Baked Cheese Tart

I actually had other recipe to share instead of this baked cheese tart, but it was my first success story of making these tarts and I was so happy and I couldn’t wait to share it in my blog.

Honestly, I usually don’t eat cheese tarts or cheese cake. I’m more of a chocolate cake person than cheese cake person. I love chocolate cake so much and I never have any cravings of cheese cake. So, I never care if there are new stores that sell cheese cake or cheese tarts just open and many people queue to buy to try the new products. Anything that has cream cheese inside as the fillings never attract my attention.

My son, on the other hand, is completely different. He loves cheese so much, and he can eat big portion of cheese cake all by himself. So, I made these tarts especially for him. If you ask me how close it was compared to the store bought ones, I can’t really tell because I had no comparison since I never eat other famous cheese tarts, but I can assure you they were delicious enough that my son could eat 2 servings as his dessert after his big dinner and for his snacks in between meals. He said it was so good, and it was enough for me, hahaha…………

I also tried and actually it was good. I used strawberry yogurt to balance the flavor and it worked really well. We loved them when they were cold and not warm (a bit strange since many people like their cheese cake warm…………). I also made the tart quite plain (I only used very little sugar and salt) to balance the strong flavor of the cream cheese. I do think that all the combination really worked well. The best thing was, I still could eat one piece of the tart and there was no strange after taste in my mouth after that which I usually had after eating store bought cake cake with cream cheese fillings, and I still wanted more…………………it was hard to admit, but I actually loved it too……………….I finally started to like the cheese tart. Even my husband, who likes chocolate more than cheese, also said the tarts were very delicious and he was quite surprised when I said I made them myself. He could ate two servings at once.

The structure of the filling was gooey and not runny. My son preferred gooey fillings because it was easier to eat (very simple reason, hahaha…………).  The gooey structure fillings resemble the Japanese Cheese Tarts, but if you want the tarts to be more authentic, you can use Hokkaido Milk which my son said taste better than any other milk (but expensive and not easy to get here). Anyway, the baking must go on and you use whatever brand (cream cheese, butter, milk, yogurt) that you have and you can still get delicious home made cheese tarts fresh from the oven.

I’ve made tart shells several times before, but I consider this as my big first success. I found new recipe that was so easy to make, and I didn’t even have to use a rolling pin (I’m not good at rolling the dough). This time, the tart shells didn’t even shrink and I was so happy with the result. This tart recipe was so awesome and I am certainly going to use this recipe and method next time. It was very easy to make and no need to keep the dough in the freezer before using it which saved my time.

If you see the black spots on top of the tarts, they actually came from my strawberry yogurt (see in the picture below of the texture of the strawberry yogurt that I used), but if you use plain one, you will not have the black spots.

If you find that buying cheese tarts is very expensive but you like them a lot, why not trying to make them at home? It was actually easier than I thought.

Ingredients For The Custard Cheese:

  1. 250 gr cream cheese
  2. 30 gr unsalted butter
  3. 30 gr grated cheddar cheese
  4. 1 tsp vanilla essence
  5. 100 gr plain yogurt (I used strawberry yogurt to add flavor)
  6. 20 gr full cream milk
  7. 36 gr sugar
  8. 2 egg whites (about 80 gr)
  9. 1/8 tsp salt
  10. 3 tbsp corn starch

Method To Make The Custard Cheese:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine cream cheese, yogurt, milk, butter, sugar, and cheddar cheese
  2. Cook in low heat (whisk continuously during this process) until all cheese is melted, then remove from the stove
  3. Add egg whites little by little while quickly stirring the mixture with a whisk
  4. Add vanilla essence and salt, mix well
  5. Add corn starch, and whisk until smooth
  6. Cook again in low heat while stirring continuously until the mixture thickens (which will happen very quickly) and you see few bubbles appear, then immediately turn off the heat
  7. Remove the mixture to a medium bowl
  8. Cover with cling wrap and keep in the refrigerator while we’re making the tarts

Ingredients for The Tarts:

  1. 115 gr butter, in room temperature
  2. 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
  3. 1 tbsp castor sugar
  4. 1 small egg (about 30 gr)
  5. 225 gr cake flour
  6. 1/4 tsp salt

Method To Make The Tarts:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius
  2. Lightly brush the pastry mold with butter (I used 15 molds for this recipe)
  3. Using a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla essence in high speed for about 2 minutes
  4. Add egg and mix until well incorporated
  5. Turn the mixture into low speed, then add flour and salt, and mix until they are crumbly but easy to form (take about 20 to 22 seconds in my mixer)
  6. Roll into a big dough

    Form a big dough and place it in the mixer bowl (save time and bowl to be clean)
  7. Divide the dough into 25 gr each and place each dough into the  pastry molds
  8. Using both of your thumbs, press the dough on the base and side of the mold until it fits exactly into the mold (this method is much more easier than using a rolling pin)
  9. Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork, to avoid bubbles while it is baking, and also to avoid the dough to shrink
  10. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven
  11. Wait until the tart is cool enough, then carefully remove tart shells from the molds (as you can see, the tart shells didn’t shrink at all)

As you can see here, the texture of the tart was perfect and crunchy.

