Friday, July 29, 2011

fruits & nuts quick bread

While checking thru our kitchen cabinet, I found a half-consumed pack of mixed fruits & nuts we bought in Turkey during our trip there couple of months ago. Immediately I thought I could make good use of it to bake some cakes or muffins.

Surfing through recipes online, I found some quick bread recipes on Joy of Baking, and decided it would be a good idea to improvise the cranberry quick bread recipe to make fruits & nuts quick bread instead.

Fruits & Nuts Quick Bread

4 cups sifted plain flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) melted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups of mixed fruits & nuts

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C (160 degree C if using dark coloured pan)
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.
3. Whisk together egg, butter, vanilla essence and milk.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix in the mixed fruits & nuts. Mix well.
5. Pour the batter into pre-greased pan and bake for 70 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I separated the nuts from the fruits, pounded them with mortar until they were of course medium grain texture and toasted them for 5 mins in the toaster to bring out the fragrant before starting the make the quick bread. I also substituted 1 cup of the plain flour n the recipe with wholemeal flour and reduced the sugar to half a cup.

While baking, I checked the bread at 50 mins and there were some crumbs sticking to the toothpick so I decided to bake for another 10 mins. A mistake because while the quick bread came out full of flavours and of dense and nice texture, it was a slightly on the dry side. On hindsight, I should have stopped the baking there and then since the crumbs were dry and not the sticky type.

I cut the quick bread into thin slices, wrapped them in alum foil before storing it in the fridge and had them for breakfast everyday for almost a week. And oh, cutting down the sugar by half was a good choice for me since I really like my bread to be of mild sweetness. The bread is nice on its own but I also tried it with thick spread of butter, with cheddar cheese (slightly toasted to melt the cheese) as well as with blueberry jam. My favourite is having it with cheese because I find the melted cheese added extra texture to the bread and the cheese flavour complemented the fruits & nuts well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

blueberry yogurt muffin 2

I was flipping through a recipe book titled The Delicious Cookbook by Matthew Drennan given to me by one of my colleague/friend and discovered a dog-earred page with raspberry muffins recipe. I must have intended to try out the recipe in the past.

I was immediately attracted to the recipe when I saw that for a total portion that will make 12 muffins, the recipe uses only 2 tablespoon of oil! Better still, the recipe also uses yogurt, which I like.

With 2 punnets of blueberries left in the fridge, I tried adapting the recipe to make blueberry muffin instead. This time round, I got slightly bolder and tried replacing some of the flour with wholemeal flour and since I am not exactly a very stick to the rules baker, I converted the metric (gram) in the original recipe into 'cup' in the recipe below that I used for these muffins.

Blueberry Yogurt Muffin

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp oil
3/4 cup natural yogurt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp honey (I added this bcoz the particular brand of yogurt I bought is very sour)
1 cup blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C. Line muffin tray with paper cups.
2. Sift all dry ingredients in a bowl, then make a well in the middle.
3. Put all wet ingredients in another bowl and whisk until mixed, pour into the well in the flour mixture. Mix together working from the center, blending the flour into the egg mixture a little at a time. Mix well.
4. Fold in the blueberries and mix lightly.
5. Bake in the oven for 20 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

The muffins came out beautifully. They were tasty, totally not oily and bcoz of the wholemeal flour, has a different texture from the blueberry yogurt muffin 1 (BYM1) that I tried few days ago. Surprising, with so little oil used, these muffins were actually quite moist, though not as moist as BYM1. BYM 1 has a very fluffy texture and is slightly more delicate in taste compared to BYM 2.

Which one do I prefer? If I have to choose, I think maybe BYM2 for breakfast and as regular bake since the recipe is definitely much more healthy and maybe BYM1 when I need a 'pamper myself' moments :).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

blueberry yogurt muffin 1

I bought 3 punnets of blueberries last Friday (way too many, I got carried away), getting ready to try out this blueberry muffin recipe I found on Gourmet Girl1's blog during the weekend. I was attracted to the simple steps and the low oil to flour ratio of the recipe.

I was keen too to try out the lovely small muffin paper cups I bought from Daiso recently. Surprisingly, the new relocated Daiso store at Plaza Singapura carries quite a range of baking materials.

Blueberry Yogurt Muffin (made 18 standard muffins)

3 cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups blueberries

1. Preheat oven at 175 degree C.
2. Sift all dry ingredients and set aside. Toss blueberries with 1 tbsp of flour an set aside.
3. Whisk all wet ingredients and mix well.
4. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix til just barely combined. Add blueberries and mix lightly. Do not over mix.
5. Top with baking sugar and bake for 20 mins.

I used 2/3 of the portion stated since it was my first try and I also cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup for the 2/3 portion. I skipped the sprinklering of sugar on top as well since I just wanted something basic for the muffin.

