Wholemeal Vanilla Butter Buns

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My spouse was down with stomach flu for a whole week. His fever refused to subside, fluctuated more than the share market. So finally, I decided to take a day off from work today and took care of his needs. I also took this opportunity to bake bread for breakfast tomorrow. I haven't baked breads for almost half a year! I was getting desperate now.

I decided to try Sonia's Micro butter buns (Wei Bo buns) 微波面包. It looked so shinning good and I can't resist it. Her instructions were also very clear and easy. I adapted from hers and the originator. Here is my version - Wholemeal Vanilla Butter Buns.
Recipe for Wholemeal Vanilla Butter Buns, adapted from Sonia & SiewHwei's Kitchen.
Makes 23 buns

400g Bread flour
6g Instant yeast
115g eggs ( 2 A size eggs)
120g milk
2 tsps Vanilla extract (homemade)
(I totalled the liquid to 135g = eggs + milk + vanilla extract)

130g Wholemeal flour
80g Brown sugar
1/4 tsp Fine salt
50g water
60g LIV unsalted butter, room temperature

Egg wash-1 egg + 1tbsp milk


1. Mix all ingredients (A) in a mixing bowl and knead to form a dough.
2. Cover with cling wrap or cloth, and leave to prove until double size (I left it for 1 hour).
3. Add in ingredients (B) in a mixing bowl, tear dough (A) into small pieces and add into mixing bowl. Knead to form a smooth dough. (I accidentally threw in everything including butter, and it works too!)
4. Add in butter continue to knead till dough is smooth and elastic.
5. Divide the dough into 40g each, roll into ball, repeat the rest till finished.
6. Take a ball (start from the first ball), roll out into long rectangle shape, then roll in tightly like a swiss roll, keep aside to rest, repeat the rest till finished.
7. Take a swiss roll dough (start from the first swiss roll dough), roll out into long rectangle shape, then roll in tightly like a swiss roll.
8. Arrange the doughs into a baking tray, leave to prove for 50mins.
    9. Brush with egg wash, bake at a pre-heated oven at 170C for 13-15mins or until golden brown.

    Red Velvet Ombre Cake

    My younger sister turned 40 years old last month. She decided to have a birthday bash for family members and some very close friends. She requested for a birthday cake which can serve up to 30 people. We discussed for quite a while, and I couldn't think of any good cake which I baked, that can serve her guests. Most of the cakes were meant for "internal" consumption. I baked my mum's 70th birthday cake, but decided the size was too big for her guests. Furthermore, she wasn't a big fan of blackforest cake. My initial proposal was to bake Tiramisu, since her birthday lunch was to be held in an Italian restaurant. Then I changed my mind because I didn't have most of the ingredients.

    Finally, two days before her birthday party, I decided to bake her a (surprise) Red Velvet Cake. I know she loves my Red Velvet Cake and Chocolate Cupcakes. Instead of just frosting it normally, I decided to make an ombre rose frosting for her.

    "Ombre refers to colors that blend into each other, often from dark to light." - Kind Arthur Flour. I'm very often awe by beautiful colours of ombre cakes and rainbow cakes. I've finally pick up the courage to try this ombre frosting. The Red Velvet Cake turned out to be really good. Her guests were very impressed with the beautiful frosting, and the great tasting cake I made. My sister was also very pleased and delighted. I was so happy to have made the right last minute decision.
    Recipe for Red Velvet Ombre Cake, recreated from Joy of Baking and previous post.
    Makes a 4-layered 9" round cake 

    Red Velvet Cake
    500g Cake flour, sifted
    1 tsp Fine salt 

    30g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    227g Liv unsalted butter, at room temperature
    280g Caster sugar
    4 large Eggs
    2 tsps Vanilla extract
    480g Buttermilk (480g whole milk + 2 tsps fresh lemon juice)
    2 tsp Liquid red food coloring
    2 tsp White distilled vinegar
    2 tsp Baking soda


  1. Grease two 9" round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. In bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  5. In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
  6. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. 
  7. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. 
  8. Bake in the preheated fan oven of 160C for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. 
  9. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight).

  10. Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Martha Stewart)
    750g Cream Cheese
    500g Liv unsalted Butter, softened
    210g Icing sugar, sifted
    3 tsp Vanilla extract

    1. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
    2. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, in three batches, then add vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth again.