The tart didn’t shrink and stayed in its mold perfectly, which was a good sign
Remove carefully from the molds
Crunchy with plain taste which suited perfectly with the rich flavor of the cheese fillings

How to assemble:

  1. Preheat oven to 230 Celsius
  2. Using a soup spoon, scoop 1 tbsp of the custard to the tart shell and smoothen the surface of the tarts using the back of the spoon
  3. Brush the top of the tarts generously with egg yolk
  4. Bake for 10 minutes
  5. Serve warm or cold (by keeping them in the fridge for few hours)

 

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The Laughing Steam Cake……………Again and This Time With Different Recipe / Bolu Kukus Dengan Air Soda

This recipe is using:

  1. All purpose flour
  2. cake emulsifier
  3. soda water

This is my second recipe of Indonesian Traditional Steam Cake. For more explanation about this cake, you can check my previous post before which also includes similar steam cake but with slightly different ingredients and techniques.

I made this steam cake with my mom when she came to visit us. As she was a pro in making this steam cake (although it was more than 25 years ago since the last time she made the cake, and she said that she had forgotten some of the steps, but it was still considered a big success for us), she shared some of the tips and tricks to make sure that the cake would blossom nicely. I did some of the things wrongly before, but she corrected me at that time, and so I already shared with you all the steps of making this traditional steam cake in my previous post.

The final patterns of the cake looked different, but that was because each of us was filling the cup independently, so we had our own style, hahaha……………….

My mom also preferred not to fill the cups until full, she only filled until 3/4 of it, but surprisingly, the cake still blossomed nicely, but in smaller size, which is suitable as light snack.

This recipe was using soda water and cake emulsifier without baking powder. Some people say that you have to steam the cake in one go if using soda water, because the second batch might not blossom nicely because the effect of the soda water has gone. Well, actually that is not true. I had no problem steaming the cake in several batches.  As long as the batter reach ribbon stage consistency, thick, pale, and airy, the batter can wait to be steamed for up to 1 hour. So once again, it depends on the consistency of the batter.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 eggs
  2. 200 gr castor sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp cake emulsifier (I used TBM)
  4. 250 gr all purpose flour
  5. 155 ml soda water (I used sparkling water)
  6. 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  7. 1 tsp pandan paste

Method:

  1. Put cupcake liners in steam cake molds

    Special cake molds for this traditional steam cake
  2. Prepare a large or medium size steamer and fill with water about 1/3 deep
  3. If you’re using cake molds with holes, place a heat resistant plastic bag on top of the first vessel of your steamer. This is to prevent the boiling water to reach the bottom of the cake which will make the cake soggy and will not rise properly. If you don’t have cake molds with holes, you can try other alternative like what I have showed you in my previous post about making this traditional steam cake

    Cover the holes in the steamer with heat resistant plastic
  4. Slowly bring the water to boil (in medium heat) while we start preparing the cake mixture
  5. Prepare a stand mixer and add eggs, sugar, and cake emulsifier to the bowl. Mix with high speed (speed 3 in my mixer) until the mixture increase in volume, pale in color, airy, and thick (about 15 minutes with my mixer). in ribbon stage consistency

    End result of the batter
  6. Turn to low speed (speed 1 in my mixer) and alternately add flour and sparkling water. Mix until well incorporated and very thick

    Ribbon stage consistency: the batter should fall slowly from the spatula or mixer attachment, slowly forming a ribbon
  7. Divide the mixture into 3 parts, add cocoa powder in 1/3 of the mixture, and pandan paste in 1/3 parts of the mixture
  8. Alternately add each batter to the cake molds (white, chocolate, white, green, and repeat again)
  9. Cover the lid with of the steamer with kitchen towel to prevent condensation from the lid from falling on to the steamed cakes (don’t skip this step, if the water falls down to the cake, the cake will not blossom)
  10. Steam for 15 minutes in high heat and do not open the lid during the cooking process
  11. Turn off the heat after 15 minutes and immediately remove the cake from the steamer and take the cake out from the cake molds. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cover with clean towel
  12. Place in an airtight container for 2 days in room temperature and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

The Curse of The Laughing Steam Cake / Bolu Kukus Coklat Mekar Anti Gagal

This steam cake is using:

  • All purpose flour
  • Cake emulsifier
  • Baking Powder

Oh yes, there is such thing as “The Curse of the Laughing Steam Cake” or Kutukan Bolu Kukus in Indonesia.

This nicely blossom steam cake is a very popular cake in Indonesia. It is a sweet dessert, comes in different colors, easy to get especially in the wet market, and also quite cheap. We use to eat it for breakfast or as snack whenever we feel hungry in between meals.

To make the cake blossom or as we call it in Indonesia : laughing hard, is not an easy thing to do. Many people have tried making this cake at home and failed. Instead of a laughing hard, what we get is a pouty cake (or smile a bit but not laugh).

That is why, for some people who have tried to make this cake so many times but still fail, people usually say that they get cursed by the steam cake, hahaha..…………….well, this is just to cheer up and encourage us to try again………..and again………….and again.

