Honey Chiffon Cake @ Thank You Ah Ma

Two years ago around this time, Ah Ma left this world. I was there standing by her bedside while I sense her leaving, it is hard to put into words for the feeling.

Ten years ago Ah Ma passed me a chiffon baking pan when I asked her for the recipe as she makes a mean chiffon cake. She uses to make it a lot when I was younger, and I remember it soft, fluffy and huge! Of course the chiffon pan was huge too, and believe me, when I say it’s huge it is. I believe it can actually fit a 10 eggs recipe easily.

Six years ago I tried my hand first time beating the egg whites stiff and make a green tea chiffon cake in inspiration of Ah Ma, and looking back, I have come a long way. Now I can beat egg whites with confidence, but not exactly to perfection though at least I can tell which state it is in. As I lamented then, I couldn’t use the chiffon pan that Ah Ma gave me because it does not fit into my mini toaster oven. Though my mini oven has served me well in all my baking endeavours for all these years, I have to say I am rejoicing over my new built-in oven finally!

Honey Chiffon Cake Recipe
Honey Chiffon Cake

But I digress, yes Ah Ma, suddenly I have overwhelming thoughts of her. For the past two years, I have still been wishing Ah Ma on her birthday but I never really did remember her going away date. Maybe naturally I believe in celebrating life rather than death. But my sister mentioned it that day, so I thought hey I should bake something in memory of Ah Ma then, and so I did.

I didn’t manage to bake a chiffon cake as good as Ah Ma’s, but I believe she would be proud of me nonetheless for my

Honey Chiffon Cake

As my chiffon pan was huge as mentioned, it was actually a 9-inch pan. The recipe turns out too little for it, so I would recommend using a 7-inch chiffon pan if you have one. Using a larger pan also yielded a larger surface of baking, thus making it slightly over-baked than I would have liked it. If I am ever to repeat this, I will surely double/triple the recipe. Other than that, I also found that the cake has softened nicely and the flavours developed more distinctly after a day, so if you can bear it, let it sit a day before devouring it, you won’t regret it!

Egg yolks 3
Honey 4 tbsp
Oil 3 tbsp
Water 1 tbsp

Flour 85 gm
Baking powder 1 tsp
Salt

Egg whites 4 (please note the difference)
Cream of tartar 1/8 tsp
Sugar 1 tbsp

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

Sift flour and baking powder together. (I sifted twice to make it lighter and finer)
Mix in the salt.

Whisk the wet ingredients together till well combined.
Fold in the earlier flour mixture to create a batter.

Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar and sugar till stiff peak.
Fold and whisk about 1/3 portion of it into the earlier batter to loosen it.
Then gently fold in the rest of beaten egg whites, be careful not to flatten it.

Pour into a 7-inch chiffon pan
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.

Invert pan immediately after baking.
After cooled, run a knife around it and remove from pan.

Chiffon Baking Pan
Ah Ma’s Chiffon Baking Pan

Apple and Gula Melaka Yogurt Muffin @ Cupcake vs Muffin

It was a nondescript rest day for me. I woke up in the middle of the day, feeling happy as it has been a while since I woke up with the sun high above the sky. Yes I am crazy like that, happy over little things like this. So I roll a bit more in my bed and let my mind wander. What should I do? It is a weekday, and everyone I know is busy running in their rat race and I for one is still looking for my own race. What should I break fast with? Suddenly I have a thought. What about the almond yogurt cake I’ve been wanting to make? I should also use up my huge tub of yogurt that is only halfway through so far. By the way, I am a yogurt enthusiast, I always have a tub sitting around. Plain yogurt goes wonders with fruits and nuts, kiwi is my current obsession.

Anyway the thought of baking got me jumping out of bed. So I quickly look for the said recipe and my mind start working. Alright I don’t want a cake, it’ll be too big for me to finish and too troublesome. I shall make it into little cups. Then I tweak around base on whim, fancy and whatever is in my pantry. By the end of it, my end result got me scratching my head.

Cupcake vs Muffin
Cupcake vs Muffin

First of all, I could not decide whether it is a cupcake or a muffin. If I adapted a cake recipe and make it into little cups, does that make it a cupcake? Some say that muffin is made from quick breads and cupcakes from cakes. So it is possible mine is a cupcake. But wait a minute. Others say it depends on the method that you use. If you beat/cream it then it is a cupcake, if you fold/mix then it is a muffin. But what bout me who first beat the wet ingredients and then fold in the dry ingredients? Hah, that got them, didn’t it? Some even say that a cupcake without the frosting and the little things that make it nice is a muffin. Mostly though people agree that cupcake is sweeter and has higher fat content while muffin is lighter, less sweet and less fat. Thus with that, I have to christened my creation a muffin! Although it started from a cake, it ended up as a muffin, how amazing.

My next headache was the name, as I have added few more ingredients into the recipe, which kind of highlight the taste of the muffin, thus it should be in the name. So pardon the long name, it is necessary, at least I decided on the muffin no?

