Follow Me

Close

2015 had been an awesome year for WESA. Along the way, we learned so much. Parenting two toddlers was fun and enriching! We’re truly thankful for all that we have and all that we can give. It was an exciting ride and now, we look forward to the next roller coaster ride ahead of us. Bring it on, 2016! And to everyone out there, have a happy new year!

 

Click on below image to read blog post.

WESA HEALTH TALK - POTTY TRAINING WESA KIDS PLAY The Flu Bug Father's Day

Manners and Etiquette

2015 06 30 - WESAplay - Cool De Sac Why you need to read to your child everyday Arnold OOTD 1 2015 07 03 - Puppet Craft for Kids sponge painting with kids

2015 07 07 - WESAplay - Photographic Memory Game
siblings

Arnold OOTD #2 2015 07 17 - WESA Family - Airport 2015 07 18 - WESA Family - Gardening and playing bubbles flying off tonight

WESA Travel - Adelaide 2015 08 06 - WESA Travel - Top 3 best breakfast places in Adelai 2015 08 12 - WESA Travel - Himeiji Garden 2015 08 13 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf Farm Barn Chocolate Chip Muffin Almond and Chocolate Chip Muffin 2015 08 18 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf, Adelaide 2015 08 24 - WESA Travel - Kids' friendly malls in Adelaide 2015 08 31 - Gardens by the Bay

2015 09 08 - Parents' Day at LV WESA BEAUTY
WESA Bakery - Chocoffee Macarons CK Encounter Fresh Lovewesa

Snowskin mooncake Australian International School

 

 

 

 

 

2015 10 12 - Friso

2015 10 17 - Arnold's first playdate at the SEA Aquarium

S&A OOTD #22015 10 22 - WESA Parenting - ReadingCover2015 11 23 - WESA Bakery - Pandan Cake

2015 09 08 - Parents' Day at LV2015 11 28 - WESA Family - MIL or Monster-In-Law1Kids' STYLEPrintBest play mat in town

Continue Reading

2015 11 23 - WESA Bakery - Pandan Cake

 

One year ago, I started baking and haven’t stopped since. I love baking and my three-year-old daughter naturally takes after me! She can handle basic pouring, stirring, sieving, mixing, folding, and even separating egg yolks from the egg whites. This weekend, we want to share with you our ALL TIME FAVOURITE – PANDAN CAKE!

pandan cake

It’s so soft and fluffy, slightly charred on the outside and moist on the inside. It isn’t too sweet and we used only freshly squeezed pandan extract and coconut milk. Suitable for the young and old. In fact, I seriously think it tastes better than the famous Bengawan Solo Pandan Cake. Hey, I’m not boasting! I did a survey.

I had my Homemade Pandan Cake cut into cubes and placed it on a white plate (I call my kitchen the “WESA BAKERY”). Then I had the famous Bengawan Solo Pandan Cake, also cut into cubes, placed on a white plate. Next, 10 people tried both cakes and the results…

Vs

Yeah! We won!

My family loves the pandan cake we baked and we will carry on working on different recipes, perfecting them, and sharing them with you! Good things must share, no?

Here’s my version of HOMEMADE PANDAN CAKE! I’ve tried various recipes, tweaked and changed a little here and a little there and finally gotten THIS. It was hard work. And you are lucky, because now you don’t have to go through the same heartache as I did.

 

HOMEMADE PANDAN CAKE RECIPE

Recipe

BEHIND THE SCENES

Don’t doubt your toddlers’ ability to work in the kitchen. They are very capable of baking a cake (of course with some assistance). You wouldn’t want them anywhere near the oven though. So what are we waiting for, let’s start B.A.K.I.N.G!

baking

Sonia’s first task was to separate 7 egg yolks from the egg whites. Don’t crack all 7 eggs in one bowl and have your child separate the egg yolks because once one egg yolk breaks, the entire bowl of egg white is wasted.

WHY?