Well, I’ve tried making this cake several times with only 10% of success which almost made me lost hope and gave up, but I believe that we all learn from our mistakes, so now that I know exactly the steps and the batter consistency that I have to reach before steaming the cake, I am confident that my cake will blossom nicely. Oh, and there is also a special technique to steam the cake to make sure the cake laugh hard or blossom like flowers.

I’ve tried 5 different kinds of recipes so far, and I must say that the one works well is the one that use the combination of cake emulsifier, baking powder, and soda water. One recipe only calls for emulsifier and baking powder, other uses emulsifier only, and the other one uses soda water and cake emulsifier.

There are several methods of making the cake, and one of it is the all in one method where we mix all ingredients together at the same time in the mixer. It wasn’t a success for me and so for now, I am not using the all in one method.

A healthier recipe omit cake emulsifier, baking powder, and soda water and use egg yolks as the replacement, but somehow, the texture of the cake was not so soft and once it turned cold, the cake became hard, but I am still curious of what I did wrong, so I will definitely try again for a better result.

The one recipe that is well known in the internet and people often say that you will not fail if using this recipe, is a recipe created by Mrs. Lim, a famous Indonesia chef. You just need to follow the ingredients and the steps exactly as what I will write down below, and it’s a guarantee that you will succeed in making the steam cake blossom nicely. This recipe is good to try especially if you are a first timer of making this steam cake.

I also write some tips and tricks of how to make sure that the steam cake will laugh hard and blossom nicely. In Indonesia, we usually use a special cake molds for this kind of steam cake, but I tried using other type of cake molds and it worked well too. Next time, I will try to use foil cupcakes to see whether it will work or not.

Ingredients A:

  1. 2 eggs
  2. 170 gr castor sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla essence
  4. 160 ml milk

Ingredients B (mix and sift):

  1. 200 gr all purpose flour
  2. 25 gr chocolate powder
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp baking powder

    Sift all the dry ingredients

Ingredients C:

  1. 10 gr cake emulsifier (I used TBM)

Ingredients D:

  1. 2 tbsp chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Put cupcake liners in steam cake molds
  2. Prepare a large or medium size steamer and fill with water about 1/3 deep
  3. If you’re using cake molds with holes, place a heat resistant plastic bag on top of the first vessel of your steamer. This is to prevent the boiling water to reach the bottom of the cake which will make the cake soggy and will not rise properly (kue menjadi bantat)
    Special Indonesian steam cake molds with holes. Place cupcake liner in each mold

    Place a plastic bag to prevent the boiling water to reach the bottom of the cake
  4. If your’re using cake molds without holes, then skip step number 3

    Steam cake molds without holes
  5. Slowly bring the water to boil (in medium heat) while we start preparing the cake mixture
  6. Mix all ingredients A in a stand mixer with high speed (speed 3 in my mixer) for 5 minutes
  7. Reduce the speed to the lowest speed (speed 1 in my mixer) and gradually add ingredients B. Mix until well combined
    Gradually add flour mixture

    Scrape the sides of the bowl with spatula and mix until well combined
  8. Add ingredients C and mix in high speed for another 5 minutes
    Add TBM (cake emulsifier)

    Mix in high speed for exactly 5 minutes
  9. Turn off the mixer. End result: the batter is thick, airy, slowly dripping from the spatula, and in ribbon stage consistency. Look at these pictures to see what the batter should look like in the end:
    the batter should fall slowly from the spatula or mixer attachment
    slowly forming a ribbon

    the ribbon will hold it’s shape for a few minutes
  10. Add ingredients D and mix with a spatula
  11. Divide the batter into the cupcake liners
  12. Fill each cupcake liners until full so the steam cake will blossom nicely
  13. Once the water in the steamer is boiling with lots of steam, place the steam cake molds on the steamer with some space in between the molds
  14. Cover the lid with kitchen towel to prevent condensation from the lid from falling on to the steamed cakes (don’t skip this step, if the water falls down to the cake, the cake will not blossom)
  15. Cook for 15 minutes in high heat and do not open the lid during the cooking process
  16. Turn off the heat after 15 minutes and immediately remove the cake from the steamer and take the cake out from the cake molds. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cover with clean towel

    The bottom of the cake should be like this (nice and flat). If it is not, then probably the water has reached the bottom of the cake during the steaming process which result in the properly baked cake
  17. If you steam the cake in batches, add water again to the steamer and bring to boil. When the water is boiling, place the second batch of the cake molds and cook for another 15 minutes in high heat. Cover the lid with a new clean cloth (don’t use the cloth that you used earlier in the first batch)
  18. Place in an airtight container for 2 days in room temperature and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

 

Bolu Hongkong Keju / Soft and Fluffy Cheese Cupcakes

My boy is a cheese lover, so I always challenge myself to find new recipes that include cheese as one of the main ingredient. Most of the time (I can say the percentage is 99%) he brings snack and lunch to school, so I usually bake twice or thrice a week so he can always bring homemade snack to be eaten during recess time. This time, I found a new cheese cupcake recipe and the the result was guaranteed to be soft, fluffy, and so cheesy…………………..and of course, I had to try it.

Cheese………………and lots of it…………..