Apple and Gula Melaka Yogurt Muffin Recipe
Apple and Gula Melaka Yogurt Muffin

Apple and Gula Melaka Yogurt Muffin

Inspired from Chocolate and Zucchini’s Yogurt Cake

I wanted to be healthy and use the white whole wheat flour that I discovered in Chang Tung, Taman Megah, Malaysia. Then I realize I don’t have sugar! So I decided to use Gula Melaka (Malacca Palm Sugar) instead, which I melted with some water and sub it with sugar, feeling a bit apprehensive about the extra liquid, thus I compensated with more ground almond and by whim reduced the oil as well. And oh, why not throw in some fruits for good measure? Kiwi? Orange? Banana? Apples? Ah yes, that’s it. Apples it is, and a green one seems to fit. Also, I actually ground the almonds myself, just put whole almond into your grinder and give it a little spin, it is that easy to make.

Just a warning though, this is kind of still a work in progress recipe, though mine does turn out well, in fact it tasted like our Malaysian Malaikoh (steamed Malay cakes) due to the Gula Melaka and it also amazingly have little holes to boot! But it was a little dry at the sides, so I might need to re-look into the baking time and heat. Anyway, be bold and try my recipe below and feel free to tweak! That’s part of the fun in baking.

White whole wheat flour  3/4 cup

Baking Powder                  1/2 tbsp

Yogurt                                1/2 cup

Gula Melaka                      1/2 cup  (melted with some water)

Egg                                      1

Oil                                       1 tbsp

Ground almonds               4 tbsp

Vanilla                                1/4 tsp

Green apple                       1 (cubed)

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Line muffin pan with muffin cups

In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, the oil and the sugar. Beat till smooth, during which add in the egg.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, the baking powder, the salt, and the almonds.

Add the flour mixture to the batter in three or four additions, and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.

Spoon mixture into muffin cups till 1/2 full and top with cubed apples.

Put into the oven to bake, for 40 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean (I just poked with a butter knife). If yours brown too fast, cover the top with foil, mine did not though.

Let cool and munch away with your best choice of drink. (Black coffee for me the addict, of course 😉

Makes 5 muffins (yes it is an odd number in the usual 6 holes muffin pan)

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Muffins : It’s Weekend Again

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Muffins
Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Muffins

Well a week just flew by in a breeze. It is weekend again. Although I know the weekend breakfast blogging is meant for, well weekend cooking, which means taking more time to prepare and enjoy breakfast. In oppose, I either sleep late on weekends or eat out. On weekdays though, I prefer to enjoy some healthy homemade breakfast before going to work. Knowing that I have a lovely breakfast waiting for me seems to be a pretty good motivation to get out of bed. Now that is the best alarm clock in the world, don’t you agree? So I had this really good, healthy and substantial muffin recipe from 101 cookbooks really long time ago in my to-do list, which I cannot resist sharing it here. I can’t seem to find this post anymore in that blog, so I could not link it, but I will share my adapted version here though.

This muffin turns out great the way I imagine it would be, slightly chocolatey, with good thick texture, occasional encounter on soft raisins and crunch on the nuts. To top it off, it uses all the readily available ingredients in your pantry and is really versatile for substitutions accordingly. These huge muffins can only keep for bout 3 days in room temperature but fret not, it freezes really well, so far I still have 2 left in my freezer and it is still keeping well. Whenever I wanted to have it the next day for breakfast before work, I would take one out the night before, put it in a tall container and leave it in room temperature, and by the time I wake up in the morning, it is ready to eat. No better reason to wake up than breakfast; pour a cold glass of milk and enjoy with this yummy muffin. Eating one is enough to fill you up for the whole morning, without feeling as if you ate too much. It’s really good and healthy too! Give it a try.

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Muffins
Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Muffins

I had, as usual, adapted the recipe to suit whatever I have or can get my hands on. Anyhow, feel free to experiment. Besides, I had halved the recipe to make do with my mini oven, thus there are cases like half a ¼ cup, which I hope you would understand, I advise to double the recipe since it freeze so well, for rainy days. The oat and bran cereal topping is optional, but it does give the muffin a novelty look besides adding more crunch and flavour to it. You can use whatever oat bran cereal you have, or even granolas. Remember to push it down slightly though when you sprinkle on before baking, as quite an amount of mine fell off during removal.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1.5/4 tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ overly ripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup low-fat yoghurt
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup of nuts (walnuts, almond, pecan)
¼ cup of raisins (original calls for currants)
1.5/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Oil for preparing the pan
Oat and bran cereal for topping

Method:
Preheat oven to 180C/350F
Lightly oil a 6 hole muffin pan (I used an oiled tissue to wipe it)
Combine flour, brown sugar, cocoa and baking soda together.
Add in mashed bananas, yoghurt, egg white, vanilla, nuts, raisins and coconut.
Stir until combined.
Pour batter into the muffin pan and top with the oat bran cereal.
Bake about 25-35 minutes, or tooth pick is clean when inserted.