The muffins turned out to be really moist, soft and delicious. Both hubby and I found the sweetness just nice for our taste bud, so the reduction of sugar worked for us. And because the paper cups I used were smaller than standard size, I yielded many more small muffins. I brought about a third for my cousin's twin daughters when I met them later that day.

I love these blueberry muffins and I think I will definitely be making them again in near future.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

egg yolk sponge cake

While searching for the green tea tofu cake recipe, I came across this simple sponge cake recipe. Since I have not tried making sponge cake before, I thought it would be great to give it a try on last Sunday, just to satisfy my curiosity.

Egg Yolk Sponge Cake

3 egg yolks (I used room temperature eggs)
40g sugar
55g milk
66g flour

1. Mix sugar to egg yolks and beat until it turned white
2. Pour in approx. 35g milk and mix lightly
3. Sift in flour and mix well
4. Pour in remaining milk and mix lightly again
4. Pour into pan/mold and put into oven preheated at 180 degree C for approx. 20 mins, or til toothpicks came out clean.

I decided to use the teddy bear mold again since sponge cake brings back childhood memory for me. There was some leftover portion after filling the teddy bear mold, hence I pour the remaining batter into 2 more cupcake paper molds.

The sponge cakes were full of egg fragrant, tasty, firm yet have a slight fluffiness in them. Best of all, they have a slightly crunchy exterior, which I like.

I read in a recipe book before that sponge cake does not keep well and should be served/consumed on the day it was made. We didn't finish them all at one go, so I had them for breakfast the next day. True enough, the cakes turned slightly flat but it was quickly resolved by heating them up in the toaster for 5 mins. This mere act kind of 'revived' the cakes and they regained the crunchy on the exterior yet firm/fluffy on the interior texture and they were just as tasty as the day before.

green tea tofu cake

Ever since I tasted the green tea tofu cake that a colleague's gf brought to our house during a dinner session, which she bought from a downtown Japanese bakery, I have always wondered whether that can be made at home easily.

Last week, after searching for a few nights online, I concluded that either there aren't many fans of this cake in the English language websites or the cake is really hard to make bcoz I only manage to come across 1 recipe. I decided to try to make it last Saturday, since my brother and his gf were coming over to spend the weekend at our place.

Green Tea Tofu Cake (adapted from Green Tea Today)


2 1/2tsp green tea powder

1 cup tofu (soft)

1 egg

3 tbsp butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup pancake mix


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Sift together pancake mix and green tea powder. Set aside.

3. Drain water from the tofu package.

4. In a bowl, whip tofu until smooth with a blender or food processor.

5. Beat in egg, butter and sugar.

6. Add the flour mixture (pancake mix and green tea powder), mix thoroughly.

7. Pour batter into a loaf pan, and bake about 30min.

For the tofu, I used normal silken tofu (for steaming) available at local supermarket. The cake tasted moist, supple and quite fragrant but the texture was slightly on the dense side and more pancake-like (which is understandable since pancake mixture was used). The bakery bought version was much lighter and more fluffy. So while the 4 of us finished the whole cake, I still prefer the lighter and fluffier version.

So that night, I tried searching on Chinese language websites instead and found a couple of different versions. Maybe I will give them a try in future.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

fruit pastry cake

I came across HHB's blog few weeks ago while searching for cake recipe with fruits and fell in love with her beautiful fruit pastry cake. I made up my mind that I will definitely try out the recipe.

On last Friday night, I finally got the chance to go and buy all the necessary ingredients. I made the batter using 2/3 portion of her recipe and decided to test out my newly bought teddy bear mold. Since the leftover of the portion would be too small to make a decent cake on my 8-inch pan, I decided to go back to my trusted muffin tray and made 6 cup cakes.

The result was definitely satisfying. The teddy bear cakes came out cute (they were done in 20 mins) and the 'muffin' cake took approx 5 mins longer. The cakes tasted soft, moist and I found them to be quite similar to 'kuih bahulu' texture. I am not too sure whether it was due to the use of cake flour instead of plain flour as stated in original recipe, but I like it.

I took some of the cakes for my colleague's son the next day and the boy finished them at one go. She has since asked me for the recipe :). I also gave some to another colleague's daughter when they drop by my place in the evening.

There were still some leftover fruits from Friday so I decided to make another cake today since my husband didn't get a chance to eat. This time round, again I used 2/3 portion but put everything into an 8-inch cake pan. The cake took me 45 mins before the toothpick came out clean. I covered the cake with aluminium foil for the last 10 mins since I was worried that the surface may turn too brown when I tested it at 35 mins.

My husband liked it too and the 2 of us finished half the cake at one go. This is definitely one recipe to keep.

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