    To assemble:

    1. Slice both the cakes into 2 layers, making a total of 4 layers.
    2. Place one layer on the cake board, spread with cream cheese frosting.
    3. Repeat for 2nd, 3rd and 4th layer.
    4. Then crumb coat the whole cake, ie. frost the cake all over with cream cheese frosting.
    5. cake_RVOC01
    6. Refrigerate it for at least 30mins.
    7. Meanwhile, take about 100g (or 120g) of the cream cheese, mix with your desired colour. In my case, it's pink. I used a toothpick, insert into my Wilton gel colour lightly, then stir it into my bowl of cream cheese.
    8. Using a nozzle tip #21, pipe a flower at the side of the cake, starting at the bottom. Filling up gaps as you piped.
    9. cake_RVOC02
    10. When completed 1st layer, with the remaining cream cheese, add in slightly more colour, adding more cream cheese as desired.
    11. Continue piping the second layer.
    12. Repeat #8 & #9 for the 3rd layer flowers.
    13. Then using the remaining colour of the cream cheese, add in more cream cheese, and add in red colour. Mix well.
    14. Using nozzle #1M. Pipe roses all round the top. Filling up gaps as you go.
    15. cake_RVOC03
    16. Chill it before serving.
    cake_RVOC04 cake_RVOC06
    I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #40: Rainbow and Ombre Party! (March 2014) hosted by Cynthia of The Baking Biatch.

    Lavender Chiffon Cake

    Still on my chiffon baking frenzy, I decided on a nice flavour - Lavender. Lavender was very mild and a very subtle zesty taste from the lemon zest. I like the flavour very much, not too overwhelmed. If too much lavender, then it might seemed like lotion taste. Try this, I'm sure you'll like it too.
    Recipe for Lavender Chiffon Cake
    (Makes a 8" tube pan)

    5 Egg yolks
    20g Caster sugar
    90g Whole milk
    50g Cooking oil
    1/4tsp Salt
    1 tsp Dried Lavender
    Zest from one Lemon
    120g Self-raising flour

    5 Egg whites
    70 Caster sugar
    1 tsp Corn flour


    1. In a heatproof bowl, microwave dried lavender with milk for about 20secs at high heat. This is to bring out the fragrance of the lavender. Leave aside.
    2. Mix egg yolks with sugar till light yellow.
    3. Add in salt, lavender with milk and cooking oil. Mix well.
    4. Sift in self-raising flour and mix well.
    5. In a separate clean bowl, beat egg whites till foamy.
    6. Mix in corn flour into caster sugar. Gradually add in the sugar into the egg whites till soft peaks.
    7. Take one-third of the egg whites and fold into the egg yolk batter.
    8. Continue to fold in the egg whites into the egg yolk batter in two batches.
    9. Pour the batter into the prepared tube pan. Bang it hard onto the table top.
    10. Bake at preheated oven of 180C for 45mins.
    11. Remove from the oven and invert the cake until completely cooled.
    12. Cut and served. Can be served chilled.
    chiffon_lavender01 chiffon_lavender04

    Coconut Chiffon Cake

    Having made a Cocoa Marble Chiffon Cake from this book - 戚风蛋糕零失败by曾美子, I decided to try another recipe from here. I concluded after I tried the Coconut Chiffon Cake that her recipe produced chiffon cakes that are a bit "kueh-like" texture, which I don't really like. I have to admit that for both her recipe, I overbeated the egg whites a little. Comparing her recipe to the rest of the chiffons I have tried, I found that the liquid content was a bit too high, eg. vegetable oil 80g vs 40g, overall liquid was 170g (excluding egg yolks) to 150g. Therefore, I will give this recipe book a miss for good. However, you may try it and see if you agree with me, or perhaps you can produce a better chiffon than I do. :p
    Recipe for Coconut Chiffon Cake, adapted from 戚风蛋糕零失败by曾美子.
    (Makes a 8" tube pan)
    A -5 Egg yolks, 40g Caster sugar
    B - 90g Coconut cream, 80g Vegetable oil
    C - 6 Egg whites, 70g Caster sugar, Pinch of salt
    D - 80g Top flour, 3g Baking powder, 30g Dessicated coconut (or 40g Coconut powder)


