Monday, May 30, 2011

Strawberries, vanilla and sour cream crumbed cake

I am always attracted to colourful pictures of cakes and desserts on either cookbooks or food magazines. Especially on cakes that have a homely feel to it and made with fruits. Almost every month, I would rush to the newsstand to grab a copy of ‘delicious’ food magazine from the UK. Their recipes have been highly reliable unlike some cookbooks that are written by some famous chefs or personalities. Even some Nigella Lawson’s cake recipes are unreliable, as well as Barefoot Contessa’s. So far I have failed in two cakes from Barefoot Contessa’s recipes and some of Nigella's. I am considered quite a seasoned baker and therefore it should not be my skills that was the problem but their recipes. Maybe only half of them are reliable.
I could not wait to bake the cake on the cover of the March’s UK issue of ‘delicious’ magazine a while ago, it looked so inviting with the pieces of crumbs on top. I adapted the recipe a little. I used strawberries instead of rhubarb as it is not easy to find in Singapore.
Recipe from ‘delicious’ magazine by Debbie Major
275g strawberries
50g sugar
2 tsp plain flour
Icing sugar for dusting
For the cake
6 tbsp of sour cream
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or extract
100g plain flour
100g sugar
½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp of baking powder
¼ tsp salt
75g butter (room temperature)
50g ground almonds or hazelnuts
For the crumbs                                               
50g unsalted butter (cold)
25g light muscovado sugar
40g sugar
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
100g plain flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
  1. For the crumbs, melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat. When it is melted, remove from the heat; add both types of sugar and stir constantly until dissolved into a smooth, toffee like sauce. Stir in the vanilla bean paste, pour into a small cake pan, then stir in the flour and salt to make a stiff, and biscuit like dough. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan and put it in the fridge to harden.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line a 20cm/8 inch loose bottom pan with baking paper. Cut the strawberries into quarters and put them into a mixing bowl. Mix the sugar with the flour and stir it into the strawberries and leave it aside for 15 minutes and stir it now and then. The sugar and flour should cling onto the fruits.
  3. For the cake, stir the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl. Sift the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into the mixer and add butter and mix until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the ground almonds or hazelnuts, and then gradually beat in the sour cream mixture until smooth.
  4. Spread the cake mixture into the prepared pan, and then scatter over the strawberries, making sure the red parts are facing up. Break the crumb mixture into small pieces and scatter over the cake leaving some red fruits showing. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown and skewer comes out clean. Leave it to cool on rack and when cooled sift some icing sugar over the top.                                            Delicious Magazine

Monday, May 23, 2011

Caramel Butter-Crunch Bundt Cake

I hardly bake anything these three weeks because of my knee injury. I had limitations in my movements. I could not go marketing, needless to say about buying ingredients for baking. Currently, I am having withdrawal symptoms! Well not for eating of course but for BAKING! 

I am posting this cake which I baked quite some time ago. It is from the Belinda Jeffrey's cookbook; "Mix & Bake". I like most of the cakes in her book as it has a homely feel to it and perfect for tea time treats. You don't need a mixer for this recipe, just whiz everything in a food processor will do. Just like Nigella Lawson sometimes.
Adapted from Belinda Jeffrey's "Mix & Bake"
Recipe Ingredients:
250g sour cream
125ml plain yoghurt
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g roasted walnuts or hazelnuts
385g sugar
2 tsp cinnamon powder
450g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
250g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into chunks
1 tbsp dark rum
2 tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Butter and flour a 10 cup size bundt pan and set aside.
2. Scoop the sour cream and yoghurt into a bowl and thoroughly mix them together. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, then leave to stand for about 15 minutes; the mixture aerates and puffs up when you do this.
3. Put the nuts, 110g of the sugar and the cinnamon into a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. Pour this mixture into a small bowl. Put the flour, baking powder and salt in the processor and whiz them to combine. Tip them into another bowl.
4. Put the eggs and the remaining 275g of sugar into the processor and whiz them for one minute. add the butter and process everything for another minute.
5. Stir the rum and vanilla extract into the sour cream mixture; this will cause it to deflate somewhat. Add this to the mixture in the processor and blend it all together with a few quick bursts. Add and fold the flour mixture in a few spoonful at a time until it is just combined.
6. Spoon a 2 cm layer of cake batter into the bottom of the prepared bundt tin and smooth out the surface. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the nut mixture over the top and shake the tin gently to even it out. Cover this with another thin layer of batter. Sprinkle the rest of the nut mixture over this. even it out again, then spread the remaining cake batter on top.
7. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Gently loosen around the sides and central hole. Invert the cake onto the rack and leave it to cool completely.
8. Just before serving, transfer the cake to a cake stand or plate and dust it with icing sugar. you can freeze the cake for up till 3 weeks. Leftover slices are also good gently warmed in a microwave oven.Mix & BakeBundt Pan