Egg yolks contain fat. Even a speck of yolk can prevent a bowl of egg whites from whipping properly, so if some yolk winds up in your whites, you should discard the contents of the bowl, wash it scrupulously, and start again. To prevent waste and bother, separate your eggs one at a time in a small bowl, transferring each successfully separated whites to a larger mixing bowl as you go. This way, you won’t waste the entire bowl of eggs.

baking

She’s not always perfect. Sometimes she breaks an egg yolk or two and we have to do it all over again. Wash her hands, scrub the bowl, get a new egg and do it again. But don’t blame or reprimand your child, she’s still learning. Encourage her. Trust me, encouragement does much more than scolding.

baking

This time round…

baking
She did it!

baking

Now, combine egg yolks, coconut milk, pandan extract and pandan paste (optional) in a mixing bowl.

baking

It should look something like ‘this’. Whisk the mixture till they are well combined. She shuffled using her right hand, then left because, as she puts it “mummy, my hands are very tired you know; not easy”, combined with a frown as she shook her head. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

baking

“What are you doing?” I exclaimed.
She replied “mummy, I’m smelling the pandan. Can you smell the nice nice smell? Mmmm… my cake will taste so good, better than my school’s pandan cake.”

baking

Next, she sifted the flour, baking powder and salt into the same mixing bowl. I bought this cup style flour sifter instead of the traditional type because it’s more manageable for kids. We want to minimise the mess, don’t we?

Click on highlighted text to purchase.
Keywords: 面粉筛子

baking

After combining the flour to the mixture, add caster sugar in the same mixing bowl.

baking

Mix until well combined.

sonia

Add in the oil and whisk again. After whisking for so long…

baking

“Mummy, my arms are so tired. I need a break. But you don’t touch my cake, okie. I will do it all by myself” said Sonia.

baking

Then she pretended to close her eyes and said she needed to catch a wink but was awake in less than 3 seconds. Such a drama queen.

baking

We are almost there…

baking

While Sonia work on whisking her mixture, I beat egg whites, cream of tar tar and sugar together till forms firm peaks.

baking

Here’s how my egg whites look like! Beautiful!

baking

Slowly fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture. After which, pour the entire egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture and mix thoroughly. When all is done, pour into an Angel Cake Pan.

pandan cake

We used an 8-inch Angel Cake Pan. Bottom measures 8-inch, top measures about 9-inch. It’s the perfect size for our family. Each time we bake a Pandan Cake, it’s gone in two days. On the day we baked the pandan cake, 3/4 of the cake is gone. The remaining 1/4 slice of the cake is finished the next morning.

Click on highlighted text to purchase.
Keywords: 中空天使戚风蛋糕模, Angel Cake Pan

pandan cake

This recipe is definitely a keeper. We get a tall and mighty pandan cake every single time we use this recipe and it promises a soft and fluffy, moist yet not oily, tasty yet not too sweet, light and yummy cake! I’m not exaggerating any bit. Bake it and try it!

 

TIPS AND TRICKS

And before I forget, here are some tips and tricks I learned along the way. Read this before you bake to save yourself heartaches.

  • Do not use non-stick pan. The cake will sink and not expand as it should. Use only traditional aluminum Angel Cake Pans.
  • Make your own pandan extract from fresh pandan leaves. Pandan essence doesn’t taste half as good.
  • I used 55g eggs. Tried using 65g eggs and failed. Yes, egg size matters. If you only have 65g eggs, you may want to use 6 eggs instead of 7.
  • Use a CLEAN bowl when beating egg whites. Oil on the surface of an improperly cleaned bowl will corrupt an egg white foam, coating the proteins and inhibiting their ability to link up with each other to firm the flexible web needed to trap air bubbles.
  • Throw the entire bowl of egg whites if you accidentally spill a little bit of yolk into your whites before whipping. Egg yolks contain fat. Even a speck of yolk can prevent a bowl of egg whites from whipping properly, so if some yolk winds up in your whites, you should discard the contents of the bowl, wash it scrupulously, and start again. To prevent waste and bother, separate your eggs one at a time in a small bowl, transferring each successfully separated whites to a larger mixing bowl as you go. This way, you won’t waste the entire bowl of eggs.
  • Use room-temperature eggs. They whip up better than cold ones. The coiled proteins in egg whites will relax slightly as they warm up, so that whipping them will take lesser time.
  • Whip the whites by themselves at least until they reach a foamy, almost soft peak stage before adding sugar. (Reason being the sugar will slow down the incorporation of air into the mixture.)
  • Use cake flour, not all-purpose-flour. Different types of flour have different amounts of protein. Protein provides strength and structure to baked goods. In general, cake flour has between 7.5% and 9% protein, and all-purpose-flour has a protein content of about 12%. Low-protein cake flour will give the cake a soft and tender crumb. All-purpose-flour will result in a tougher cake. It’s good for baking cookies though, since it gives them a nice shape.

Baking is science.

I wish you success in baking your pandan cake! Good luck!

Continue Reading

Snowskin mooncake

Truth to be told, I’m NOT a fan of mooncakes with exception to Snowskin Mooncakes and particularly DURIAN Snowskin Mooncakes!

