Chocolate souffle

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It was the little man’s sixth birthday a couple of weeks back and he had been asking for souffles. I stalled as much as I could but after a while, I just gave up. Well, watching Masterchef helped his cause as one of the pressure tests was…yes, you guessed it – making chocolate souffles!

Since it was a slow Sunday, I thought hey, why not make some souffles? The hubby had never had any despite being a French (gasp!) and before we knew it, we had some cute ramekins from Daiso, dark chocolate couvertures from the local baking supply shop and eggs.

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Banana Blueberry Minis

Banana Blueberry Minis

The other flavour for Eva’s Christmas party tomorrow (I managed to make time in between knitting and reviews on church chairs to churn out TWO flavours!). This muffin is gorgeously springy and moist plus the whole blueberries lend a lovely texture and gives you a pleasant surprise with each bite despite it oozing during the baking process. You could replace the blueberries with other type of berries but why change a lovely recipe like this? Tehehehe.

NOTE: You can replace the coconut milk and oil with butter and regular milk. The quantity of the sugar has been reduced by 25% from the original recipe but you can go down a little bit more – just not more than 35% (it’ll change the overall flavour and texture of the cake).

Banana Blueberry Minis

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup whole blueberries
1 1/2 whole bananas

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. In a bowl, mash the bananas before adding in the sugar, oil, egg & coconut milk. Stir until well incorporated.
  3. Add in the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon gently and when it’s almost incorporated, fold in the blueberries – take care to not overbeat. The mixture should look lumpy.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of the dough into a muffin tray until it’s about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  5. Enjoy them fresh or store in an airtight container to keep for later.
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Citrus Poppyseed Minis

Citrus Poppyseed Minis

We received word that there would be a Christmas party at Eva’s school in the afternoon and parents were asked if they could contribute either clementines, chocolates or cakes. On a whim, I picked cake and decided to churn out mini muffins in place of cakes to make it easier for the kids (and parents) to eat. Because Noah is sensitive to citrus, I made two flavours – citrus poppyseed and banana blueberry. You can substitute citrus with just lemon or orange or lime, poppyseed with some diced almonds.

While churning these muffins out, I discovered that the moulds I had were not enough and settled on a mini financier mould that I had purchased months earlier. Financier is a type of French cake that is similar to a sponge cake and usually baked in a rectangular mould, making it similar to petit fours in shape and size.

The result is a very cute and yummy cake that is not too sweet or overpowering. My mum – who is here for a visit – loved the strong orange flavour while I like the crunch. The hubby wolved down five at one go…a clear sign that he loves it!

NOTE: You can replace the coconut milk and oil with butter and regular milk. The quantity of the sugar has been reduced by 25% from the original recipe but you can go down a little bit more – just not more than 35% (it’ll change the overall flavour and texture of the cake).

Citrus Poppyseed Minis

Ingredients

2 cups self-rising flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange & lemon juice
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 large eggs
Zest from 1 orange & 1 lemon
2 tbsp poppyseed
1/2 tsp baking soda

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and baking soda together with the orange & lemon zest. Stir until well incorpoated.
  3. Add in the eggs and mix to break the yolks (but do not incorporate it fully into the flour) before adding in the juice, oil and coconut milk. Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon gently and when it’s almost incorporated, fold in the poppyseed – take care to not overbeat. The mixture should look lumpy.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of the dough into a muffin tray until it’s about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  5. Enjoy them fresh or store in an airtight container to keep for later.
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Coconut Buckwheat Soft Cookies

Coconut Buckwheat Soft Cookies

We were down to our last two cookies so I decided to make up another batch. Since chocolate was out, I was left with the usual flavours – coconut, fruit or plain. I remembered buying a packet of shredded coconut a few weeks earlier and decided on a coconut based cookie. One of my cookbooks featured a coconut oat cookie which I thought was interesting but I didn’t have enough quick cooking oats so I decided to replace them with buckwheat flakes which I usually add to Noah’s morning cereal to give it some texture.

Buckwheat is a wonderful gluten-free alternative that is packed with plenty of vitamins and minerals. I have been giving buckwheat regularly in the form of whole groats; this seed is commonly found here in France as ble de noir or farine de sarrasin (simply put, it is buckwheat flour) and you use this flour to make savoury crepes. I use the groats in Noah’s food, flakes in his cereal (together with millet puffs) and yes, in baked goods.

Do be forewarned, this recipe will give you a soft cookie due to the inclusion of buckwheat flakes. If you don’t have buckwheat, you can replace it with quick-cooking oats OR quinoa/millet/corn/wheat/rice flakes.

