01 October 2011

Chinese Sponge Cake

While growing up I would always snack on this cake whenever my mom goes to the wet market. I would always remind her to get a bag home and I just wouldn’t stopped munching on the cake. It’s super light with a just a hint of sweetness.  In Chinese it’s called Ji Dan Gao (Chicken Egg Cake – hehe sounds funny in English doesn’t it) I didn’t know it was that easy to make as it only has 4 ingredients (yeap as you may guessed it one of the main ingredients is eggs!) and the best part it’s steamed instead of baked.  And this recipe doesn’t call for any raising agent BUT you would need some elbow grease and a secret ingredient.

You Need
6 eggs
260 grams  or 1 1/2 cup of caster sugar
300 grams or 2 1/2 cup of all purpose flour, sifted twice
125 ml aerated drink (7 UP, Sprite or ice cream soda) – This is THE secret ingredients. The fizziness in the drink that makes the cake so light and fluffy plus it adds a hint of nice aroma to the cake as well

How To
1. Prepare the steamer or wok while you work on the batter.
2. Beat the eggs and sugar using a hand beater or mixer or a wire whisk until the mixture turns pale and fluffy or double in volume.
3. Divide flour into three portions and fold in the flour alternating with the soda drink, ending with the flour.
4. Pour the batter into a baking tin lined with greaseproof paper. You may use a bamboo steamer if you have any.
5. Steam on high for 25-30 minutes.
6. Leave the cake to cool AND resist the temptations to cut it while it is still warm otherwise it would crumble. Trust me it’s very tempting to have a slice!

20 September 2011

A Hearty Bowl of Broccoli Soup

That’s Ashley’s old bib in case you’re wondering. Spent the entire of last night washing Ashley’s old baby clothing to be handed down to her little sister. So this morning instead of tiring myself out with heavy cooking I decided to make broccoli soup, I read that broccoli is a good source of  calcium, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6. It’s a fairly simple dish to make and it’s low fat but at the same time it fills you up. Which is something I need at the moment because I’ve gained my allocated amount of weight gain (10kilos) for this pregnancy and I’m only 33 weeks along. Pffttt!

You Need
1 small head broccoli, about 500g, including stems, chopped (separate the florets and stems)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium potato, grated or diced
3 cups of chicken stock or water
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste

How To
1. Heat oil on a medium pot. Gently sauté onion until translucent or softened. Add in the chopped stems and continue sautéing for 5-6 minutes.
2. Add in the stock or water and bring to a boil before reducing the heat and add in the potato.
3. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are softened.
4. Allow the soup to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Return soup to the pot and over low heat, add in the florets. I only add the florets in the end so that it remains slightly crunchy which gives the soup a nice texture. Heat gently and season.
5. Serve with generous servings of grated Parmesan.

It was so hearty and comforting to have a bowl during a rainy morning that I had two servings!

19 August 2011

Orange Yogurt Cake

I’m glad that my girl loves baked goodies because all her ‘mommy I want to eat cake’ requests once a week has helped in improving my baking skills. After all the burnt or undercooked cakes I finally have a nice looking, moist no-longer-dense-at-the-bottom cakes. Yay!! There’s another recipe for orange yogurt cake which I’ve shared before but this recipe is tweaked from a butter cake recipe which I have been using for all my yellow/butter cakes. Orange moist cake, chocolate cake to name a few.

You Need

2 cups of self raising flour
1 cup of caster sugar
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of soda bicarbonate
125 grams of butter, softened at room temperature
3 large or 4 medium eggs
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
2 tablespoons of milk
zest and juice from 1 orange

How To
1. Preheat your oven to 180 °C. Line 8 inch square baking pan with parchment papers. Remember to brush some butter on the bottom and the sides of the pan before you line the pan with paper.
2. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and soda bicarbonate) leave aside.
3. Using your electric mixer, cream butter together with the sugar and orange zest on medium speed until fluffy and turns pale yellow.
4. Add in the eggs, one by one and beat well after each addition of egg until creamy. Make sure you scrape down the sides for even mixing.
5. With the mixer on low speed, add in the orange juice and yogurt before adding in the dry ingredients in 3 additions
6. Finally add in the milk and make sure the batter is all well mixed.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
8. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting the cake to continue to cool on a wire rack.

Notes: Here are some of the tips I’ve picked up or learned on my own in making sure the cakes turns out right which I’d love to share with you.

1. Always make sure the butter and eggs are at room temperature. Like most people if you keep your eggs in the fridge, take them out along with the butter and let them to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before you start baking.
2. Prepare the pans, preheat the oven and get all the ingredients ready before you turn on the mixer. It’s easier to focus on the mixing of the batter when you have all the ingredients ready rather than you scramble around the kitchen looking for the milk, or even vanilla essence.
3. Remember to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl every now and then.
4. Different oven may have different temperature hence it’s advisable to get an oven thermometer to determine what’s the actual temperature because sometimes even though it’s stated 180C on the oven display it may not be the actual temperature.
5. If the top of your cake starts to brown before the cake is halfway cooked, use an aluminium sheet to cover the top to prevent from burning. Never lower the oven’s temperature because in my case, the change of temperature often resulted dense cakes.
6. Make sure you mix well after each addition of dry ingredients before adding the next batch.