But today, I’m going to make Lotus Snowskin Mooncakes.

Why not Durian Snowskin Mooncakes?

I will only attempt to make Durian Mooncakes IF my Lotus Snowskin Mooncakes are successful.

But why only if the Lotus Snowskin Mooncakes are successful?

BECAUSE DURIANS ARE EXPENSIVE!!! Yes, they are! If I fail, the entire goodness goes to the bin. So why waste good food and money? I shall start with something less expensive and if it worked, I will buy some really good durain to make my favourite Durian Snowskin Mooncakes.

With such motivation, I went to buy the necessary ingredients and started working on my first snowskin mooncake.

I was expecting a very complex recipe but was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was to make one!

Here you go, the simplest mooncake recipe, ever –

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g of snow skin mix from Bake King
  • 70 g  of shortening
  • 260 ml of cold water
  • 1/2 tsp of emulco or paste
  • 500 g of White Lotus Paste from Bake King
    (you can experiment with any paste of your preference)

METHOD

#1 – THROW THEM IN A BIG MIXING BOWL

Snowskin Mooncake

I bought this Snow Skin Mix from Gim Hin Lee shop. This saves you the trouble of frying the glutinous flour! All you need to do is to pour the entire packet of Snow Skin Mix into a mixing bowl. Add 70 g of shortening, 260 ml of cold water and 1/2 tsp of emulco or paste. I added pandan paste!

Pandan Paste

Snowskin Mooncake

Here’s how it looks liks after throwing all ingredients mentioned above into a big mixing bowl!

#2 – KNEAD THE DOUGH

Now you are so close to making your very own snowskin! Use your hands to mix and knead until well combined. It should look something like this after 10-15 minutes.

Snowskin

Leave it to rest for 30 minutes.

Snow skin dough

After 30 minutes…
When you press onto the dough and release pressure, the dough should bounce back to shape (not entirely but significantly).

#3 – DIVIDE LOTUS PASTE INTO EQUAL PORTION

I planned to make mini mooncakes, each weighing about 50 g. After some trial and errors, I realised that the best ratio is 1:1. Meaning, use 25 g of snowskin to wrap 25 g of lotus paste. Perfect!

lotus paste

This is optional but if you like, you can add some almond or melon seeds into your paste.

#4 – WRAP AND MOULD

Here are the final steps! Divide the snowskin into equal portion (25 g each), roll and flatten the snowskin such that it’s big enough to wrap the lotus paste.

mould

Now press it hard onto the mould. You want a clean and prominent print. Remember to coat your mould with flour by dipping your mould in a bowl of flour and knocking off the excess every single time you use it. You don’t want the snowskin to stick onto your mould.

mooncake

TA~DA! YOU ARE READY TO SERVE!

If you are not consuming them, keep these little green gems in the fridge. I personally like them chilled.

There you go, homemade Snowskin Lotus Mooncake in four simple steps! Too simple. Now I’m considering making Durain Snowskin Mooncakes!!!

 

(Click on image for printable Lotus Snowskin Mooncake Recipe)

Snowskin mooncake recipe

 

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, folks!!!

Continue Reading

WESA Bakery - Chocoffee Macarons

Macarons are the MOST famous cookies in the world! They crown our coffee breaks and tea times. Who can resist their colourful shells and luscious fillings?

As ‘upscale’ as they may seem to be, these cookies are not impossible to make, but they can be very finicky. And if you are about to stat web searching for the best Chocoffee Macarons, look no further. I’ve spent much time discovering this formula and da~dah – here you go, a recipe made to impress. Don’t worry, I will share some tips and tricks along the way.

Before I unleash the recipe, here’s why I call it “Chocoffee Macarons”. All because it’s a good blend of CHOcolate and COFFEE! Look, I’ve just coined this word! But having coffee in the macaron means it isn’t quite suitable for kids. So just replace the same amount of coffee powder with cocoa powder and your kids can enjoy the same (though, it wouldn’t taste as good as the Chocoffee version).

Alright, now back to my CHOCOFFEE MACARONS RECIPE. This is simple to make.
(Printable Chocoffee Macarons Recipe available at the end of the post)

INGREDIENTS FOR MACARONS

  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 110 g of icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 large egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 5 tbsp of caster sugar

DIRECTIONS FOR MACARONS

FIRST

Place almond flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt in a food processor and pulse for about one minute until fine and combined. Then sift mixture into a large bowl, set aside.

