Yam Layered Cream Cake

After baking cookies and other CNY related goodies, time to start on my cake baking again. It'll be my mum's chinese birthday on this coming Tuesday. We usually celebrate in advance when we have the opportunity. This time, I made Yam Layered Cream Cake for her. As I don't know how I should decorate the cake, I just made my own "lace" design. I also added some violet colouring to give it a nice violet colour, although I would have love to leave it plain (grey). Somehow, I love the final design of the cake, though it could have been better.

Happy Birthday to my dearest mummy!

Update on 1 Feb 09:

You can make reference to Jo's Deli on the Yam Cream Cake. I baked the cake from Delicious Cake, while reference the cream to Jo's Deli.

I have also updated the recipe for French and Flourless Cake. Do try it!

What to do with left over egg whites??

After a few rounds of Kueh Lapis baking, pineapple tarts' dough making, what does one do with the leftover egg whites? I've been doing lots of research over the net, trying to find recipes that enables me to use up my left over egg whites. Before I update you on what I did, here are some information/recipe which I found which may interest you too!

1) What to do with left over egg whites & tips for storing from Gourmet Sleuth.

2) Egg White Cheese Cupcakes from Yochana which I had done previously.

3) Egg White Cake from Nami-Nami.

4) Coconut Financiere from Egg Beater.

5) Financiers from Joy of Baking.

6) Dark Chocolate Financiers from Tartelette.

7) Egg White Brownie from Zu's Kitchen.

After going through all the recipes, I finally settled on Egg White Brownie. I had baked it to bring over to my brother-in-law house this Saturday. Hopefully it will still taste fresh on Saturday. :)

Updated on 31 Jan 09:
I've missed out one recipe which I have tried previously. It is actually steamed egg whites which I have adopted from Angie's Recipes.

This is the cross section of the Egg White Brownie. It's really soft and chocolatey. It's really worth to try!

Thank You, Daniel!

Cream with pink dots, cream with brown dots, brown, light brown, dark brown & pink!
I'm a very happy glutton today! Guess what? Thanks to Daniel Tay, I received a letter from Bakerzin last week for me to collect my FREE set of six macarons as a member! Wow! I was elated!

I have always been a big fan of macarons. Even though I've only succeed in baking once, I cannot forget macarons. I had also hesitated to try again after a couple of failed attempts. So today, being the first day of the collection period, I've decided that after I've collected my macarons, I shall consume them all by myself! Without hesitation, I stomached them all even though my eldest boy asked for it! Heehee... For once, I'm selfish... :p

Since I've finished all the delicious, tempting, beautiful macarons, I shall do a little advertisement for them. For the month of February, they are offering each macaron at S$1nett (U.P. $1.50). So if you have cravings like me, do drop by Bakerzin to get a macaron to satisfy the craving!

So you think you can bake? Part 2

Previously, I have posted the Part 1 on this blog. Here is the Part 2. Attempt it to see if you know enough of baking. I've got 7/10, which means, I still need to brush up. What about you?

So you think you can bake?
1. Ganache is:
a. A French pastry
b. A mixture of chocolate, cream, and sometimes butter
c. An egg-rich French custard
d. A method for entraining air into cake and dessert batters to make them lighter

2. Some heritage yeast bread recipes called for a tablespoon of lemon juice. It’s purpose was to:
a. Create tangy, fresh taste in the bread
b. React with the baking soda to create additional volume in the loaves
c. Lower the pH making the dough slightly acidic and thus enhance the growth of yeast
d. Help brown the bread

3. Graham flour is:
a. Whole wheat flour with the bran removed
b. Whole wheat flour with the bran finely ground
c. Whole wheat flour with finely ground barley added
d. All of the above

4. Self rising flour is wheat flour that:
a. Is enriched with nutrients
b. Has salt added
c. Has baking powder added
d. All of the above

5. When making meringues, the following is true:
a. A little fat such as egg yolk or butter will make the meringue fail
b. Egg whites will foam better at room temperature
c. A mild acid such as a little lemon juice or cream of tartar will help foaming
d. All of the above

6. Which of the following will help avoid soggy bottom crusts in fruit pies:
a. Using a silver or light color pan to reflect the heat away from the crust.
b. Baking the pie high in the oven to allow the air to circulate beneath the pie.
c. Pouring the fruit filling into the pie shell while it is still hot.
d. None of the above.

7. A sponge cake:
a. Is made with egg whites and no yolks
b. Is made with whole eggs.
c. Relies on baking powder for leavening.
d. Relies on shortening for a tenderizer.

8. The following may make cookies hard:
a. Too much flour or flour measured improperly
b. Not enough liquid
c. Not enough shortening
d. All of the above

9. Sugar in cookies may affect:
a. How much they spread
b. How quickly they brown
c. How they stick to pans
d. All of the above

10. Which leaving agent is typically used with buttermilk:
a. Baking soda
b. Baking powder
c. Cream of tartar
d. Yeast

1. The answer is “b”. Ganache (pronounced “gah nahsh”) is a rich chocolate cream used as filling, a dessert sauce, or a glaze on cakes.