Makes 6 large breakfast muffins

P/S: I just bought a new camera, Canon Ixus 60! I am so ready to take lovely food pictures now. Do you notice the clearer and better muffin pictures? I must admit I need more practice though, as I am still testing out my camera’s various functions and getting use to its ability. So look out for more pictures for you to drool on, I hope 😉

Low Fat Bread Pudding Recipe : Sweet Goodbye

If you all have been following this blog, you would be familiar with L. Yes, she had been my guest blog a few times, writing about her food adventure in Penang and also her great research on Chee Cheong Fun that had caught so many’s attention. L came up to KL for internship the last 2 months, which started our food whore out there, once I wrote about it, many more in my archives yet to be publish, due to more food eating and enjoying life. It had certainly been fun when she’s up here. We got around quite a bit, pretty adventurous with our food endeavour, sometimes burning holes in our pockets, yet we would still go out and do it again.

Let me give some introduction about L. She had been one of my longest friend, and also a fellow 1984. I’ve known her since 11, and from there we just clicked and our friendship had grown since then till now. We have a lot in common, sharing interests in writing, books, dreams and of course food. It is not a wonder we are so close.

Anyway, we had a mini farewell for her last Tuesday at our new home, with our housemates and a few close friends. She promised to leave a goodbye note here, which I have yet to receive from her, and would update when I do. We had steamboat party, which has the usual array fresh food, and clear soup which would then later be turn to tom yam to finish it off.

When I got home from work (oh, yes I started, it was great), I quickly got to the kitchen to make dessert for the party. Guess what I will be making? It’s bread pudding. This dessert is easy; one can prepare before the party starts, leave it in the fridge and bout 1 hour near to the end, take out the bread pudding and bake it, then serve right out of the oven. This is one time I made something with my ‘own’ recipe, adapting from here and there, and since I am making it specially for L, I am naming it

Low Fat Bread Pudding Recipe
Low Fat Bread Pudding

Farewell Bread Pudding

I had about half a loaf left on apricot and raisins bread that I bought last week for my daily alone breakfasts. After a few days, I got tired of it and chuck it into the fridge. Therefore came the inspiration to use up this bread when the party came. This is actually the Gardenia Toast ’em fruit breads, if you live in Malaysia you’ll know which one, and it can be bought just about anywhere. They are good to eat just like that but I love it especially when toasted, with a good cup of coffee. Now, I found out that making it into this pudding was really good as well. Browsing through various recipes, I encountered most using whip cream, which if you had notice, does not ever appear in my recipes. Not to say I do not like it, maybe it’s the high fat content, maybe it’s the unavailability and also maybe it’s expensive. Therefore I had to adapt and fine alternative. To me, evaporated milk would be good, thick milky taste yet light and slightly creamy. This following recipe is my adaptation from few recipes, which I just go with hunch this time with the milk ratios, since I did not use cream and phew, it turned out great. At first it would seem to wet but trust me, once baked, all the liquid will absorb into the bread, making it pudding like. During baking it would puff up so nicely making one happy, but after cooling, it will shrink down. My heart nearly jump to my throat at the sight, there goes my dessert, as it also looked really burnt on the top and sides. There is no turning back for me as everyone at the steamboat table is waiting. There you have it, the adrenaline rush of a first try, serving to a bunch of people. Despite the hard look, once you spoon on it, it is actually soft inside, while crusty on the outside. The sugar topping gives it a deeper taste, some guessed it was gula Melaka, and with some hint of cinnamon. No one guessed the presence of alcohol, but I’m sure that is where the complex flavour came from. My first try and all my guests are happy about dessert, though it took some initial coaxing to try, as all of them have never tried bread pudding before. One of them even expected a flan instead. Well, a nearly empty dessert bowl signifies success I guess.

8 slices day old bread
3 tbsp butter melted
3 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup low fat milk
4 tbsp of sugar
½ rsp vanilla essence
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup raisins (I used a little lesser because my bread came with raisins)
4 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp fine jaggery powder (or fine brown sugar or palm sugar)

Soak the raisins in the brandy for at bout 30 minutes
Melt butter in microwave, or on the stove
Use a spoon and slowly swirl and coat all the bread slices with butter
Trim off the sides if the bread (not necessary white clean, a little crusts would give a crunch)
Then cut it into about 8 triangles each slice, I did not care bout getting it really uniform, just about the same size
Reserve triangles from two side slices of bread to one side
Then line the bread triangles in two rows, slightly overlapping one another in a glass oven proof dish (I used an oval dish about 12 cm width, 5 cm thick, just use one big enough to accommodate all the bread and some room for puffing up)
Cream together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until bubbly
Then pour in the raisins and all the liquid and mix well
Slowly, pour this custard mixture onto the bread slices
Take the reserve bread slices and chuck it in at all the sides, with the crusts facing outwards, lining next to each other
Put the dish into the refrigerator and let it soak for about an hour
Preheat the oven to 180 C
Take the dish out and then sprinkle the jaggery powder all over the bread top
Bake the bread for 45 minutes

Serves 8-10 party people