SECOND

Eggs

 

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl. I used 65 grams eggs. Make a meringue by beating egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add caster sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form and the whites are shiny. Do not overwhip.

THIRD

mix

Fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites in three batches until the dry ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix or the meringue will deflate.

FOURTH

chocolate in da bag

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag. Then cut a small hole at the tip of the bag and start pipping. Pipe out 1.25 inches rounds onto the macaron silicon mat.

FIFTH

macarons

Let the batter sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until a skin forms on top of the macarons. You can make macarons in batches of 18, 30, or 48. I bought the mat that allows me to make 48 macarons at one go because they are all gone too soon and I will have to make a new batch of Chocoffee Macarons again. Or maybe, I might try a new flavour later. Meanwhile, preheat your oven at 160°C and arrange rack in the middle.

(Click on highlighted text to buy)

SIXTH

macarons

Bake for 14 minutes, or until macarons are dry with “feet”. Do not overbake. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and cool completely.

INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOFFEE GANACHE

  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 115 g of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp of coffee powder

DIRECTION FOR CHOCOFFEE GANACHE

mixture for filling

  1. Place the chocolate and coffee powder in a large bowl.
  2. In a small pot, heat the heavy cream over medium heat unit it just comes to a boil.
  3. Pour the hot cream into the bowl of chocolate and coffee powder. Allow it to stand for about a minute before adding the butter.
  4. Stir the mixture until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
  5. Chill the ganache for at least 30 minutes or until it is firm yet still spreadable.

TO ASSEMBLE

chocoffee macarons

Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. If you choose to pipe the ganache, transfer it to a pastry bag and snip about 1 cm off the tip, then squeeze the ganache to about 1 tsp onto the centre of a macaron shell. I chose to scoop the ganache. It’s really up to you. Next top with another macaron shell and press gently. The filling should not ooze out the edges. Once you are done with the rest of the macarons, refrigerate, covered, for at least 24 hours before serving.

Macarons should always be stored in an airtight container and they should be eaten within 4 to 5 days. If storing for more than a day, store in fridge. Take them out of the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before eating so they come back to room temperature. That way, their flavour will be at its best.

 

Chocoffee Macarons Recipe

(Click on image for printable recipe)

 

You got to try the Chocoffee Macarons! The ultra rich chocolate flavour with a hint of espresso is THE perfect combination. This macaron shell is thin and crisp on the outside and divinely soft and chewy on the inside.

Happy baking!

Ciao.

Continue Reading

Almond and Chocolate Chip Muffin

I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but this is the best ALMOND & CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN I’ve ever eaten. Even better than the Chocolate Chip Muffins I baked some two days ago. Light crisp on the outside, fluffy, soft and moist on the inside. So yummy, I couldn’t stop eating (I ate three muffins at a go). Everyone at home loves them, the young, the old. This is a keeper!

INGREDIENTS

  • 175 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 58 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 90 g caster suger
  • 1 egg (55 g)
  • 123 g whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup crashed almond

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Toss together the flour, baking powder, salt, crashed almond and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla paste. Slowly add dry ingredients. Gently fold together until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into a 12-mini-muffin-cup-tray and bake at 220°C for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C and bake for another 5 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy the mini muffins warm.

NOTE

  • This recipe makes 12 mini muffins (5 cm in diameter). Double ingredients when making 12 normal size muffins (7 cm in diameter).
  • Can store muffins in airtight container at room temperature for one week. However, muffins taste best when consumed on the same day.

 

Click below image for printable recipe

Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe

Continue Reading

Chocolate Chip Muffin

INGREDIENTS

  • 175 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 58 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 90 g caster suger
  • 1 egg (55 g)
  • 123 g whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Toss together the flour, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla paste. Slowly add dry ingredients. Gently fold together until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into a 12-mini-muffin-cup-tray and bake at 220°C for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C and bake for another 7-8 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy the mini muffins warm.

 

NOTE

  • This recipe makes 12 mini muffins (5 cm in diameter). Double ingredients when making 12 normal size muffins (7 cm in diameter).
  • Can store muffins in airtight container at room temperature for one week. However, muffins taste best when consumed on the same day.

 

Click below image for printable recipe

Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Continue Reading

I’m not sure if you know how incredibly, ridiculously easy it is to make your own Peanut Butter from scratch.

I never thought it was possible for me to do something like this until yesterday and I just have to share it with you.

Homemade Peanut Butter beats those commercial Peanut Butter as you need not worry about the presence of preservative or hydrogenated oil. It’s nice to know what you are eating and have control over them. The downside is a shorter shelf span (though this is not something I need to worry about because they will all be gone before it becomes a problem). However, don’t expect to get a repro of “Skippy” for example. But if you are one who loves healthy and nutritional homemade product, then try this!