2. The answer is “c”. Yeast works best in a slightly acidic environment. Most good dough conditioners provide this in modern breads.

3. The answer is “b”. Rather than regulate how fine the bran should be ground, the FDA allows any whole wheat flour to be called graham flour.

4. The answer is “d”. Self rising flour is white flour that has salt and baking powder added. The federal government requires that nutrients be added to all refined white flour. We have never seen whole wheat flour that is self rising.

5. The answer is “d”. All are true.

6. The answer is “d”. The opposites are true. A dark pan absorbs heat and helps bake the crusts. A pie baked lower in the oven is closer to the element and will bake the crust more effectively. Hot fillings tend to make pies soggy. Allow the filling to cool.

7. The answer is “b”. Angel food cakes are made with egg whites alone while sponge cakes are made with both whites and yolks. Air entrained in the eggs provides the leavening, not baking powder. Little or no shortening is used.

8. The answer is “d”.

9. The answer is “d”. Sugar melts in the oven and may increase spread. Sugar caramelizes and turns brown. When melted sugar sets, it can stick to the pan and make removal of cookies difficult. It is often advisable to remove cookies before the sugar sets.

10. The answer is “a”. Buttermilk is an acid that reacts with baking soda, an alkaline. While many recipes call for baking powder in addition to baking soda, the baking powder is intended for additional leavening. Baking powder contains both an acid and alkaline. Cream of tartar is an acid. Buttermilk added to yeast breads provides flavor but does not react with the yeast although it does lower the pH of the dough which is favorable to the yeast.

Score 8 to 10 right: Yes, you can bake.
Score 5 to 7 right: Yes, you can bake but you may want to brush up on the techniques and science of baking to be even better. Consider downloading and reading the free publications, "How to Bake" and "Ingredients and How They Work".
Score less than 5 right: Don't give up--chances are you can still bake--but check out the e-books and other resources in our free bakers' library.


On my previous post on Catching Up, I did not indicate where I got the recipes from due to my "urgency" to post up my activities. Now is the time to "give credit when credit is due!" ;)

1. Kueh Makmur: Recipe from Violet Oon's website. As I didn't want to buy any Ghee that moment, I tried a recipe without using any ghee. The result was, it's not as fragrant as those using ghee. I probably baked too long, the crust as a bit too hard. The next recipe I want to try will be from Honey Bee Sweets.

2. Pineapple Tarts: The crust recipe was shared by a colleague. So I can't post them here. However, I did try the recipe from Pineapple Tarts Blog. The dough is very very wet, but very nice as it's melt-in-the-mouth kind.

3. Valrhona Triple Chewy Chocolate Cookies: This is what I renamed it from Eat and Be Happy's blog. As I used Valrhona cocoa powder, I gave "credit" to Valrhona. These cookies have become my children's favourite. They have been bugging me to eat these after I baked. I had to reject them most of the time as it was used as a complimentary gift to my "customers". Finally, all cookies delivered, there were quite a number of cookies left, and they were free to consume them all!

4. Cookies for Sales. The cookies I baked for sales included Almond Cookies, Chocolate Almond Cookies and Spicy Dried Shrimps Cookies. Almond cookies' were modified from my baking school recipe, therefore, I shall not post up the recipe here.

The Chocolate Almond Cookies were extracted from Fenying's Blog. I felt in love with this cookies the more I eat! The difficulties is in cutting the dough. It has to be harden before you can slice it nicely. I sliced them too thin sometimes it just broke!

The Spicy Dried Shrimps Cookies were modified from Daily Delicious. The additional of chilli flakes made it taste like "hay bee hian". It's actually very tasty. I thought it will be good to have savoury cookies since almost all cookies are sweet.

Finally, these were my last CNY bake for my family.

Catching up...

My posts are so outdated now! It's time to catch up on what I have baked lately. I have been baking CNY cookies to fulfill orders, so busy I really don't have the time to do any postings! :p So this is the time to catch up and update now.

Tried my hand at Kueh Makmur. I thought it was quite okay, but most of them said "Not Nice". I'll leave it at that comment.

Made these pineapple tarts for my family. They loved them very much and can't stop at one. One more compliment for me. :)

Baked these Valrhona Triple Chewy Chocolate Cookies
as free gifts to my "customers". Some has no comments, but my children simply love them!

Baked my Kueh Lapis after I've finished baking my cookies to fulfill orders. A must have for my CNY. ;)

Finally, the cookies that I am selling and the goodies that I give. From left to right: Valrhona Triple Chewy Chocolate Cookie as goodie, Almond Cookies, Spicy Dried Shrimps Cookies, Chocolate Almond Cookie and Round Pineapple Tart as goodie.

Lastly, here's wishing everyone

On the morning of Sunday...

This morning, I woke up pretty early. For the past few days, I had been baking cookies, cookies and more cookies. Playing with doughs, doughs and more doughs. I didn't bake any cakes. I had one tub of egg whites in the fridge, screaming for my attention, wanting me to use them. I was very tempted to try macarons since my several attempts were a flop! However, it's the "cookies" category again.