Coconut Buckwheat Soft Cookies
Adapted from Best Ever Cookies’ Coconut Oat Cookies recipe

Makes about 30 cookies depending on the size

Ingredients

175 gms / 2 cups buckwheat flakes
75 gms / 1 cup shredded coconut
225 gms / 1 cup butter or margarine
40 gms / 1/4 cup white sugar
40 gms / 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp yogurt
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
115 gms / 1 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C / 400°F.
  2. Spread the buckwheat flakes and coconut on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown, stirring frequently.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter or margarine with both white & brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the yogurt and vanilla essence. Fold in the flour and baking soda before adding in the toasted buckwheat flakes and coconut. Stir to incorporate all.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of the dough about 1-2 inches apart onto a baking tray and flatten slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Enjoy them fresh or store in an airtight container to keep for later.
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Lemon yogurt poppy seed cake

Lemon yogurt poppy seed cake

I’ve been making a lot of cakes this month to add some variety to Noah’s breakfast; on some days, he has cereal with fruit or yogurt with his cereal but I wanted to include something different in terms of texture into his meals. Hence the cake recipes thus far.

I chanced upon this while surfing the Internet (in between hunts for a stand with mount) for lemon poppy seed pound cakes and ended up making a variation of this instead. The poppy seeds gives the cake added crunch. The lemon flavour and taste is just nice and not too overpowering on the palate. Unlike my previous bakes, I used white sugar for this as I was trying to finish up whatever that I had left – I’m not very keen on using white sugar in baked goods as it doesn’t lend much flavour or moisture.

Do note that this is a dairy-free version – if dairy isn’t an issue, you can replace the margarine and soy yogurt with regular butter and cow’s milk yogurt. I reckon the cake would be even more fragrant! Tehehehe.

Lemon yogurt poppy seed cake
Adapted from Bake Your Day’s recipe here

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup margarine
Slightly less than 1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup soy yogurt
Zest & juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tbsp poppy seeds

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C and prepare a pan of your choice.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a another bowl, cream the margarine with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until fully incorporated
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients, alternating with the yoghurt, to the creamed margarine, eggs and sugar. Mix just until incorporated – be careful not to overbeat. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, lemon zest and poppy seeds, and stir until blended.
  5. When ready, pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10-15 mins before transferring to a wire rack.
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Banana & raisin bread

Banana & raisin bread

Because we’re in a need of some bread and the bananas were “dying”!

The original recipe called for 120 gms of sugar but I cut back on this as the bananas are already sweet plus I don’t like to use too much sugar in my baked goods. It can be overpowering! Raisins adds a nice, chewy texture to an otherwise light and fluffy bread that is still quite moist.

Banana & raisin bread
Adapted from Cooking Crave’s recipe here

Ingredients

3 large overripe bananas, mashed
50 g butter/margarine, melted
85 g brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking soda
200 g plain flour
1/2 cup raisins (I used golden, dark and sultanas)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C and prepare a grease pan of your choice.
  2. Add the melted butter/margarine into the mashed bananas and mix well before adding the sugar, vanilla essence and egg. Mix in well.
  3. Sift in the flour and baking soda and fold in until just incorporate. Add in the raisins and fold in. Be careful to not overmix.
  4. Pour into your pan of choice and bake for 50 minutes until golden brown. I like mine a little on the darker side but if you want yours to be light, cover the top with aluminium foil about 30 minutes after baking.
  5. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing. Stand on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy as it is or store in an airtight container in the fridge (to keep for a few days) or leave at room temperature (for 2-3 days).
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Molasses carrot cake

Molasses Carrot Cake

After watching a few episodes of Top Chef: Just Desserts (in between surfing, knitting and reviews on patagonia ultralight down shirts), I suddenly have a craving for carrot cake but I wanted something that the kids, specifically Noah, could enjoy. This meant no dairy and only ingredients that he is familiar with.

So after hunting around my recipe books and the Internet, I decided to improvise on the simplest recipe I could find – the one by Betty Crocker. I was intrigued by the low calorie option although the idea of using just 1 egg and 4 egg whites didn’t go down too well. So I just stuck with replacing 1/2 cup of oil with applesauce. Then I had the strangest idea – I wanted a dark, nearly toffee-like smelling cake so why not use the molasses I bought a while back? I usually like my cakes to be on the less-sweet side so I cut back on the sugar and sub 1/4 cup of the stuff for molasses.

The result is a moist, semi-light cake that reminds me a lot of Christmas and fruit cakes. Perhaps it’s the spices I used – cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s not a bad thing…in fact, I like it. I can’t really remember what carrot cakes are supposed to taste like – the ones I had in Malaysia always taste like buttercream more than carrot OR butter cake with carrot bits in it. The only change I would make would be to shred the carrots by hand as they appear to be too large – I used a food processor – but after looking at it again, it doesn’t seem to be all that bad.