And if you must know what’s in those commercial Peanut Butter, this is a good read.

2015 06 22 - WESA Bakery - Peanut Butter Recipe

Click on image for a printable A4 sized recipe

 

STEP ONE

Step 1 - Rinse nut

Rinse the raw peanuts under running water. Pat dry with kitchen towel and leave it to air dry. I used “Sun Kee” raw peanuts and you can easily get them from NTUC.

 

STEP TWO

Step 2 - Place it on baking tray and roast it in the oven

I baked the peanuts for 30 minutes and it was a tad bit over roasted. Check your peanuts often to make sure they don’t get over done, else you might end up with a jar of charred peanut butter. Ok, I exaggerated. Not charred, but a little bit of, just a little bit of bitter burnt taste. It was a spoiler but the overall texture was awesome! It didn’t stop my family from eating them. Will try this again and make sure my peanuts don’t get over roasted.

 

STEP 3

Step 3 - Stir peanuts every 10 min

Remember, do not overcook your peanuts like I did.

 

STEP 4

Step 4 - Remove from oven and leave to cool

Give it a taste check.

 

STEP 5

Step 5 - Remove peanut skin then grid

Remove the peanuts skin only after they are cooled. You don’t want to burnt your fingers, do you?

 

STEP 6

Step 6 - Peanut texture will turn from being coarse to fine and finally becomes sticky

Place 2 cups of peanuts into the blender and grind until texture turns sticky.

 

STEP 7

Step 7 - Add Honey, salt and oilIf you reserved some nuts for chunky peanut butter, add them in now and pulse a few times to incorporate.

 

STEP 8

Step 8 - Keep in jar

Transfer the oh-so-healthy-and-yummy peanut butter to a jar and store in the fridge.

 

BENEFITS OF PEANUT BUTTER

Adapted from Health Ambition

I don’t know why I feel the need to convince you that peanut butter is healthy and actually beneficial to our health, especially homemade peanut butter like the one above, I just had to do so.

It is absolutely a myth that peanut butter is unhealthy and makes you fat, because on the contrary, it actually aids in weight loss!

No. 1 – It Helps You Lose Weight

It may sound crazy but it’s not. Despite all it’s fat content, researches from all over the world had already established that peanut butter is actually good for you. Its protein and fiber content makes you feel fuller for longer. This means, you are less likely to crave junk food and it also means that you eat less overall, and thus make losing weight easier.

No. 2 – Source of Protein

Two tablespoons of peanut butter are what you should consume if you want to stay on the healthy end of the peanut butter consumption scale. These 2 tablespoons pack in 7 g of protein. This is why peanut butter on toast makes for a great breakfast or mid morning meal choice. As a protein-rich food, when you eat peanut butter, you feel full longer. Additionally, the protein is also good for building and repairing muscles, which is especially important if you work out a lot.

No. 3 – Heart Friendly

Asked the Harvard Medical School if the health benefits of peanut butter extended to heart health, their answer is a resounding “YES”. Peanut butter has its share of saturated food, but like olive oil, it also has a high percentage of unsaturated helping it qualify itself for the healthy camp. When consumed in moderate amounts, eating a healthy peanut butter like this can actually improve your heart health, especially when compared to those who seldom or never eat nuts.

No. 4 – More Potassium

Peanut butter acts as an excellent source of potassium, and potassium can go a long way towards countering the dangers of sodium.

No. 5 – Healthy Fat

A common worry about eating peanut butter is the fat content. However, as mentioned above, peanut butter contains more unsaturated fat than saturated fat. This means, it is actually a great source of “healthy fats”. A healthy body needs a good supply of healthy fats and like olive oil and avocado, peanut butter is a friendly fat food.

No. 6 – Energy Booster

As already discussed, peanut butter contains good amounts of healthy fats and protein. This means it contains plenty of calories that will give you lots of energy for your activities. Again, perfect for a morning meal as it gives you an energy hit for the day.

No. 7 – Fiber Rich

Two tablespoon serving of peanut butter not only packs in lots of protein but also gives you 2 grams of fiber. Adequate consumption of fiber is important for the healthy functioning of your body and of course you can get more fiber from other meals but peanut butter can help supplement this.