These are some of the tips I can think of right now, will continue adding them once I have new ones. But the one thing I’ve learned despite all the tips given is never give up even though your cake may not turn out the way it should be even after a few times of baking. Just continue baking and if the cake doesn’t turn out right, go through the recipe again and try to tweak the steps the next time. In my case, it’s always the beating and I get very excited anxious in getting everything done before it’s even ready.

Hope you’d enjoy this recipe! And thanks to all the
902 likes on my Facebook page. It’s really nice to know that I’ve inspired you in some ways or that you enjoy my blog. Have a great weekend folks!

28 July 2011

Pandan Sponge Cake with Kaya Filling

I’ve been baking awfully alot lately, since my girl simply loves baked goodies and she’s been asking for at least one cake a week! It’s definitely cheaper and not to mention healthier to bake your own instead of buying at the bakery not knowing what ingredients they use. And ever since I got pregnant, I haven’t been taking photos of the stuffs I’ve made well iphone photos doesn’t really count eh, so do forgive my rusty skills. I actually forgotten how to work around a SLR camera!Ish.

This is quite a simple recipe hence why I’m blogging about it right now, because being nearly 7 months along sitting is quite a chore these days ; with the big protruding stomach and a baby that kicks you hard each time you sit down for more than 10 minutes and since I’m no expert in blogging - I usually spent at least an hour on a post! I need to write something quick before my blog goes completely dead by the time the baby arrives. Yeap it’s that easy, the recipe I mean


You Need
6 large eggs
1/2 cup of caster sugar (original recipe calls for 1 cup but I figured since I’m using kaya as the filling, I’d make the cake less sweet)
11/2 cups of all purpose flour (sifted)
8 pandan leaves + 4 tablespoons of water blended together and strained to get the juice OR you can use
1/2 teaspoon of green coloring
1 teaspoon of pandan essence (if you can’t get fresh pandan leaves)
kaya spread (coconut jam) for the filling
How To
1. Heat oven to 180 °C. Line 2 8x8 inch square baking pans. (You can use 1 9x9 inch baking pan and slicing the cake into two layers but I’m terrible when it comes to slicing cakes into halves, it always ends up being uneven layers!)
2.Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the pandan juice or essence and coloring. Mix well.
3. Stir in 1/3 portion of the flour over the egg mixture and fold in gently. Repeat until all the flour has been used.
4. Pour cake mixture into the pans dividing the batter evenly between the two pans.
5.Bake for about 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the pan or until golden brown. Mine took approximately less than 15 minutes for each pan.
6. Let it cool before spreading the kaya on one layer of the cake and sandwich with the other layer. Cut into pieces and serve. Yums!

A delicious and simple cake ready in less than 40 minutes! And this got to be my fastest blog post ever written! In record breaking 15 minutes including editing! How awesome is that?  Baby’s kicking me now signaling me to go lie down, so till the next time enjoy cooking and eating folks! xoxo

(The two layers of cake left to cool before sandwiching them together with kaya!)

(Simply yummy! Soft cake with sweet kaya oozing out)

06 July 2011

On a break

You must have noticed the ultra long void since my last post and I feel really bad for not being able to update my foodie blog as often as I can. And it’s not because I’ve stopped cooking or no longer interested in blogging, if anything it’s for a good reason, yours truly is currently 22 weeks pregnant!

Hence why things are little quiet over here. I’m lucky that I don’t have to combat morning sickness during the first trimester and that I’m still able to cook till now without having to don on a safety suit (no feeling of nausea over food) still by the time I finished doing my chores I’m totally knackered. Evenings when I usually do my posts are now meant for resting aching my back and going to bed early.

And we have been kept busy over a
new project aside from being pregnant. If you haven’t guessed it, we are going to move into our new place before the baby arrives! So that’s another reason why things are little, ok very quiet over here. We’ve been kept really busy shopping for the house, having discussions after discussions on renovations etc. Phew no wonder I’m feeling tired when the day ends. Cant wait for my kitchen our house to be ready! Staying with my in-laws have been great but it’s really time for us to have a place of our own eh. And I can’t wait to start using my dream tool in the kitchen.
Hopefully I can squeeze in a post or two soon, if not do check out my tweets @ alesiahomecook, or my Facebook Page, I usually try to twit some pictures of the food I’ve made. Till then take care my fellow readers and do come back every now and then to help me take down the cobwebs from the corners of my blog eh

Alesia, the pregnant home cook.