Molasses carrot cake
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Carrot Cake recipe.

Ingredients

3 cups shredded carrot (about four medium sized carrots)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup dessicated coconut (optional; you can sub with chopped nuts, raisins and other dried fruit)
Slight less than 3/4 brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup olive oil
4 medium eggs
1 tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C and put aside a greased loaf pan or square pan.
  2. Mix the eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce and molasses until well combined before adding in the flour, vanilla essence, cinnamon and nutmeg powder. Stir until just lumpy.
  3. Fold in the coconut, coconut milk and shredded carrots. Mix well.
  4. When ready, pour into your pan and bake for 30-45 mins – test using a toothpick (it should come out clean if cooked).
  5. Leave to cool in the oven with the door ajar for 10 mins before removing it from the oven. Cool in the pan for an hour before removing it to place on the rake. Enjoy on its own or with frosting if you like
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Pandan chiffon cake

Eva enjoying some pandan chiffon cake!

On a whim, I decided to try my hand at making a pandan chiffon cake for the first time (people posting pictures of their chiffon cakes while I’m working on mens diamond rings reviews don’t help!). I wanted another flavour – lemon or orange – but didn’t have any on hand. Despite my pandan plant looking really sad, I was reluctant to lob off some leaves so have decided to use pandan paste and essence I purchased during my last trip to Paris Store in Lyon.

A quick search on google yield a lot – in fact, too many – results and I had to slowly go through them to pick them right ones. I finally settled for three and adapted my recipe to suit the chiffon cake tins I had stocked up on when we were packing to move from Singapore. They are mini chiffon cake tins from Phoon Huat – about 6-7″ in diameter – and because of their size, I had to halve the recipe…which required further time expanded into calculating and making sure I had everything I needed.

The result is an edible cake that is quite fragrant but still lacking in original flavour and taste. If you have access to real pandan leaves (about 10-20 small-medium sized leaves with 1/4 cup water should do the trick) and freshly squeezed coconut milk, USE IT. For someone who has no access to such luxuries these days, I’d have to settle for a twin. Someone isn’t really complaining tho (as you can see in the picture above) – she wolfed down a good three slices!

Pandan chiffon cake

Pandan chiffon cake
Adapted from Little Teochew, Kitchen Tigress and Kuali.com

Ingredients

(A) Egg yolk based batter

3 egg yolks (from large eggs)
35 gms coconut milk
1-2 tsp pandan essence/paste
75 gms all purpose flour/cake flour
2 gms baking powder
45 gms castor sugar (drop this to 40 gms – I find it a little on the sweet side)
1-2 gms salt (do not omit as this contributes to the flavour)
42 gms grapeseed oil/vegetable oil

(B) Meringue base
4 egg whites (from large eggs)
50 gms sugar (drop this to 45 gms)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C and put aside an ungreased chiffon cake tin. I used two mini chiffon cake tins but this should be okay for a big 15-18 cm tin, if you have one
  2. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolk. Place the egg whites in a separate clean and dry bowl and put aside for later use.
  3. Mix the egg yolk, sugar, coconut milk and pandan essence/paste well. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add in the oil as you’re folding in the flour. Be careful not to overbeat. I usually do this by hand. When it’s done, put aside.
  4. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whisk until foamy before gradually adding in the sugar – take your time. Do not dump all the sugar at once; this will result in clumps and lumps forming. Beat your egg whites until they resemble stiff peaks (you can lift the whisk and the egg whites will hold its own shape OR place the bowl over your head – if you don’t have a mess on your hair, you’re good to go!).
  5. Take a small amount of egg whites and fold it into the egg yolk batter. Use a spatula – not a whisk or wooden spoon. Be gentle and take your time. Once the egg whites are well-incorporate and your batter has been “tempered”, add in the remaining egg whites. Fold gently until they are well-incorporated.
  6. Slowly pour into the cake tins; jiggle the cake tin A LITTLE to ensure that everything is level (no banging please) and level and smooth the top if necessary.
  7. Place the cake tins on the lowest rake, lower the temperature to 150°C and bake for 45 minutes. When ready, immediately remove from the oven and invert it – I turn it upside down and placed it over glass jars. The higher it is from the table, the better. Let it cool for 30 minutes to an hour and remove with a serrated knife.

NOTE: Chiffon cakes don’t keep for long as they tend to dry out fast so this is best eaten fresh. If you must keep it, consider wrapping it in foil and storing in the fridge or placing it in an airtight container.

Pandan chiffon cake

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