Monthly Archives: June 2014

Mrs Ng SK’s Vanilla Butter Cake

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Say “butter cake” and the first thing I think of would be my wedding cake. It was the most delicious cake without being overly biased. Now, how do you go about baking a cake that has set the bar up so high? Well, it was not easy. The first thing to overcome was hesitation. I hesitated for the longest time to attempt on it. I have never baked a butter cake. It sounds very simple but I was afraid. Afraid that I would be disappointed with my efforts, especially if it turned out to be not anywhere near this wonderful cake in our memories. Of course, in the end, curiosity overcame hesitation. You see, in Malaysia and Singapore, there is a butter cake recipe circulating among baking aficionados. It is rumored to be foolproof (nearly!) and yields the most amazing results. And we know, for bakers, a good recipe is part of the road to successful baking. Well, in my opinion, at least!

I had a chat with my mom about it too. And told her about this recipe. As it turns out, it is a similar recipe from a book that she has. A very old book, that is. However, to keep it fair to the lady who revived it, thanks to the gracious sharing of her friend, I will still refer it as the “Mrs Ng SK’s Vanilla Butter Cake”. I took two attempts to get it right. The first was not so good as it had a dark line at the bottom of the cake. I asked around what could have gone wrong. The answers were (1) butter melted (2) too narrow a pan that expansion was hindered. I had used a loaf pan for the first attempt and a 23cm round pan for the second attempt. Based on that, I would say if you do not have a square pan just substitute with a round pan that has a near similar surface area. However, I will try using the load pan again just to make sure theory (2) has basis when I have extra time somewhere in the future 🙂

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The above picture shows my first attempt. As you can see, it has a dark coloring to it at the bottom of the slices.
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This is my second attempt. Perfect.

Here is the recipe as adapted from Wendy. The original recipe can be accessed here.

Ingredients
250g salted butter, at room temperature (Softened so you can beat it easily but not melting)200g eggs, weighed without shells (This should be 4 medium-sized eggs or Grade B)
50g & 150g sugar (weighed separately)
200g self-raising flour, sifted
60ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
1. Line and grease a 8inch/20cm square pan with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Separate the eggs, making sure no yolk residue is in the egg whites. In a clean medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites till soft peaks form (when the egg whites begin to hold shape for a second or two before merging back with the rest). Sprinkle in 50g of sugar gradually, beating the egg whites as you add. Beat until stiff peak forms. (when the egg whites hold its shape and the egg whites on the whisk are standing up when you overturn the whisk). Set aside.
3. In a different bowl, cream butter and sugar until pale and light. That should take about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated. Add in the egg yolks one by one, beating well after every addition.
4. Incorporate half of the flour with mixer on low-speed. Mix well before adding the milk in 2 additions. Beat well each time. Add in the rest of the flour and incorporate well.
5. Gradually fold in the egg whites, in 2 additions.
6. Pour batter into the pan.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Adjust accordingly if you are using a pan of different size. If the surface browns too soon, cover it with foil or lower the temperature in the last 15-20 minutes.
8. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling it completely on a cooling rack.

I am still considering about getting a set of square pans. I have been admiring at some. Hopefully, our household space and budget will allow me to acquire some soon! Meanwhile, happy baking!

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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I was bumming around the World Wide Web one day and saw someone sharing her batch of fresh out of the oven cookies. Drooling, I asked her to share the recipe which she had happily obliged.

It is a recipe by David Lebovitz but shared by a blogger. You can read about it here Of course, for the real deal, get Mr Lebovitz’s book Room for Dessert to refer to.

The main reason I was attracted to these cookies was that it is a dark colored chocolate chip cookie. That means chocolate or cocoa is used for the cookie dough too. That means it will be mega chocolate-y and therefore mega yummy! Whoop!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I made some changes to the recipe posted by The Pastry Chef. I am not sure how to put this. I hope I do both justice by saying that the following recipe has been adapted from David Lebovitz, courtesy of the Pastry Chef.

Ingredients
453g/1 pound dark chocolate, broken into small pieces (I used Ritter Sport 73%)
56.7g/4 tablespoons/0.5 stick butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and deskinned
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups chocolate chips

Method

1. Line baking sheets with baking paper and preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a double-boiler or a heat-proof bowl in a pan wide enough to fit the bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over lightly simmering water. Stir occasionally. When melted, remove from heat.
3. Roughly chop the hazelnuts. (You can also do that while waiting for the chocolate and butter to melt)
4. Using a stand mixer, whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla extract at high speed. Whip until you get to the ribbon stage. You will know this when you lift the whisk and the batter flows slowly to form a ribbon and hold its shape for a moment. Turn down the speed to low and mix in the melted butter and chocolate mixture.
5. Combine flour and baking powder in another bowl before adding it into the batter. Followed by the nuts and chocolate chips. Scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Allow for two heaping tablespoons per cookie and space of roughly 2cm or 1 inch between cookies. When spooning the batter, pat the batter down a bit as the cookies do not change much in shape. Bake for roughly 9 minutes, rotating the sheets mid-time. Once done, remove cookies and let them sit for some minutes before transferring to cooling rack. The centre should be soft and will harden once fully cooled.  Store in airtight container once hardened and cooled.

Happy Cookie-ing, folks! For me, it was the best chocolate chocolate chip cookie I ever had.

Peach Upside Down Cake

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What would you do if you have some early harvest peaches on hand? I am not very good with seasons and had ended up with very fragrant peaches that were eye-squinting sour. They were juicy ripe too. I could not eat them and faced with the possibility of chucking them in the bin or making something out of them. A earlier me would have chucked them away, most likely. Scoured the internet I did. And came across this recipe here that uses nectarines. Obviously, subsituting with other stone fruits is very possible. In short, that day, a young boy woke up from his nap to a house smelling of caramel and a very yummy tea. I apologise for the not so sharp photo. I have a very excited bub who was whooping up and down, asking me to hurry up. As I have not changed anything in the recipe (except using peaches instead of nectarines), do click on the link above if you would like to give it a try 🙂

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