No. 8 – Packed with Nutrients

Protein, fiber, healthy fats, potassium and now antioxidants, magnesium and others too. The list of good things about peanut butter just go on. One serving of peanut butter will give you at least 3 mg of the antioxidant Vitamin #. Additionally, you will also get magnesium (about 49 g) which is excellent for bone building and muscle recovery and a small but still important amount (0.17 mg) of vitamin B6 that help bookst your immunity. You can also find a small amount of zinc in peanut butter and this too can act as a good immunity booster.

 

In the nutshell, it is healthy for you, your little one, and the entire family!

Continue Reading

Cheese lover?

If not, skip this post altogether.

My hubby and daughter love cheese and since Father’s day is around the corner, we have a reason to celebrate. And we need a cake! Actually, we need no reason to bake a cake but having a purpose makes baking more meaningful, no?

I’ve seen so many recipes on Japanese Cheesecake that promise a soft and fluffy texture but I’m not sure which to try. So I filtered a handful that looked intriguing, adjusted the ingredient portion based on my gut feelings (not scientific, I know, but I’m a cancerian), and with a stroke of luck, I present to you my virgin Velvety Smooth Japanese Cheesecake.

Japanese Cheese Cake Recipe

Click on image for a printable A4 sized recipe

 

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of cheese cake. In fact, this is my first time baking and eating one. But my hubby and daughter like it, and that’s all that matters. They like the velvety smooth, creamy and fluffy texture. Besides, my cheesecake isn’t too sweet, so it’s ok if Sonia wants a second serving.

 

TIPS & TRICKS: Read this before you bake

Which brand of cheese did you use

cheese

I go for the most popular brand – Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It had worked for many avid bakers so I took their recommendation. I always do my research before baking because ‘why go through the same heartaches, learn from their mistake, don’t make the same ones’. (wink)

What type of eggs you use

55g eggs

I’m not an egg professional. I can’t tell the difference between corn egg, carrot egg, omega egg, cholesterol free egg and what not, but from my previous experience with baking a Pandan Cake, I learn that using eggs of different sizes will affect the outcome of you cake. For this recipe, I used 55g eggs.

What kind of cake pan to use

8-inch cake pan

The recipe asked for an 8-inch one-piece cake pan but I only had a 9-inch springform cake pan, so I made do with it. But, really, save yourself the trouble and go buy the right cake pan. The result of using the wrong type of cake pan – (1) a too shallow cake, not tall enough, and (2) it leaked and allowed water to seep into the cake. Only the top 2/3 of my cake was nice and fluffy. I had to cut the bottom 1/3 of the cake away because it was a little damp. If you really have to use a springform cake pan, remember to wrap a double layer aluminium foil around your pan to prevent water from seeping in.

How to prevent the surface of the cheesecake from peeling and cracking

As you might have already noticed, the surface of my cheesecake wasn’t all smooth but thankfully there wasn’t any crack. So what went wrong? It was smooth when I took it out of the oven, de-pan and place it on the rack. But when I tried transferring the cheesecake into my cake container after the cake has cooled down, the ‘skin’ sticked on to the baking paper I used to transfer the cake. After much research, I realised that once the cake cools, the ‘skin’ becomes damp and sticks to whatever you are using to de-pan or transfer the cake. So do whatever you need to do when the cake is still warm.

Why didn’t my cheesecake crack?
Because I used a light coloured cake pan. A dark coloured pans will absorb heat easily and cause the sides of the cake to bake faster than the middle, thus resulting in a cracked cake. Also, try to avoid opening the oven door while the cheesecake is baking inside. Big cracks are often caused by drafts and temperature changes. Once the cheesecake is done in the oven, simply turn the over off and leave the oven door ajar for 10 minutes before removing. A sudden change in temperature will often cause cracking.

What do you mean by water-bathing the cake

It means that you have to use 2 pans for your cheesecake. Place the 8-inch cake pan that holds the cheesecake into a larger pan with hot water inside. Bake it with both pans, so the water on the second pan heats up to help cook the other. This method is used because the hot water steam will ensure even baking, thus reduce the likelihood of a cracked top.

When baking is done, remove the inner pan and leave the larger pan with water in the oven until it cools down completed. It is easier to move a pan that isn’t filled with near boiling water around the kitchen.

 

Have fun baking!

Continue Reading

“3 is a good number. Good things always come in 3. And 3 is my favourite number. Oh, my girl just turned 3! How did 3 years just past like it was only 3 months? It must have been an un~un~un~un~unbelievable good 3 years, and the next 3 years will be better, the next 30 years, incredible, and the next 300 hundred years, stupendous! Happy birthday, my gem!”