Although everyone said it was an easy thing to do, but I still found it quite difficult because of the many bowls that I had to wash……………….the mixer bowls and the whisk had to be washed and dried after whisking the egg yolks, then washed and dried again after mixing the egg white batter, and some other baking equipment that I had to wash and dry………………but in the end, it was worth with the result because we loved the cheese cupcake so much…………

Soft and fluffy, just like the ones from the bakeries, and even better because I added more cheese than what was written in the recipe

As for the name, I honestly don’t know why in Indonesia this cake is known as Hongkong Cake. I’ve tried to find out the reason and the origin of this name, but I am still clueless even until now. I don’t think its originated from Hongkong either. There are many variations of this recipe, and not just using cheese, but also chocolate, almond, pandan paste, as the basic recipe for marble cake, etc.

Look how spongy is the cake. I sometimes burnt the bottom of the cake a little bit so it became quite brown, but this time the cake came out prefectly

Thankfully, my lil cheese lover loved this cake so much, and since this cake was so light, one was never enough for us………….

You can see from the texture of the cake that it’s very soft and one is definitely cannot make you full…………………so feel free to grab another one…………….

I will definitely make another batch with different filling and topping. The baking time was very fast compared to other big size cakes that took a long time and even after waiting for a long time, I sometimes still not sure if the cake is done or not (the  main problem of amateur baker, hahaha……………..).

I made 7 cupcakes with this recipe

Ingredients:

Ingredients A

  1. 4 egg yolks
  2. 30 gr sugar
  3. 1 tsp cake emulsifier
  4. 1 tbsp plain milk
  5. 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Ingredients B:

  1. 4 egg yolks
  2. 1/4 tsp salt
  3. 1 tsp lime juice
  4. 50 gr castor sugar

Ingredients C:

  1. 60 gr cake flour
  2. 10 gr corn flour
  3. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  4. 40 gr grated cheddar cheese
  5. 50 gr melted butter, room temperature

For topping:

  1. 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
End result: definitely delicious, soft, spongy, and very light

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C
  2. Mix egg yolks, sugar, and cake emulsifier in high speed (I used speed 3 in my mixer) until the volume increased, airy, thick, and pale
  3. Reduce the speed to the lowest speed (speed 1 in my mixer) and add milk and vanilla essence. Mix until all ingredients are well combined
  4. Transfer the egg yolks mixture to a medium bowl
  5. Wash and dry the mixer bowl and whisks thoroughly
  6. Whisk egg whites, salt, and lime juice  until foamy in high speed (speed 3 in my mixer), then gradually add sugar
  7. Whisk until you reach firm peak stage
    Mix until the batter reach that stage (the ones in the circle)

    A clear picture of the the white batter final result
  8. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed again (speed 1 in my mixer) and add egg yolk mixture. Mix just until all is well incorporated (don’t mix for too long)
  9. Sift flour and baking powder directly to the egg mixture and fold the batter with a spatula
  10. Add grated cheddar cheese to the batter and mix well
  11. Add room temperature melted butter and fold the batter with a spatula until well incorporated. Make sure to check with the spatula that all the butter are evenly mixed and nothing is left at the bottom of the bowl
  12. Pour the batter into cupcakes cup. Tap the cups gently 2 or 3 times into the worktop to level batter
  13. Top with grated cheddar cheese
  14. Bake for 20 or 25 minutes (25 minutes in my oven) or until the top is golden brown. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean with nothing sticking, the cake is done

Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes

Who doesn’t know Pandan Chiffon Cake? It’s so soft, light, fluffy, and of course so tasty ………………it’s one of a very well known cake in Singapore and we can find it easily here. I always wanted to make Pandan Chiffon Cake and I already learnt how to make it by watching so many videos on youtube and also browsed the recipes from the internet. Although many said that Chiffon Cake was not easy to make especially for first timer, I still wanted to try.

So, I looked for the right cake pan in the market near my house and  in some of the big supermarkets but I couldn’t find it. To successfully make a chiffon cake, we must use a special cake pan and it wasn’t easy to get in the area of where I lived.

One day, we were on the west side of Singapore and I found out that there was a famous baking equipment store nearby and I immediately asked my son to accompany me to shop there (the store was Phoon Huat in Buona Vista by the way). I was so happy to find the chiffon cake pan in various sizes, and without thinking any further, I bought one together with other things including baking paper and butter which were much cheaper there.

Unfortunately, when I got home, I realized than the pan couldn’t fit into my oven as it was too big for my oven………………..sigh………………and yes, my oven was quite small actually. The problem was, I was ready with all the materials to make chiffon cake, and then I found out that the pan was even bigger than my oven door………………….so to avoid disappointment, I turned to other recipe which was more suitable for my oven……………and that was to make chiffon cupcakes………………..and that was the story of how I ended up making cupcakes instead of a whole cake.

The original recipe was from kitchentigress.blogspot.com and I really loved how the cake turned out. It was so soft, fragrant, fluffy, and so delicious…………..absolutely one of the best cake that I’ve ever tasted and looked like everyone agreed except my son (I also made Ogura Cheese Cake that day and he liked the cheese version better since he was a true cheese lover).

And if you wonder why there were scars on top of the cakes, well, the cakes were supposed to crack, and according to the recipe owner, the cracks are the sign of how fluffy the cake would be…………..”no crack, not fluffy”……………..