    1. Beat ingredients A until light yellow.
    2. Place ingredients B in a bowl and placed into another bowl of hot water to heat up till 38C. I heat them up in microwave oven for about 10secs to warm it up.
    3. Slowly pour into ingredients A and mix well.
    4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with salt. Then slowly add in caster sugar in three batches until stiff peak.
    5. Sift ingredients D two to three times.
    6. Mix ingredients C and D alternatively into ingredients A - Egg whites, flour, egg whites, flour and egg whites.
    chiffon_coconut03 chiffon_coconut04
    7. Pour the batter into the prepared tube pan.
    8. Bang the tube pan on the table top to remove any big bubbles.
    9. Bake it into preheat fan oven of 180C for 45mins.
    10. Overturn the pan and let it cool completely before removing it.

    Chicken Pie

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    I like to eat chicken pies. However, to make a good wholesome pie, it takes too much time to bake for myself. My children are temperamental, sometimes they eat a lot, sometimes they don't like. It's so difficult to please them. Anyway, when I invited my parents and sister with her family for dinner, I decided to make just chicken pies. Initially, I wanted to order pizza home delivery. However, on second thoughts, I decided to bake instead, since I have the time to do so. I've made many chicken pies over the years. Usually, they are made by estimation. However, I decided to include recipe in this post. The pie crust which I used - The Pie and Pastry Bible was really flaky and crispy. (I used the leftover dough to make egg tarts). It was so good my dad decided to bring back some after the dinner. I made two trays, just enough for 11 persons.
    Recipe for Chicken Pies
    (Makes 2 large trays)

    Basic Flaky Pie Crust, adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Berandaum
    (Makes a 9" deep dish, or 12-14" free from tart)
    (Make 2 recipes for the chicken fillings below)

    128g LIV Salted butter (if use unsalted, add 1/4tsp salt), cold & cubed
    214g Plain flour
    7g Distilled vinegar (or cider vinegar)
    52-66g Ice water
    1/8tsp Baking powder (optional. I didn't add this)


    1. Place flour, salt and optional baking powder in a medium bowl, and whisk to combine.
    2. Add butter and use a pastry cutter to to mix them  until resembles coarse meal.
    3. Add the vinegar, followed by some ice water. Mix well with spatula. Then gently use your fingertips to mix them together. Add more water if necessary. Do not add all the water at once. I used only 50g ice water.
    4. Refrigerate for at least 45mins, preferably overnight.
    Chicken Fillings
    (Up to your preference)

    400g Chicken fillet, cut into cubes
    150g Button mushrooms, sliced
    250g Mixed vegetables
    5 medium sized Potatoes, cubed
    1 large Onions, sliced (I forgot to add this!)
    3 tbsp Olive oil
    3 cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
    2 sprigs Fresh rosemary, chopped
    1 can Prego cream sauce of your preference 
    Some black pepper
    Some sea salt

    1. Heat up a large wok.
    2. Add olive oil, followed by garlic after the oil is hot.
    3. When the garlic is fragrant, add in onion first. When it's caramelised, add in the chicken fillet. Stir fried it till half cooked, then add in potatoes.
    4. Followed by mixed vegetables and mushrooms. Add in rosemary, salt and black pepper.
    5. Let it cook for a while and add in Prego sauce. (I also added some chicken stock. However, it will make the mixture too wet. You may omit this.)
    6. Simmer for another 3-4mins, turn the heat off.

    1 pack of Puff Pastry (10 pcs)
    8 Hard-boiled eggs, quartered
    150g Mozzarella cheese, shredded

    1. Remove the crust dough from the fridge at least 30mins earlier.
    2. Roll it out on a silicon mat and fit it into the prepared pan.
    3. Press down the dough gently and release the trapped air.pie_chicken02
    4. Topped up with the cooked chicken fillings.pie_chicken03
    5. Arrange the hard boiled eggs on top.pie_chicken04
    6. Followed by sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese.pie_chicken05
    7. Finally, place a few pieces of the puff pastry to cover the top.pie_chicken06
    8. Bake it in a preheated oven of 200C for 40mins, or until the crust turns brown. (As I was using glassware, it takes long. If using metal pans, 30mins at 200C should suffice.)
    9. Serve and enjoy!
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