Since May, Sonia had been looking forward to her birthday because she believes that she will grow taller when she reaches three. I don’t know where she has gotten this idea from but she says this a lot “mama, I haven’t three years old, not taller yet. On my birthday, I will be taller”. And it always tickles us! We all had a good laugh! And somehow being “3” means that she is capable of doing more things by herself.

“Mama, I cannot sleep by myself yet because I haven’t three years old. When I three years old, I can sleep by myself already!” ~ Sonia

“Mama, you need to help me brush my teeth because I haven’t three years old yet. When my birthday comes, then I can brush my teeth myself.” ~ Sonia

“Mama, you must hold my hand (when she is attempting to write) because I not yet three years old. Next time when I am three years old, I can write on my own.” ~ Sonia

Etc, etc, etc…

So “3” is the magic number?

She seems to think that when she reaches three, she will be taller, smarter, more mature, more independent and ready to fly! Another reason why she is looking forward to her birthday is because, I promised to make her an ICE-CREAM BIRTHDAY CAKE!

No, she had not eaten ice-cream, ever, until two days ago when I took her to the ice-cream stall to choose her favourite ice-cream flavour. The first time she tasted ice-cream, that look, that pair of glittering eyes, that smile – P.R.I.C.E.L.E.S.S. Even the lady manning the ice-cream stall was astonished to see how happy and contented a child can be, just tasting ice-cream. She slowly, very slowly, savoured her ice-cream, one spoonful after the other, trying to pick her favourite. It wasn’t hard to guess which flavour she chose – STRAWBERRY (only because it’s P.I.N.K). Her mummy, me, isn’t a fan of strawberry flavoured ice cream so I got a quart of vanilla ice-cream too. I’m sure it will pair well with her ‘favourite’ strawberry!

Strawberry and Vanilla Ice Cream from New Zealand Natural

This is probably the simplest two-ingredient cake I have ever made.

2-ingredient ice cream cake

INGREDIENTS

(9-inch cake)

  • 1 quart of vanilla ice-cream
  • 1 pint of strawberry ice-cream
  • 1 layer of white cake (any kind of white cake and if you are lazy, just buy a ready made plain cake from the bakery)

 

METHOD

Almost idiot proof. There is no way you can screw this up.

  • Let the ice-cream sit out on the counter until it’s runny or at least soft enough to spread (about 30 minutes)
  • Meanwhile, cover your 9-inch cake pan with a layer of plastic wrap, in case it leaks.
  • Spread a layer of runny ice-cream on the cake pan and leave it to harden in the freezer.
    *Make sure the ice-cream is harden. I was lazy and didn’t wait till it was totally harden so my white cake sinked to the bottom. Opss!
  • After the first layer of ice-cream is harden, place your white cake on the pan and then pour in the remaining runny ice-cream (if you bought a ready made cake and it isn’t 9-inch big, no sweat, just tear the cake into pieces and layer it nicely)
  • Now put the whole thing in the freeze and get on with your day.
  • When it’s time to celebrate, flip the cake pan and place it on a plate or cake stand.
  • Wrap a warm cloth around the cake pan for a couple of minutes (mine took about 3 minutes), you will hear a soft thump.
  • Now remove the the cake pan.
  • You’re ready to serve.

Easy peasy, right?

You can garnish it with fruits or chocolate, or not. Just stick some birthday candles and you are good to go!

 

family

 

Ice-cream cake wasn’t all. Sonia had heaps of presents from us all!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I wrapped all her presents in pink wrapping paper because she loves P.I.N.K. so so much!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She was so spoiled! So many toys all in one night!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And her favourite? I would have guess, the Dominos but she chose the Monkey Balance toy. Anyway, we all had an awesome family time and we were glad Sonia enjoyed herself throughly.

Happy birthday, sweetheart! Daddy and Mummy love you very much! Very very much! Very very very much!

* If you wonder where Arnold was? He was asleep already. His usual sleep time is at 7.30pm. Opss, he missed out some fun!