Monday, May 16, 2011

Soft Sausage Buns


My boy loves sausage buns and when I discovered a recipe that makes soft bread, I jumped at the chance to make him some. It is not too difficult, just need a little practise in braiding or plaiting, that's all. With extra rising, the bread gets real soft.
I first made the dough in the bread maker, then I took it out to knead and shape. Pretty simple actually.

Recipe for Sweet Bun Dough

170ml water
90ml milk
1 egg
50g condensed milk
500 g bread flour (A)
25g milk powder (A)
105 g butter (A)
70 g sugar (A)
1 tsp salt (A)
13 g instant yeast (A)
1. Put all the ingredients into the bread maker to make the dough.
2. If you don't have a machine, you can do it by conventional method using a mixer. Add all the (A) ingredients into the mixer.
3. At low speed, pour in the water slowly and beat for a minute.
4. Turn to medium speed for 10 minutes.
5. Remove dough from the mixer and leave it on the table and cover it with a big bowl for 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Punch down dough and stretch dough and fold over a few times. Rest dough for another 20 minutes or when the dough is double in size.
7. If you want a softer bread, you can repeat another round and rest it again.
8. Reshape dough into desired shapes
Sausage Buns
240g of Sweet Bun Dough
Cinnamon powder
Evaporated milk
1. Divide the 240g of sweet bun dough into 4 portions of 60g each (You can double the portions if you want to make more buns)

2. Shape into rounds. Leave for 5 minutes.

3. Flatten the dough into long shapes. Place a piece of sausage in the middle of the dough.

4.Cut five lines on the the right and left side of the dough. Fold the left part to the right and fold the right part to the left to make a plaited pattern.

5. Place the dough onto a greased baking tray. Leave to rest for 35 minutes or till double in size.

6. In the mean time, heat the oven at 190 C.

7. When doubled, brush the buns with evaporated milk, and sieve some cinnamon powder on top of the buns.

8. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes till golden brown.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fresh Mango Sorbet

A few weeks ago, Thai mangoes were going real cheap in the fruit stalls. It was even cheaper in Giant Hypermart. I could not resist buying 10 whole mangoes for just $5.99. But what am I going to do with that whole lot?
Well, on a hot day, who wouldn't mind a whole scoop of cold refreshing sorbet. Yes! I am using those mangoes to make some mango sorbet. I flipped my book by David Lebovitz: The perfect Scoop and adapted my recipe from there.
Recipe Adapted from David Lebovitz: "The Perfect Scoop"
Makes 1 Lire
Mango Sorbet Recipe
1 kg of ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and cut
130g sugar
160 ml water
5 tsp of calamansi lime juice
1 tbsp of dark rum
Pinch of salt
Put the cut mangoes, sugar, water, lime juice, rum and salt into the blender to puree till smooth.
Taste and put more lime juice or rum if desired.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge.
Put it in the ice cream machine to churn.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just Like KFC Coleslaw

This recipe tastes just like KFC coleslaw or even better. If you want to make sure that no preservatives and funny what's not go into your food from these fast food joints, make your own! Try this recipe.
8 cups finely diced cabbage (about 1 head)
1/4 cup diced carrots
2 tbsp minced onions
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Put the cabbage, carrots and onions in a big bowl and mix well.
Using a blender, process all the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
Pour over the vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate several hours before serving.
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