Copycat Sara Lee Pound Cake

Recently, my spouse and son got hooked on to Sara Lee cakes again.  I just to admit, Sara Lee cakes are really nice when I'm not a baker. But since I started baking, I find the cake sweet and looking at the ingredients, it doesn't sound too healthy isn't it? So I searched for a similar recipe and found from this site. It looked easy to attempt. However, my pound cake didn't yield the exact same look as hers. I wondered how to achieve the dense, no-holes look. However, the taste was nice and dense. Fortunately, my hubby likes it.
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Recipe for Copycat Sara Lee Pound Cake, adapted from Copykat.
(Makes a regular loaf)

Ingredients: 

113g Unsalted butter, softened

120g Caster sugar
3 Eggs

137g Cake flour
15g Dry powdered milk
10g Corn syrup
juice of half a small lemon
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Baking powder

Method:
  1. Allow butter to reach room temperature. 
  2. Cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.  
  3. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.  
  4. Add in flour, powdered milk, baking powder, and corn syrup. Beat each in well.  Add juice of half a lemon, salt and vanilla. Make sure everything is well blended, and pour into a greased loaf pan.  
  5. Bake at 170C for 45 minutes, checking for done-ness by inserting a toothpick and seeing if it comes out clean. You almost want to under bake this.
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Walnut Butter Cake

cake_walnutbutter04 A sudden craving to eat Walnut Butter Cake prompted me to bake one. This butter cake is light and buttery. Even though it took a few more additional steps because of it's method, I think it's really worth it as it creates a light cake. This will be a keeper for me.

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Recipe for Walnut Butter Cake, adapted from Domestic Goddess Wannabe.
(Makes a 8" round cake)

Ingredients:
250g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
4 Egg yolks
80g Caster sugar
180g Self-raising flour, sifted
A pinch of salt
70g Walnuts, toasted and ground
60g Whole milk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
4 Egg whites
70g caster sugar
1 tsp Corn flour
Some chopped walnuts for topping (approx. 30g)

Method:
1. Mix ground walnuts, salt and flour together. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, beat together butter and sugar until the mixture turns pale and fluffy.
3. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and continue beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
4. Fold in the dry ingredients and milk in the sequence flour-milk-flour. Mix until the flour is just incorporated. Set this aside.
5. In another clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy.
6. Add the corn flour in the sugar and mix well. Then gradually add the sugar, whisking all the while until stiff peaks form.
7. Transfer 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture. Fold well with a spatula.
8. Gently fold in the remaining meringue in 2 batches, until no white streaks remain.
9. Pour the batter into a lined 8" round pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle some walnuts on top.
10. Bake at 170°C for 45 mins. (I bake mine at 160C for 50mins on the 3rd rack.)
11. When the cake is done, (insert a skewer it the cake and if it emerges cleanly it is done), let the cake rest for 5 minutes in the pan before carefully transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely. (I overturned my cake and let it cool completely before unmoulding.)
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Pandan Buns

It has been a while since I updated my blog. For the past two months, I had been really busy and lazy. My helper had gone back for her home leave during the one month school holiday. On top of it, I was hospitalised for a couple of days due to colon inflammation. It wasn't a "productive" month for me in terms of cooking and baking. I have since recovered and have resumed my normal activities. Life has resumed since my helper is back, school has started and work continues.

My friend passed me some of her organic homegrown pandan leaves a while ago. Luckily, her leaves survived well in my fridge. I was able to extract them and made them into Pandan Buns. The kitchen was very fragrant when it was baking. The buns were soft and fluffy, but not light though. 

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Recipe for Pandan Buns, modified from Super Soft Bread from Victoria Bakes.

(Makes 17 regular buns)

Ingredients:

520g Bread flour
6g Instant dry yeast
380g Hydration (28g pandan extract + 25g coconut cream + 140g whipping cream and topped up the rest with full cream milk)
60g Caster sugar
4g Fine salt
65g butter

Method:


1. Mix all ingredients, except butter, together and knead till you get a silky and elastic dough. Approximately 3 mins on low speed.

2. Incorporate butter and knead till window pane stage (crucial). Approximately 8mins on medium-high speed. Test for window pane.
3. Let the dough rest for 15mins on the table top, covered with a cloth or cling wrap.
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4. Weigh each dough to be 62g (approximately 60-62g). It will yield about 17 pieces.
5. Shape it round, and placed in a tray pan, spacing them out.
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6. Let it proof for about 45mins. 
7. At 45th mins, pre-heat oven to 170C.
8. Meanwhile, brush the dough with milk.
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9. When the oven is ready, about 15mins later, bake in the lower rack for 16mins, tenting the bread if needed during the last 2 mins.

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Serve with kaya or just simply eat it plain.