The cracks were immediately closed when I removed the cakes from the oven but they did leave scars which didn’t bother me actually, as the recipe owner has warned her readers about this. I loved the smell of pandan and coconut milk even though the cake was still in the oven, and I really fell in love with the taste. So, here is the recipe with minor adjustments from me.

Ingredients A:

  1. 60 gr egg yolks
  2. 25 gr castor sugar
  3. 50 gr oil (I used canola oil)
  4. 10 gr pandan leaves
  5. 75 gr coconut milk
  6. 1 tsp pandan paste
  7. 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
  8. 1/8 tsp salt
  9. 80 gr cake flour
  10. 1/4 tsp baking powder

Ingredients B:

  1. 150 gr egg whites
  2. 1/4 tsp lime juice
  3. 60 gr castor sugar

Method:

  1. Sift cake flour and baking powder. Set aside
  2. Rinse pandan leaves thoroughly under running water and cut roughly (the length is about 2 cm each, so it will be easier to process in a blender)
  3. Using a blender, process chopped pandan leaves and 75 gr coconut milk. Strain and discard the pandan pulps. Add 1 tsp pandan paste to a small bowl and the add the green milk to the bowl until you get 65 gr of the mixture. 1 tsp of pandan paste + green milk = 65 gr
  4. Preheat oven to 200 C
  5. With a mixer, whisk egg yolks and sugar with high speed until thick and pale
  6. Turn the mixer into lower speed, then add oil and mix until well combined
  7. Still in low speed, add 65 gr green milk, 1/4 tsp vanilla essence, and whisk until evenly mixed
  8. Still in low speed, add salt, then gradually add sifted baking powder and flour. Whisk until just evenly mixed (during the process, use a spatula to scrape the flour from the sides of the bowl). Do not mix too much, immediately turn the mixer off when you see everything is well mixed. Transfer the mixture into a big bowl and set aside
  9. Wash and dry the bowl and whisks thoroughly
  10. In low speed, whisk egg whites and gradually add the speed. Add 1/4 tsp of lime juice 
  11. Continue whisking until foamy, then gradually add sugar (add the sugar in 3 batches)
  12. Whisk until you reach firm peak stage
  13. Fold of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk batter until they are incorporated (do this in 3 batches, each time add 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the yolk batter)

    With a big spatula, cut the batter in the middle then fold the batter. Turn the bowl in clockwise direction and repeat the process until all are incorporated
  14. Pour the batter into cupcakes cup. Tap the cups gently 3 to 4 times into the worktop to level batter
  15. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and slightly springy
  16. My cupcakes cracked after 10 minutes in the oven, but they closed up nicely after they were removed from the oven. My cupcakes were still soft and fluffy even after 5 days in the refrigerator

 

How To Make Pandan Paste / Membuat Pasta Pandan

I use green food coloring a lot when making cakes, but I never want to use store bought food coloring, so I decided to make one myself. This is actually very easy and the ingredients are also not difficult to get. I use pandan leaves or screwpine leaves which are very common in Indonesia and Singapore. There are lots of these plants in my parents house and I used to have some of them too here, but I cut them all because I didn’t have time to take care of them.

Homemade pandan paste has a very nice and fresh smell, but unfortunately, it doesn’t last long even though I keep it in the refrigerator. So I have to make it quite often at least once every month, but all the hard work of making pandan paste is paid off when I see nice green color in my cakes. You can use it to make chiffon cake, sponge cake, pandan bread, or even one of our favorite Indonesia traditional blossom steam cake.

So, here is how you can make your own pandan paste at home………………

Ingredients:

  1. 25 pandan leaves
  2. 5 suji leaves (daun suji). This one is optional, use 10 pandan leaves to replace if you can’t find any
  3. 450 ml water

Method:

  1. Wash the leaves thoroughly (one by one) under running tap water
  2. Use scissors to cut the leaves into small pieces (around 2 cm in length)
  3. Blend the leaves with 250 ml of water till fine
  4. Pour the mixture into a fine strainer, then using a spoon, squeeze out the juices
  5. Pour the pandan juices into a tall glass or jar
  6. Don’t throw away the leftover pandan leaves on the strainer, and return them back to the food processor. Process again until fine with 200 ml of water, then strain again to squeeze out the juice. Place the juice in a separate container or glass from the first one

    Process this leftover with 200 ml of water and strain again to squeeze the juice
  7. After 2 to 5 days, you will see a thick dark green layer formed at the bottom of the glass (it took my first glass 2 days to form a thick layer, and 5 days for the second glass to form a thick layer)
  8. Pour away the upper layer of water and retain the pandan paste
  9. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 or 3 weeks. Check the smell  if you want to use it, you can still use it if the smell is still nice and fragrant

Zebra Cake

One of my favorite website to search for dessert recipes is homecookingadventure, and I literally went page by page diligently to look for recipes that I might be able to make (aka. easy enough for my “not so good baking skill”).

I have to admit that this was the first time that I made a cake, the first time that I owned a mixer, and the first time that I used a mixer in my whole entire life. All was because of this zebra cake recipe that really caught my attention, and I immediately made this cake the next day after I bought my mixer at 10 pm the night before. But hey, everyone says life begins at forty, so I decided to begin my baking adventure just months before I turn forty, hahaha………………..

