Sunday, August 10, 2014

Castella (Kasutera) Cake

Because it's National Day weekend, I feel extremely festive. It's kind of weird because I'm no longer schooling and so we don't really hold celebrations for National Day.. But it's just feels so holiday-like.

So anyways, this cake needs to rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours after baking, in order to retain its moisture. At least that's what the recipes I've read on this say. So, I actually made this yesterday and patiently let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

I was actually worried about the cake sinking because the author of the recipe I followed said it could be an issue. Thankfully, the cakes rose perfectly, and didn't sink. The crust was wrinkly, but I can totally live with that. ;)

I usually reduce the amount of sugar in recipes by at least a quarter (because as I age, my taste buds don't quite take to overly sweet desserts. But in this case, I followed the recipe to the tee. Simply because I wanted to be sure that if it flopped, it's because I have bad techniques, and not because I decided to play around with the recipe.

I'm really thankful that I own a kitchenaid mixer, because the instructions were super specific as to the speed I'm which I should mix the ingredients at each step. Happy!

I love my mixer

I would love to make this again, but maybe with a matcha spin the next time. I saw a recipe for Castella with Matcha Swirls! A matcha Castella sounds delicious too, but Mom & Dad don't like Matcha cakes. So, I got to weigh the pros and cons here! Or maybe.... An orange spin to it. They love orange cakes. Hmm!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Red Bean Pancakes 豆沙锅饼

Happy National Day, Singapore!

Although this ain't a Singaporean dish, I wanted to make it because I wanted to use up the red bean paste that I made a few weeks back. And what better way, than to make some red bean pancake?

So I found this recipe that claims its the "easy version" of the traditional shanghainese snack.

I learnt a few things from this simplified recipe...
1) Not to use grape seed oil in place of normal vegetable oil.. It leaves a strange after-taste.
2) Just because the recipe says "cook half of the pancake batter", it doesn't mean you have to follow it to the tee. The recipe didn't state the size of the pan to use. And when I cooked half of the batter, the pancake turned out rather thick.  For westernized pancakes, that's something good. But for our purposes here, the aim is to get a THIN layer of batter.

So that's my 200ml of batter. I cooked 100ml in (what is in my opinion) a medium sized flat bottomed pan. And got 2 thick pancakes.
In fact my pancake was too small to wrap around the 10x15cm red bean paste rectangles. So I just sandwiched one red bean paste in the middle. *laughs*

It looked rather decent, methinks. But I really could have done with a thinner pancake. :)
I mean, the ratio of pancake to red bean paste looks like 2:1. That's not right! ^^

Well, I'm going to make this again. The next time, I will use canola oil. And make thinner pancakes. Hopefully it would look like the real thing the next time!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Science of the Best Chocolate Cookies and Skinny Double Chocolate Muffins

So I've been wanting to make cookies again, but I was always too lazy to whip out the mixer and chop chocolate blocks into chocolate chunks.

But because my chocolate was about to expire, it is TIME!!

So, thankfully I found this recipe at Serious Eats. It turned out great (I LOVE soft cookies). I didn't change the recipe at all, except to replace  170g of the butter with margarine, and the rest with shortening).

The only problem was that Cyn said that there was an after-taste on the tongue. And I can't figure out why. :(
XY said it was nice tho. (I think she'll love anything with good chocolate in it. haha)

I've also been wanting to make these Skinny Double Chocolate Muffins. And since the yogurt I specially bought to make these were also going to expire in another week (laughs, I'm such a procrastinator), I decided to make it!

It was surprisingly good. Cyn actually said she preferred these to brownies, despite it having less chocolate and fat! :)  
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