Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have heard so much of the Red Velvet cakes and cupcakes and I understand some are being sold at SGD4.50 a piece. The Red Velvet has always intrigued me for some time as I wondered how a cake would taste like when white vinegar is added to it.
I managed to get my hands on the book, Barefoot Contessa at our local library. I watch her show on TV and sort of like her and the recipes she churns out (though I must qualify that Nigella is still my fav). Flipping through the pages I came across the Red Velvet. Just what I was looking for! 
This recipe requires white vinegar to be added to buttermilk, and stirred together with the red coloring . A couple of recipes I read on the internet mentioned that the last step is to add the bicarbonate of soda to the white vinegar. This combination is then added and mixed quickly into the batter. 

In any case, the recipe I followed resulted in fabulous little cupcakes. Great texture, dense and moist. No taste of the vinegar though and not too sweet either. The photo below are my cupcakes and if you chance upon the book, the photo of the Red Velvet is exactly the same as mine. Or is it that my cupcakes are exactly like what is shown in the book? No kidding.
I topped the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting with a reduced amount of confectioner's sugar. Tasted perfect. I decided to add a single red rose on every cupcake simply because I had those Wilton icing roses in my fridge. They were gifts from my sister who holidayed with her family in Europe last December.
As I write this post, I have already made 3 batches of 12 each and had given them to my in-laws and my sister's Catholic Cell Group. All of them gave me the thumbs up.  I am rather confident to bake a few more batches as gifts and I must say my confidence was built up all because my dear wife has endorsed it - she said it was fantastic!
But who knows I may just try to sell them at SGDx a piece...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gone Bananas

Decided to bake banana loaves today simply because I took home a bunch of bananas from a board meeting on Friday. My colleagues told me to bring them home so I could bake them a cake for Monday. Well, it was very appropriate as I was dying to try out the recipes from this book I had borrowed from the National Library - AllanBakes Really Good Cakes by Allan Albert Teoh
I first saw the book at a local bookstore and hesitated to buy it. There were some questions I had in mind as I flipped through the pages. Glad that when I checked the library, they had copies, fresh from the oven (pun intended). Decided to work out some of his recipe before deciding to buy the book or not. So, the first recipe was the Banana Loaf - what else?
As you can see, the loaves turned out well and I want to believe they looked very similar to the photos in the book. But I found the texture not so fluffy but I could have over-folded the batter. Could have been a little sweeter so I thought too. I did not tweak the recipe except for reducing the salt to 1/4 tsp instead of 1/2 tsp.
Perhaps you might want to get your hands on the book and see if Allan's Grapefruit Chiffon and his Chocolate Cakes will turn out well. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Coffee Chiffon

I have been doing chocolate and chocolate chips chiffon cakes in the past week or so. Guess my family members were a little 'sick' of them after the fourth one. So I decided to turn to baking a coffee chiffon.
I hesitated to make the coffee version as I believed the taste of burnt coffee granules may be detected (as I did when I tasted the sample from the Chiffon baking class I attended). Nevertheless, I went ahead to bake one today.
My wife commented that it so lacked the coffee taste although you do get that whiff of coffee. I had to agree with her. It was sweet and one would not know it was a coffee chiffon and you may not even get that whiff. A little disappointed here as I had used the best - Nielsen Massey Coffee Extract and Vanilla Extract and of course, my old fave, Moccona. But I still thank God it turned out well. 
If I were to attempt to bake another coffee chiffon, I will increase the coffee powder from 1tbsp to 2.5 tbsps. Perhaps I may use another brand of coffee that will lend a stronger scent and taste.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chocolate Chips Chiffon Cake

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had left out the chocolate chips for a Chocolate Chip Chiffon cake and so it became a plain Chocolate Chiffon. This time, I remembered and threw in the chips as I was folding in the egg white mixture.
I half expected the chocolate chips to sink to the bottom but as it turned out,  they did not. Guess I used the mini choco ones and these are suitable for such a light cake.
Chiffon turned out fluffy and had a very rich chocolaty taste to it. Maybe it was the Hershey's mini chocolate chips I had added or was it the Valhorna cocoa powder which I used for this recipe? I told myself to use Valhorna cocoa powder for my next plain Chocolate Chiffon to see if it lends itself to that strong and delicious chocolate taste again. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Tried my hands on baking a Chocolate Chiffon after attending a recent baking class. So far, I have attempted Orange and Milo Chiffon (recipe for the latter was taken from one of the bloggers). Pretty pleased with this chocolate version as compared to the other two.

The actual recipe calls for a Chocolate Chip Chiffon but clearly from my post, it is a chiffon minus the chips. Well, I had my sister in-law visiting me on that day and at the exact time when I was about to make the cake. She has earned the title of Chiffon Queen. But she has stopped baking for a very long time and I inherited her chiffon cake tins. So I was nervous with her in the kitchen and it showed when I forgot to add sugar to the mixture of flour, egg yolks, oil etc. I did not realize it till I licked at the spatula before washing it (there you go - my confession) and it tasted really bland. Aha! No sugar and I spotted the tiny bag at the corner of the table. I added the sugar and quickly gave it a mix as I was worried I would have over mixed batter. Her presence could still be felt although she left the kitchen for the dining room.

After folding in the egg white mixture (this time I remembered the sugar and cream of tatar), I immediately poured the batter into the tin and popped it into the oven. Very satisfied with the whole delicious brown batter. As I was clearing up the table, there on the table was the packet of weighed chocolate chips. Sigh. But hey, I always wanted to bake a plain, simple chocolate chiffon. The chips could wait.

The Chiffon turned out fluffy and just like what it should be. For a non-expert baker like me, it is an achievement.

I have only sliced pieces for my photo shoot as the whole cake was cut and distributed almost immediately when it cooled. There was no waiting, at least on my part, as I had wanted to try to see if it is really as good as it looks.

Well, I guess I will attempt one more time and this time the chips will be in, folded and baked. 

I am unable to produce the recipe as it was copyrighted by the trainer. However, for those aspiring Chiffon bakers, you could refer to my June 21 2011 post on Milo Chiffon taken from allthatmatters. blog. Her recipes are simply fabulous too.