Zebra cake was one of my favorite cake and I really loved the zebra or marble pattern of the cake. I really wanted to make this beautiful cake since long ago but was never really brave enough to try. My mom was very good at making cakes and she made us desserts, snacks, and even birthday cakes when we were little girls, and I always thought that it was a very difficult thing to do (there was no bread machine, food processor, or stand mixer back then), so I guess I was just to lazy to try, hahaha……………..

So now, back to the zebra cake recipe. One thing that I love from homecookingadventure is that the steps are explained clearly one by one, so I knew exactly what to do and when. I would skip recipes that were too difficult at that moment and only concentrated at the easiest thing to do (and that did not include recipes that asked to beat the egg white until soft peak or stiff peak because I still had to learn about that). Hey, one step at a time is better than nothing, rite?

Anyone wants a bite?

Or two bites maybe……………?
When I brought this to church, my friends admired the pretty stripes and one of them who also did a lot of baking said that he found it difficult to create such layers. Actually, if you follow the recipe exactly step by step, this cake is not that difficult to make, but you have to be patience enough to create beautiful layers. For amateurs home baker like me, it is a big no no to try to modify recipes , and it is better save than sorry………………so just follow the recipe exactly as it is.

I love stripes……………..
For the recipe, even the batter already tasted so good and I couldn’t stop licking the leftover batter in my spatula, especially the chocolate one because I loved chocolate so much. Although the batter was very sweet when I tried at first, but it was perfect after I finished the baking process and tried the cake. It was not too sweet which was just how we and most of our friends liked it.

During the baking process, I couldn’t wait to see the cake cracked at the top and I was so nervous………………..and finally……………………..look at the beautiful crack on top of the cake…………..it’s just perfect. I just love if the cake cracks at the top………………..

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 200 gr butter cut in cubes, should be at room temperature and still in cubes (not melted yet)
  • 4 eggs in room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup milk

For the chocolate batter:

  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Method:unt

  1. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (you should start preheating the oven at this point)
  2. Lightly grease with butter a 9 inch cake pan and line with parchment paper
  3. In a medium bowl, mix well 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/4 cup milk, and 1 tbsp sugar until the batter is smooth and has no lumps. Set aside
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix well with a spoon or a whisk. Set aside
  5. Mix butter with sugar until creamy with a hand mixer or stand mixer (I used speed 1 or the lowest speed on my stand mixer during the whole process)
  6.  Add eggs one at a time and mix until well combined and the batter is smooth (look at the pictures below of when to add the eggs)
  7. Add vanilla extract to the batter
  8. Add 1/4 of the milk, mix for few seconds
  9. Add 1/4 of the flour mixture, mix for few seconds
  10. Repeat the process by alternately adding 1/4 part of the milk and 1/4 part of the flour mixture
  11. Continue mixing until all is well incorporated. During this process, scrape any flour mixture in the sides of the bowl with a spatula
    End result
  12. Remove two cups of the white batter into a small bowl, then add 3 tbsp of this batter to the chocolate mixture and mix well
  13. Add the remaining 2 cups of white batter in this bowl to the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth (it is easier to mix the batter and the chocolate mixture in 2 steps like this)
  14. To create the marbled effect, take 1 tbsp of the white batter and pour it in the middle of the pan. Over it, add 1 tbsp of chocolate batter. Repeat these steps all batter has been used
  15. Before placing the cake pan in the oven, tap the pan on the counter top 3 to 4 times to let the air bubbles pop
  16. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  17. Tap the pan on the counter top again 3 to 4 times
  18. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the pan
  19. After cutting the cake, cover the plate with clean clothes or keep in an airtight container

So lovely…………………

Simple and Small Size Chocolate Brownies

We were going back to Jakarta back then, so I planned to empty my refrigerator so I could clean up before our trip and came back with a clean and fresh refrigerator. Besides, my mom would definitely cooked a lot of food to be brought here so I needed space to keep all the food (the thought of didn’t have to cook for at least a week made me very excited, hahaha………………don’t get me wrong, I love cooking, but I don’t like the cleaning part that followed afterwards).

So, while I was looking at all the ingredients that were still in my fridge, I saw that I still had a bar of dark cooking chocolate and I thought of what to do with it. I was thinking of making muffins, but I was quite bored with making muffins. Suddenly, I craved for chocolate brownies, the simple one, the chewy and fudgy brownies that didn’t take a long time to make but taste so delicious. I always like chocolate brownies, either steam or bake, but that time I decided to bake the brownies.

I made the very simple one and not too big. I liked it that way because looked like I was the only one in the house who would finish all the slices. My husband and my son didn’t really like dessert that were too sweet or contained too much chocolate (but chocolate brownies have to have a lot of chocolate, and I could compromise on reducing the sugar, but not the chocolate because I love chocolate so much and the taste would also be totally different), so the small brownies was an ideal thing to make.

It is also good if you’re on a diet and crave for something sweet but don’t want to eat too much, because if you make too much, than you will not stop eat it until it’s finished (at least, that is what always happen to me………………).