Without hesitation, I recalled having Yochana's Egg White Cheese Cupcakes recipe. So I fulfilled the wish of the "screaming" egg whites and used some of them to bake the cupcakes. As I didn't filled up the whole cup, it sort of "shrank" after it was baked. However, it smelled and tasted great! I baked quite a lot of them as each turned out to be small. :p

Saturday Bakes

It's Saturday again. Lately, I seemed to be baking "dough" related food. Cookies, quiches & tarts! These were what I did for Saturday!

1. Almond Cheese Tart
This recipe was extracted from Kitchen Corner. It looked really good. Unfortunately, I didn't do it well. Firstly, for the blending of the dough, instead of "bread crumbs like", mine were "watery". I added so much more flour to it. And when I blind baked it, it shrunk! When I saw that the crust was still usable, I proceed to make the cream cheese. Then I decided to halve the recipe. But ended up by puttin more cream cheese but less sugar & everything. I proceed to bake the tart. It turned out very beautiful physically. Unfortunately, it was tasteless! Crust was bland, cheese was bland. Neither sweet nor sour. Aiyoyo... it was a failure from the start! :p

2. Quiches
I made bacon, broccoli & mushrooms quiches for lunch. I used the crust from Rei's blog. It was really crispy and nice.

3. Valrhona Double Chocolate Chips Cookies
I tweaked the recipe a little from Joy of Baking. Instead of adding white chocolate chips, I added dark chocolate chips. As I've never been a fan of white chocolates, it was quite difficult to find it in my inventory. I baked this because my son kept asking me to bake "Subway" cookies. He likes this cookies that I had baked.

Baking Cookies

For the past one week, I have been trying out, baking cookies non-stop, almost every day. Had been so busy baking, I didn't have the time to update my post. These were the bakes I tried for CNY.

Assorted Cookies including Almond, Chocolate Almond & Pineapple Tarts.

Green Peas Cookies.
Recipe extracted from KC Forum. However, it doesn't melt in the mouth, and has no green peas taste. :(

Dried Shrimps Cookies. This is a savour cookie. Very nice actually. With so many sweet cookies around, good to have a savoury variety!

Another version of my pineapple tarts.

I varied the dried shrimps cookies to include some chilli flakes and called it Spicy Dried Shrimps Cookies.

French and Flourless

Happy Birthday to my dear sister!

It was my elder sister's birthday today. I asked her what kind of cake she would like me to bake for her. As usual, her request was: flourless, chocolate & hazelnut. I've known that she doesn't like cakes, cakes using flour. However, she has an acquired taste for good quality chocolate, especially dark chocolates. And she loves hazelnut. Having baked an almond torte before (for my youngest sister), which was flourless, I didn't think I wanted to bake the same cake for her. Knowing what her taste is like, it got me a bit stressed!

I rumbled through all my recipe books, looking for hazelnut tortes. Somehow, I didn't find many recipes. Since I bought the gorgeous cakes book, I've not tried any recipe from there. I happened to come across this recipe called "French and Flourless". That does sounds good. So I decided to give it a try, hopefully it will turn out good!

The baking process was smooth. However, the shocking part was after the cake has cooled down. It was really crappy, and crumbly and looked like every corner was falling apart! Hahaha... The cake sank so badly in the centre! The cake was baked without flour. I also didn't dare to risk adding ground hazelnuts into the batter. So I topped the cake with the toasted ground hazelnuts instead. Luckily I made a decision to do that because the top was simply UGLY! Heehee...

This was how the cake looked like during & after baking.

Fortunately, very fortunately, I used good quality chocolate: Ghiradeli's 66% Dark Chocolate. I knew she will appreciate that, so I used them. Therefore, the overall taste was really very good! My family all loved the cake very much! She loved it too! I'm so glad my first experience with this recipe was good. Shall try other recipe from this book again!

Updated on 1 Feb 09:
French and Flourless (from Gorgorous Cakes)


(makes 1 x 20cm cake)
250g Unsalted butter, diced
250g Dark chocolate, (approx. 50% cocoa solides), broken into pieces
5 Medium eggs, separated
220g Golden caster sugar* (can be reduced by another 40-50%)

1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pan with a little simmering water in it, stirring occasionally.
2. At the same, whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar for several minutes until pale and doubled in volume.
3. You can do this in a food processor, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually whisk in the remaining sugar, whisking for about 20 secs for each addition. Whisk till stiff peak.
5. Fold the chocolate and butter into the egg mixture, then the egg whites, in two goes.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared buttered & lined 20cm cake tin 9cm deep with a removable base.
7. Bake for 50-60mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging.
8. Run a knife around the edge and leave it to cool in the tine, when it will sink.
9. Its craggy appearance is all part of its charm, but if parts of the sides are very high, then simple break a little off to level them.

I just topped the cake with ground hazelnuts to cover the crappy appearance.

The original sugar used was 250g. I reduced to 220g. However, due to the sweetness of the cake, the good quality bitter chocolate was masked by the sugar. Therefore, after discussion with my sister, we decided that in order get the real chocolate taste, the sugar should be reduced by half. Then the taste will be similar to the Almond Torte, but much better!