots of cinnamon sugar dip after sprinkling on the muffin tops so you may wish to reduce the cinnamon sugar dip ingredients as long as the ratio is there.

And, kite flying and playing 老鹰捉小鸡 are fun and nostalgic. :D
Vanilla Jam Muffins (modified from Anna Olson's Sugar)
makes 12 small muffins

180ml milk (I use full cream milk)
1/2 vanilla pod (I use 1)
245g all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 nutmeg powder (I use a pinch)
1/4 tsp salt
150g white sugar
80ml vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 large egg
60ml raspberry jam (I use 12 tsp of strawberry jam)

28g unsalted butter, melted (I use 15g)
25g sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder


1. Preheat oven to 175°C
2. Heat milk with scraped vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan over medium-low heat for abt 15 mins to infuse the flavors together
3. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature
4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg, and salt and mix well
5. Whisk in sugar, vegetable oil and egg into cooled milk
6. Blend milk mixture into flour mixture until just combined
7. Fill muffin cases 2/3 full of batter, and spoon 1 tbsp of jam (I use 1 tsp) into the centre of each muffin and top with the remaining batter
8. Bake for 35 ~ 45 mins until light golden brown on top (I baked for 30 mins for my smaller muffins)
9. Let muffins cool on a rack while you prepare the dip mixture
10. In a separate bowl, mix cinnamon powder and sugar
11. Brush muffins with melted butter and dip them into the cinnamon sugar mixture (I sprinkled the sugar on top instead)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Green Tea Pound Cake

I don't know why I always get myself into fixes like competing against expiry dates of my ingredients. So there I have this can of good quality matcha powder expiring in a week's time, so I had to make something out of it. You see how my bakes are mainly due to practical reasons instead of inspirations. /snorts

I knew Nick Malgeiri because I'm a fame snob by surfing online for pastry chefs. Am currently awaiting for reviews on his new book Bake! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking before I can call myself a proud owner of his baking books. His previous books are good, but I guess I would want something newer, on the assumption that bakers improvise on their old recipes?

The pound cake tastes pleasant with just the right amount of sweetness and floral blend fragrance from the matcha powder. However, the texture is relatively dry, instead of the ideal melt-in-your-mouth kind of pound cake and I know why...because I was nosey enough to open the oven door halfway, letting cool air rushed into the oven and my oven temperature took a drastic plunge. In attempt to save the cake, I turned the oven high and it went too high hahahahhahh!! Faiiilllllll Lesson learnt. :(
Green Tea Pound Cake (adapted from Nick Malgeiri's Perfect Cakes)

280g all purpose flour
2 tbsp matcha powder
2 tsp baking powder
226g unsalted butter
230g icing sugar
5 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 160°C and prepare a 9" x 5" loaf pan
2. Combine flour, matcha powder and baking powder and stir well
3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light in color
4. Beat in yolks one at a time until well combined
5. Fold in flour mixture into yolk mixture and set aside
6. In a separate bowl, combine salt and egg whites and beat until soft peak
7. Add the meringue into batter mixture and fold in lightly until no more whites can be seen
8. Pour the batter into pan, smoothen the top and let it bake for 45 mins
9. Let the pan cool on rack for 10 mins before un-molding the cake and let it cool completely

Friday, September 3, 2010

Coffee-Break Muffins

A lot of recipes call for espresso or coffee to give the baked goods a boost. So I grabbed some from the supermarket. The biggest irony of it all is I don't drink coffee. Nope, not a drop of it. I ended up interviewing my colleagues on the best coffee in their opinion. The supermarket store assistants must think I'm some sort of a looney, stalking the coffee section for almost an hour, scrutinizing all the fine print on the coffee can labels.

Tried this really easy muffin recipe from one of the baking books I got off Amazon. It was pretty much a flop when I first made it. Recipe states to use a cup of strong coffee, honestly I don't know how strong is strong and only used 2 tsp of coffee powder. The muffins ended up lacking the coffee punch. Guess I gotta start drinking a teeny weeny bit of some coffee if I want to make my baking even better. :( I also overfilled the muffin cups with batter and the muffins domed too much and cracked in the middle, resembling chinese steamed cakes. Not sexy at all. Mom had to lie to the guests, 'Hey look! My daughter made some hua kway for you guys!!' :D

Was kinda pissed off so I tried it again with stronger coffee and making sure I filled my muffin cups properly. So they turned out fine. This batch is slightly browner than my first 'floppy' ones as the instant coffee powder darkens it. Muffins are absolutely moist with crispy crust. Topped off with the unique combination of coffee with caramelised brown sugar and cinnamon, they make a perfect choice for a quick morning snack. They get more flavorful after they're cooled to room temperature, so I suggest patiently waiting for an hour or two even though some disappeared from my rack before that happens.Coffee-Break Muffins (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours)
Book states it makes 12 muffins. 15 for me.

280g all purpose flour
67g white sugar
72g light brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
240ml strong coffee, cooled (5 tsp instant coffee powder to a cup of hot water)
113g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 200°C
2. Whisk together flour, sugar-s, baking powder, espresso powder, cinnamon and salt
3. In another bowl, whisk coffee, melted butter, egg and vanilla extract together until well combined
4. Pour the liquid mixture over dry ingredients, and gently stir to blend
5. Divide batter evenly over muffin cups
6. Bake for abt 20 mins and transfer pan to a cooling rack
7. Let muffins cool in rack for abt 5 mins before transferring them out