It turned out that it was a mistake of making this brownies in small size, because my son loved it that I could only ate 2 or 3 small slices and he finished the rest while studying for his Chinese and Science Exam (but I’m guessing it happened because he was too stressful learning Chinese and Science, so he needed sugar to boost his learning ability? Let’s see if he still likes the brownies in non exam days………………) . Well, anyway, as my son would always says: “Look at the bright side, at least it’s good for your diet……………”.

Long story short, the brownies were good and I had to try really hard not too put another slice into my mouth (I love chocolate brownies and now I want more).

As usual, I always reduce the amount of sugar into at least 40% from the original recipe. Oh, and I topped the brownies with grated cheddar cheese because I always think that cheese and chocolate make a great combination for dessert. Other option is to use chopped almond or walnut.

Double the recipe if you want to make it bigger in size.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 packet (113 gr) dark cooking chocolate bar, break into several pieces
  2. 55 gr butter
  3. 30 gr brown sugar
  4. 1 egg at room temperature
  5. 40 gr all purpose flour

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 160 Celsius
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished brownies out (it fit half of my baking pan with the size of 20 x 8 x 5 cm)
  3. Melt chocolate and butter over double boiler in low heat while stirring occasionally. I put a bowl on top of my steamer without the lid
  4. Add brown sugar, mix until there are no lumps, then turn off the heat
  5. Let it cool down slightly before whisking the egg
  6. Add flour, fold the ingredients together with a wooden spoon (or rubber spatula, but I didn’t have one so I always used a wooden spoon)
  7. Spread the batter evenly into prepared baking pan
  8. Top with grated cheddar cheese
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes
  10. Let it cool before cutting it and serve

 

 

In Search for A Healthier Muffin Recipe: No Flour, No Butter, and No Refined Sugar Banana Oats Muffin

My husband likes to snack between meals (and even after a heavy dinner) which is not a good habit actually, but he also needs to eat quite often due to his gastric problem. So, it is a must to me to always find healthier food to eat, especially snack and dessert. He loves muffins and is a big fan of cheese and chocolate muffins, but they are very high in calories. Oh, and he also loves banana so much that I am always searching for desserts or snacks that use bananas. One of them was banana muffins,  but in order to make it as a healthier choice of snack, I knew that I had to find something as a replacement of flour.

As usual, for the answer to my problem, I always asked my best friend Mr. Google, and there were many variations of banana muffins without flour, but I was most interested in the recipe that was published in brendid.com. The muffins used rolled oats to replace flour, and as we know, rolled oats is a healthy choice when you’re on a diet. The muffins also didn’t use butter and refined sugar, and that was so awesome. The recipe used pure maple syrup but I didn’t use it as we never consume maple syrup. Plus, the bananas were already so sweet and since my husband was quite sensitive to sweet, he didn’t like if I put too much sugar in the food. So mostly, I always reduced the amount of sugar in almost all recipes that I tried because the three of us liked savory food better than sweet dish.

As someone who didn’t like oats (even overnight oats), my husband and I would say that these muffins were actually very good. Plus, it was a good calorie bargain. Also, look at the texture of the muffin below, even by eating one muffin already made us very full.

I added raisins just to give extra flavor, but it is optional. You can add other ingredients like chocolate chips and dried fruits too. The recipe required to toast some of the oats, and I did it, and I loved the smell of toast oats. So toasting the oats, although it might be a bit troublesome, is necessary to give extra flavor to the muffins.

As we loved the outcome of no flour, no sugar, and no butter muffins in this recipe, I surely will try other similar muffin recipes in the website too.

This recipe made 9 muffins

Ingredients:

  1. 2 ½ cups rolled oats
  2. 2 tbsp rolled oats for muffin tops
  3. 3 large overripe bananas
  4. 2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
  5. 3/4 cup low fat milk at room temperature
  6. 2 tsp vanilla essence
  7. 2 tsp baking powder
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. 30 gr raisins (optional)
  11. 1 tsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 Celsius
  2. Line muffin tray with muffin wrappers
  3. Place 1.5 cups rolled oats on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned for 6 minutes, stir once after 4 minutes. Let them cool to room temperature
  4. Preheat oven to 200 Celsius
  5. Place 1.5 cups of toasted oats in a blender and process until they reach a rough and flour like consistency. Transfer to a bowl
  6. Add the other 1 cup of rolled oats (the ones not being toasted), baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon to the same bowl and mix until they are well combined with the toasted oats
  7. Place banana and milk in the blender and process until smooth and no banana lumps. Transfer to a different bowl
  8. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla to the banana and milk mixture and whisk until they are well combined
  9. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated (lumps are fine, we don’t want to overmix). Allow these to sit for 10 minutes to soak the oats
  10. Add raisins and stir lightly
  11. Scoop into muffin wrappers (I made 9 muffins)
  12. Sprinkle the tops with rolled oats while pressing gently to make sure they stick nicely after the baking process is done
  13. Put into the oven and reduce the temperature to 180 Celsius
  14. Bake for about 20 -25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean

Cheese Muffins (Made With Yogurt)

These cheese muffins was my second baking project of the day after the vanilla and raisins muffin (it was the third actually because I also made pizza, but this was the second batch of muffin that I baked that day). I was so happy with how my vanilla muffins turned out that I decided to bake another batch of muffins, but this time with cheese which was my son’s favorite.

