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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Salted caramel peanut butter mini layer cake

Recently, hubby bought me a mini salted caramel cake that left the carb fearing person in me wanting for more. What to do when the cake shop is in town? I did the next best thing and got busy in the kitchen.
Flat tops are a must for layered cakes. This eliminates waste and spares the shaving away of the cake dome. For this, I have to tone down the baking temperature and increase the baking time.
For two 5-inch cakes, the original temperature of 176C is tweaked to 160C and baking time from 25 minutes to 35 minutes. I find the cake a wee dry even at 33 minutes ( yeah, I did an encore baking ! ). Nevertheless, 160C/35 minutes  was good enough for me to eat. In fact I had to control myself from devouring all of the cake trimmings ‘tainted’ with the frosting and caramel.  The difference for 160C/33 minutes was slight. Maybe I will tone down the temperature to 150C the next round and see if it yields a slightly tender crumb.
The cool and chill process is important for   crumb free frosting. I was rewarded for my patience because the cake turned out looking fabulous.
It was out of character to praise myself but I really love how final cake tastes. Perhaps it was the sea salt. Brown sugar is nice but sea salt makes it sparkles. Good thing this is a mini cake or else I will have to make another 10km run pretty soon.
The procedure is long so read it before baking. I find it useful to go through a mental picture of the process so that I don’t have to rummage my fridge or pantry halfway for things.

Credits : chocolatemoosey and JamieOliver (both adapted)

Peanut Butter Frosting:

Credits: Chocolatemoosey

50g creamy peanut butter + 20g unsalted butter, room temperature + 1/4 cup icing sugar +  1/8 tsp crushed sea salt + 1/4 teaspoon vanilla + 3 Tbsp heavy cream
This can be done when the cake is baking. Whisk all the above until combined.
Set aside.

Salted caramel
Credits: Adapted from JamieOliver
40g water + 80g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean extract + 60ml heavy cream + 10g unsalted butter + 1 tbsp sea salt
Bring water and sugar to boil. Remove from heat immediately.
Add essence, cream, butter and salt. Stir until all is dissolved.
Cool and set aside.

Cake dough
Credits : Chocolatemoosey ( Adapted )
Two 5 inch silicon trays, bottom greased
A: 50g plain flour + ¼ tsp baking powder, sieved
B: 50g unsalted butter, room temperature + 50g smooth peanut butter + 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup fine soft brown sugar
1 medium egg + ¼ tsp vanilla essence
6 Tbsp full cream milk
4 inch cooker cutter
3 pecans, toasted and cooled.
Coarse sea salt for garnish
Preheat oven to 170C with raised baking rack.
To make the dough, prepare two 5 inch silicon baking tray with greased bottom ( for insurance ). Set aside.
Set aside (A) flours in a single bowl.
In a mixer, beat (B) i.e. butter and peanut butter  and salt until combined.
Whisk in sugar until light.
Whisk in egg, vanilla until it is fluffy.
Add (A) flour in 3 batches. Alternate with milk in 2 batches. End the addition with dry ingredient.
Whisk until it forms ridges.
To prepare for baking, spoon equal amount of batter to the 2 silicon trays.
Drop the tray to spread out the batter.
Bake the cake at 160C ( reduced from preheat temp of  170C ) for 33 minutes. ( see my notes above )
When cool enough to handle, remove the 2 mini cakes. Cool further on tray lined with silpat.
Freeze for 10 minutes.
To assemble, work with the flat side of the cake facing you.
For the bottom layer, brush salted caramel on surface until it is totally drenched.
Spoon a generous dollop of frosting on the center of the bottom layer.
Place the top layer on the bottom frosted layer.
Press the top layer firmly until frosting peeks out from the cakes.
Use a 4 inch cooker cutter and cut out the layered dough.
Carefully discard the outer cake rim and remove the cutter.
Frost the surface of the top layer. Make patterns so caramel can on the surface.
Pour the caramel in desired pattern, letting a little drip down the layered cake.
Pressed down the pecans in the center of the frosting.
Sprinkle with sea salt.
To serve, bring out from the chiller for 15 minutes before eating.
Best with coffee.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bath buns

This bun makes its first appearance in my kitchen because I disliked store-bought buns.

This bun tastes better than expected because the minty fennel complements exceedingly well with the buttery richness of the bun. I omitted glazing the bun since they were rich enough on its own. Nothing beats freshly baked bread because they  taste awesome even without glaze.

From the enthusiastic approval from hubby, it seems there is a high possibility that the buns will make an encore appearance very soon.

Adapted from recipe by Georgia Levy in Jamie Magazine


125ml warm milk _ 3g of instant yeast
225g bread flour + 15g castor sugar + 100g semi soft unsalted butter
¼ tsp fennel seeds


Mix milk and yeast. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, use a paddle to ‘rub’ butter into the flour and sugar mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add yeast/milk mixture and knead for 10 minutes.
Leave it in the stand mixer to ferment, covered.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Note this temperature is 10C higher than baking temperature to compensate for temperature loss when oven door opens.
When dough doubles in bulk, transfer  the dough to a lightly floured worktop.
Make out 6 equal portions and roll into balls.
Lay out the dough balls on a lined baking tray. Slightly flatten it to accommodate the shape of your intended burger.
Leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Mist spray the buns just before putting into the oven.
Bake in the oven at 190C for 20 minutes.
Remove the buns to cool on a cooling rack.

Water chestnut Matigao cake

As a Teochew, I was only introduced to the world of Cantonese dimsum and snacks after getting to know my husband. It took him a while to get over his surprise that there are actually people who have never eaten dimsum all their life until adulthood, esp this water chestnut matigao cake. I find the snack underwhelming but the addition of copious amount of water chestnut does make me change my view of things eventually. 

I would have doubled the amount of water chestnut for this recipe but has to exercise self-restraint in order not to end up with an overly crunchy steamed cake. Maybe one day I shall throw caution into the wind and perhaps load the entire tray with water chestnuts so that it can truly live up to its name. For now, this recipe will do.

Credits: Adapted from Christine’sRecipe

For 10.


A: 150ml water + 80g brown sugar
B: 150ml water + 100g water chestnut flour + 2 tsp corn flour + 2 tsp canola oil
10 water chestnuts, chopped coarsely
Oiled tray for baking, 7 x 7 x 3 inches


Bring A to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and cook until the brown sugar is all dissolved.

Leave the solution to simmer as you get ready for the next step.

Combine B. In a steady stream, pour contents of B over a strainer into the sugar solution. Add waterchestnut.

Stir constantly and increase the heat to medium.

When the solution is thick and turns from opaque to slightly translucent, remove the pot from the heat source.

Transfer the thickened starch into the oiled tray.

Steam in a steamer for 45 minutes. When the waterchestnut cake is translucent, remove from the steamer to cool.

Cool completely before serving. This Matigao keeps well for 3 days if chilled.