Continue Reading

Lately, I have been baking quite a bit and am very determined to bake the pandan cake well. After six attempts, I finally baked a decent cake. This tasted so much better than the first, or second, or third, or fourth or fifth. I’ve tried various recipes, tweaked and changed a little here and a little there and finally gotten THIS.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

INGREDIENT A

  • 7 egg yolks
  • 75g fresh coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp fresh pandan extract (see here for instructions)
  • 1/2 tbsp pandan paste (optional, if you prefer heavier pandan taste)
  • 150g cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 105g sugar
  • 83g sunflower oil

INGREDIENT B

  • 7 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tar tar (optional)
  • 105g caster sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat over at 160 degree Celsius
  2. Combine egg yolks, coconut milk, pandan extract and pandan paste in a mixing bowl. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture and sugar into the bowl. Add oil and whisk everything to combine.
  3. In a separate clean bowl (must be VERY clean, oil free), beat egg whites, cream of tar tar and sugar together till forms soft peaks.
  4. Slowly fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture. After which, pour the entire egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour in tube pan.
  6. Bake for 48 minutes (do not open oven).
  7. Flip the pan upside down against a bottle on kitchen counter and let it cool for an hour.
  8. Loosen side of cake with knife.
  9. Ready to serve!

LESSONS I’VE LEARNT

  • Do not use non-stick pan. The cake will sink and not expand as it should. Use only traditional aluminum tube tins.
  • Make your own pandan extract from fresh pandan leaves. Pandan essence doesn’t taste half as good.
  • I used 55g eggs. Tried using 65g eggs and failed. Yes, egg size matters. If you only have 65g eggs, you may want to use 6 eggs instead of 7.
  • Use a CLEAN bowl when beating egg whites. Oil on the surface of an improperly cleaned bowl will corrupt an egg white foam, coating the proteins and inhibiting their ability to link up with each other to firm the flexible web needed to trap air bubbles.
  • Throw the entire bowl of egg whites if you accidentally spill a little bit of yolk into your whites before whipping. Egg yolks contain fat. Even a speck of yolk can prevent a bowl of egg whites from whipping properly, so if some yolk winds up in your whites, you should discard the contents of the bowl, wash it scrupulously, and start again. To prevent waste and bother, separate your eggs one at a time in a small bowl, transferring each successfully separated whites to a larger mixing bowl as you go. This way, you won’t waste the entire bowl of eggs.
  • Use room-temperature eggs. They whip up better than cold ones. The coiled proteins in egg whites will relax slightly as they warm up, so that whipping them will take lesser time.
  • Whip the whites by themselves at least until they reach a foamy, almost soft peak stage before adding sugar. (Reason being the sugar will slow down the incorporation of air into the mixture.)
  • Use cake flour, not all-purpose-flour. Different types of flour have different amounts of protein. Protein provides strength and structure to baked goods. In general, cake flour has between 7.5% and 9% protein, and all-purpose-flour has a protein content of about 12%. Low-protein cake flour will give the cake a soft and tender crumb. All-purpose-flour will result in a tougher cake. It’s good for baking cookies though, since it gives them a nice shape.

Baking is science.

I wish you success in baking your pandan cake! Good luck!

Continue Reading

Last Monday, after pilates class, I had some three-hour free time before picking Sonia up from school. I contemplated between taking a nap and steaming Kuey Neng Ko. Well, I was really tired (since I managed to sleep for only five hours last night) but I chose the later.

My grandma used to make Kuey Neng Ko for us to eat but ever since she passed on, I’ve never eaten one anymore (hmmm, maybe I did, once, made by my 姑姑). 姑姑’s Kuey Neng Ko is luscious but I still missed grandma’s cake. I remembered how she scolded us when we spoke of anything that could possibly “resulted” in a crack less cake or a “bald” head. There were lots of taboos and pantang larang!

I missed her! And I want to do something that reminds me of her presence.

There you go, my version of Kuey Neng Ko…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is relatively easy to make this cake, except it requires A. LOT. OF. ARM. STRENGTH. No pun intended.


 

Here is a list of ingredients you need:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 9 large eggs
  • 500g of caster sugar
  • 500g of flour
  • 200ml of F&N ice cream soda

METHODS:

  1. Beat eggs and sugar till fluffy and batter turned thick and pale (I didn’t have an electrical mixer so I did it by hand. Boy, it was really tiring. I couldn’t feel my hands after beating the eggs!!!)
  2. Sift flour and soda drink into the mixture of eggs and sugar
  3. Pour the cake batter into little cup cake sleeves
  4. Sprinkle sugar on the surface of the cake batter to form a cross (this is essential to create a crack effect, and do this fast, otherwise the sugar tend to sink).
  5. Steam over high heat for about 15 minutes (steam longer if your cake is bigger)
  6. Serve after slightly cooled

My version of Kuey Neng Ko wasn’t as yummy as grandma’s or 姑姑’s but they were…. edible lah~ For the least, no one had diarrhea from eating my cake 😉 And most importantly, both my children love eating the Kuey Neng Ko I cooked!

Continue Reading