I’ve made cheese muffins twice before and I failed miserably that I thought there must be something wrong with the recipe. The taste was not good (I would even say awful), the cake was dense and “heavy”, and the texture was not even close to muffin or cake. The muffin didn’t raise and in fact, it flopped. I was thinking that it might be because of the cheese and I really had a strong feeling that the cheese was the cause of this, and not the recipe.

I thought that because I used lots of cheese, it made the batter “heavy” and very difficult to rise and bake properly. I blamed the cheese, hahaha………..

So, as usual, I googled and I found out that I should not have used shredded cheese when baking because it was not pure cheese and it contained some kind of starch, plus the taste was also terrible when compared to block cheese. Please google about this for more information, it was a long explanation and I’m not an expert about this, so I can’t explain it in here.

That information gave me insight and I suddenly knew why my muffin batter wasn’t baked properly inside although the top was already brown. So I bought cheese block and start from that day, I decided to grate my own cheese (which was very easy thing to do actually).

So please do remember to always use cheese block and grate it yourself when you want to bake this muffin. Originally, this recipe was taken from homecookingadventure (which is one of my favorite cooking and baking site up to now). I cut the recipe into half because it was too much for us to finish.

So, how was the taste of these muffins? Well, the beauty of making your own muffins is that you can always use top quality cheese and put real cheese as much as you want, and by saying that I mean a lot of cheese.

These muffins were so cheesy in a very good way. Even my husband who doesn’t really like cheese loved this very much and it wasn’t enough for him to just have one at one go. Yes, this was the best cheese muffin that we ever had, even much and much better than the cheese muffins that we bought in famous bakeries or ate in 5 star hotel (and I’m not kidding). We could really taste the cheese and because I used good quality of cheese, the muffins didn’t gave us a bad aftertaste in the throat that we usually had when we had too much cheese.

The texture was different from the vanilla muffins because it used lots of cheese and yogurt, but it was still very soft and easy to chew. It smelt like real cheese and we could taste the cheese in every bite, even the smallest bite. I was hesitant to use yogurt at first because none of us liked yogurt and I was afraid that it would give a sour taste to the muffins, but boy I was wrong. You really have to use the yogurt when making these muffins, it will give a different texture and taste than just using plain milk.

This muffin recipe is really good and I recommend you to try, especially if you like cheese so much like my son, but even my husband and I who weren’t cheese lovers immediately fell in love with these muffins.

The muffins were actually full of fat because it used lots of cheese, milk, butter, and yogurt, so it made me full even though I only ate half of it, so it’s still a mystery to me how my husband and son could finish 2 every time (and even asked for more but I had to say no because meal time would be very late if they ate too much muffins). So yeah, it was that good so give it a try………………

This recipe is for 6 to 7 muffins (depending on how big your paper muffin cases are).

I also put the original amount of ingredients of the recipe in the brackets and in blue for your reference.

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 + 1/4 cups all purpose flour (1 1/2 cups or 190 gr)
  2. 1/2 tbsp sugar (1 tbsp sugar)
  3. 1 tsp baking powder (2 tsp baking powder)
  4. 1/4 tsp baking soda (none)
  5. 1/4 tsp salt (1/2 tsp salt)
  6. 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (2 cups grated cheddar cheese)

Wet Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 cups milk (1/2 cups milk)
  2. 1/4 cups plain yogurt (1/2 cups plain yogurt)
  3. 1/2 egg in room temperature, beaten (1 egg)
  4. 30 gr butter, melted, then let it cool in room temperature (1/4 cup or 60 gr butter)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 Celsius degrees (don’t forget to do this step before making the muffin batter, as this is to make sure that the oven is hot enough when we start baking the muffin)
  2. Line muffin tray with paper muffin cases
  3. In a bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients
  4. In another bowl, whisk or combine together all the dry ingredients. Then add in cheese and stir to mix well. Make a hole in the center, then add the wet ingredients mixture into the hole
  5. Fold the batter gently until it is just combined (it will need 15 to 18 strokes). The batter should be lumpy
  6. Scoop mixture (I used a soup spoon) into the muffin cups
  7. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top
  8. Once the tray goes into the oven, reduce the temperature to 190 Celsius degree and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (I baked for exactly 25 minutes). The color should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean
  9. Leave the muffins in the tin to cool for about 5 mins, loosen muffins, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
  10. Serve warm
  11. How to store muffins: place paper towel in the bottom of an air tight container. Place the muffins on top of the paper towel. Add another paper towel on top of the muffins, then close the lid. The paper towel will absorb the extra moisture

Alternatively, if you don’t have muffin tray, you can use foil baking cups. Place paper muffin cases inside foil baking cups, then scoop the batter into the paper cups. For these cheese muffins recipe, I had enough batter for 6 cups and I still had one cup left which couldn’t fit into the muffin tray. So I used a foil baking cup to hold the paper cup and just placed it near the oven door (the only space left since my oven was so small).

The muffin was just as good as the others and it risen beautifully too. The color might not be as brown as the others because I placed it very near to my oven door, but it was still baked nicely. It was also very easy to take out the muffin case from the foil cup.

The muffin rise nicely even without a muffin tray