Matcha Azuki Fresh Cream Cake

On the last Saturday of April, I hosted dinner for my family. I decided to bake a matcha cake for dessert since I will be cooking Japanese curry rice. The cake was really easy to bake and assemble. My family loved the cake very much as it was soft and light.
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Recipe for Matcha Azuki Beans Fresh Cream Cake

Sponge cake adapted from Jeannie's blog.
(Makes a 9" cake, though original was stated as 8")

Ingredients:
6 Large egg yolks
70g Cooking oil
100g Water
90g Cake flour
12g Matcha powder
1/2 tsp salt

6 Egg whites
100g Caster sugar
1/4 tsp Corn flour

Method:

1. Line the bottom an 9″ round pan. Preheat oven to 160C.
2. Sift flour and matcha powder together. Add in salt.
3. Beat egg yolks, oil together until combined before adding water. Stir well.
4. Stir in the flour. Set aside.
5. Beat egg whites until frothy. Add corn flour into sugar to mix. Continue beating while gradually adding the sugar and corn flour. Beat till soft peaks.
6. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk batter with a hand whisk. Add another 1/3 and fold until almost combined. Add the last portion and switch to a spatula to scoop the batter from the bottom of the bowl and fold up. Keep at it until no streaks of yolk batter can be seen.
7. Pour into prepared pan and bake with a water bath at 160C for 70 minutes or until cooked.
8. Remove from oven, and invert it on a wire rack to cook completely.

Assembly:
350g Whipping cream, whipped
35g Caster sugar
200g Azuki beans in a can

1. Slice the cake into 4 layers.
2. Whip the cream with sugar till thick and stiff.
3. Spread the whipping on the first layer of the cake. Add Azuki beans and spread evenly.
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4. Repeat for two more layers.
5. For the final layer, spread with whipping cream and decorate as desired.
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6. Chill before consuming. cake_matchaazuki05

Walnut Maple Buttercream Cake for Mother's Day

Recently I discovered a nice blog - Jeannie Tay's blog which she shared many recipes. Her pictures showed how lovely her bakes turned out, which prompted me to try some. Since it's Mother's Day weekend, I decided to bake a Walnut Maple buttercream cake for my mum.
cake_walnutmaple10 cake_walnutmaple12 Recipe for Walnut Maple Buttercream Cake

Walnut butter cake, adapted from Jeannie.
(Makes a 7" round cake)

Ingredients:
3 Egg yolks (70g with shell)
20g Castor sugar
113g Unsalted butter, melted n cooled
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
70g Plain flour
56g Walnuts, roasted and chopped
1/2 tsp Baking powder

3 Egg whites
70g Castor sugar
1/4 tsp Corn flour

Method:

1. Line the bottom of two 7" round cake pans. Preheat oven to 150C.
2. Whisk yolks and sugar till light and fluffy. Add melted butter, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
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3. Mix the corn flour into the sugar. Whisk egg whites until frothy, then gradually add sugar into the whites and beat till firm peaks.
4. Sift flour into yolk mixture and mix. Add in chopped walnuts. Batter is very thick and almost unfoldable at this stage. 
5. Add 1/3 meringue to loosen the gluten. Continue to fold in the remaining meringue 1/3 at a time. 
6. Pour equally into two baking pans. Shake gently from side to side to level the batter.
7. Baked at 150 degrees at lowest rack for 30mins or till golden brown. Test with a skewer for doneness before removing from the oven.
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8. Unmould immediately and place them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Maple Italian Meringue Buttercream
(Makes enough to frost a 3 layer 7" cake or a 2 layer 8" cake)

Ingredients:
60g Water
150g Sugar
3 Egg whites
250g Unsalted butter
2 tbsp Maple Syrup

Method:

1. Boil water and sugar till rolling ball stage, which is about 115C. This takes approximately 5mins on medium heat.
2. At 3mins, whisk egg whites on the mixer on low speed till frothy.
3. When the sugar solution is ready, turn the mixer speed on medium-low and start pouring in the sugar gradually, slowly and steadily.
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4. Then turn the mixer speed to medium and continue beating till the meringue cools down.
5. Change the whisk to k-beater and add in butter in three batches.
6. Continue beating till butter is incorporated into the meringue.
7. Add in maple syrup and mix well.
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Assembly:
1. Place one cake layer on the cake board.
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2. Spread with maple buttercream generously and evenly.
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3. Place another layer on top.
4. Coat the sides with buttercream and even it out.
5. Spread the top with buttercream and even it out.
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6. Pipe a heart shape on the cake top and add toasted chopped walnuts.
7. Sprinkle with maple syrup and decorate as desired.
8. Chill in the fridge.
9. Remove from the fridge 15mins before serving.
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Happy Mother's Day!


Cream Cheese Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cakes have always been a challenge for me. Sometimes I got it right, many times I just eat it! Still, I like to make chiffon cakes because even though the texture might not be right, it is still soft and light. For this recipe, I made three times, twice with cream cheese and once with shredded cheese. The results are all different! That is why I said chiffons are a challenge! It just won't be consistent...for me!
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Recipe for Cream Cheese Chiffon Cake, adapted from "初學者也ok !自己作職人配方的戚風蛋糕” by 青井聰子
(Makes a 20cm tube pan)

Ingredients:
6 Large eggs yolks (at least 70g with shell)
90g Cooking oil
60g Whole milk
100g Cream cheese
100g Sour cream
110g Cake flour
6 Egg whites
110g Caster sugar

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks lightly before adding oil and mix well.
2. Add in milk and mix to incorporate.
3. Add in cream cheese and sour cream and mix well till no lumps, if possible.
4. Sift in flour to incorporate.
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5. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites till frothy. Gradually add in sugar. Continue to whisk till egg whites reach firm peak stage.
6. Add egg whites to yolk mixture in 3 batches. Mix with whisk till almost even after each batch. Scrape down and fold with spatula till just evenly mixed.
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6. Pour batter into the prepared chiffon pan. Bake in preheated oven of 160C for about 45mins, till cake is well browned.
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7. Remove from the oven and invert before unmoulding.

Second bake yields the best taste and texture.
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