Sunday, August 25, 2013

Steamed Kueh Lapis

As a child I used to enjoy eating this kueh by peeling it layer by layer and saving the red part which is the top layer to the last. I wonder how many of us did that as a child.
Today my grandsons would do it the same by eating it layer by layer! Hmm.. Guess the eating style of this kueh never changes!
My mum called it "kow chang kueh" which means nine-layered cake. True to its name, there are nine layers to this kueh.


540ml coconut milk from 2 grated coconuts
210g sugar
5 to 6 pandan leaves, knotted

180g tapioca flour
80g plain flour
pinch of salt

1. Add about 350ml water to the grated coconuts to extract 540ml coconut milk.

2. Gently heat coconut milk, sugar and pandan leaves till sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat to cool.

3. Mix tapioca flour and plain flour in a bowl and add coconut milk, a little at a time to mix with the flour before adding the rest. Strain mixture to remove lumps.

4. Divide mixture into 9 equal portions and add a drop of colouring to the mixture.
The colours in sequence from the bottom are: plain, pink, yellow, green, orange, plain, brown, blue and red.

5. Prepare steamer and grease and line the bottom of 7-inch or 18-cm round baking tin.

6. Heat up the baking tin and pour the plain layer and steam for 7 minutes. Repeat steaming process for the 8 layers. Steam for 10 minutes after the last layer.

7. Cool completely before cutting with a well-greased knife.

I used the colouring sparingly as I am not fond of using them.
I also omitted the brown colour and used plain for the layer before the red.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Orange Almond Pithivier

Pithivier is a round enclosed pie comprising of two pieces of circular-shaped puff pastry with filling stuffed in between.
If you are planning on making this, my advice is that it's more convenient to use store-bought puff pastry. Home-made puff pastry requires a cool environment(air-conditioned kitchen) to facilitate easy rolling out of the dough with butter in between the layers.
I had a really tough time rolling the dough as I had to choose a hot sunny day to do it! A battle between melting butter ooozing out of the dough and throwing it back into the fridge numerous time and sustaining aching arms and shoulders told me that it would be the last time I would ever make my own puff pastry!


500g puff pastry (I used home-made)


100g butter
80g caster sugar

Zest from 2 medium-sized oranges
1 tablespoon orange juice
150g ground almonds

2 eggs
50g plain flour

1 egg for glazing

1. Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy.

2. Add zest, juice and ground almond. Mix well.

3. Add in lightly beaten eggs and finally flour.

4. Roll out half of pastry on lightly-floured table to ½ cm thick and use a plate of 20-cm in diameter to cut out a disc. Do the same for the other half of the pastry.

5. Place one pastry disc on a baking tray(save the hassle of moving the completed pie to a tray) and spread the filling, leaving a border of 2 cm from the edge.

6. Egg wash the edge and carefully place the other piece of pastry over it and press the edges together and use a fork to seal all round.

7. Egg wash the top of pastry and with the tip of a knife, mark curved lines from the centre to the edge to make a pattern.

8. Bake in preheated oven 180deg C for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Dust with icing sugar.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Whipping Cream Cake

This recipe is taken from "Piece of Cake". I was attracted to the name of the cake. As I read on, I muttered to myself, "Yup, it's definitely a piece of cake!" Lol!
The book title is so apt because every recipe simply requires using only one mixing bowl. It means you 'dump' all the ingredients in, mix, bake and voila! A cake is baked!


2¼ cups plain flour
1½ cups caster sugar (I used 1 cup)
2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

4 large eggs
1½ cups heavy cream / whipping cream ( I used whipping cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

2. Add eggs, cream and vanilla to the flour and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute.

3. Stop to scrape the bottom and side of bowl and beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Bake in a greased 10-inch / 25-cm bundt tin in preheated oven 170deg C for 45 to 50 minutes.

5. Remove to cool on rack before slicing.

The texture is dense as in a pound cake. It has a nice taste and I find it quite addictive!

Kueh Pulut Kaya

It has been many, many years since I made kueh pulut kaya. I used to take orders for this. Ever since I stopped my home cake business about 15 years ago, I hardly bake those cakes, mooncakes or even  kueh-kueh that my customers used to order. I reached a point where I could no longer go on. It was a one-man show for 25 years juggling between a regular-salaried job, baking as a sideline and family managing. Looking back, I never regretted that journey. Anyway, it was on a whim that I decided to make this kueh recently which is a favourite of my hubby!

(For a 20 x 15-cm tray)
For the glutinous rice layer:

270g glutinous rice, washed and soaked in water for 6 hours
240m1 thin coconut milk
pinch of salt
2 to 3 pandan leaves, cut into 5-cm lengths

1. Prepare steamer and bring water to a boil.

2. Drain the water from the rice and mix in coconut milk, salt and pandan leaves.

3. Pour rice into tray, lined with aluminium foil or greased. If you have the clitorea flower colouring, just sprinkle a few drops.

4. Steam rice for 15 minutes, then remove the pandan leaves and compress the layer of rice and level it.

For the kaya topping:

2 large eggs
75g sugar
30g cornflour
1 tablespoon plain flour
315ml thick coconut milk
2 to 3 tablespoons pandan juice from blending of 30 pandan leaves with 200ml water
pinch of salt

1. Stir eggs and sugar. Do not beat thhe eggs as you don't want to aerate it and with less air, the surface will be smoother.

2. Mix the flour with a little coconut milk into a watery paste and then add in the egg mixture and the rest of the ingredients.

3.Strain the mixture to remove lumps.

4. Place mixture in a saucepan and slow cook over a low fire, stirring the mixture with a whisk, taking care to "sweep" the bottom of the pan to prevent a layer from thickening. Once the mixture is almost thickening, remove from heat and pour mixture over the rice.

5. Place a piece of aluminium foil over the tin and wrap it around to prevent water from collecting on the top of the kaya. Steam at medium to low heat for 40 to 50 minutes. If steam at high heat, ridges will be form on the kaya. Let kueh cool before cutting.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A White Cake

I have been investing in quite a number of baking books, written by local bakers and foreign bakers. The latter were mostly bought online via Amazon. In fact, I have just placed orders for a couple more books that will be arriving in two to three weeks' time. I can't wait to lay my hands on them. I would spend hours flipping the pages, drooling over the lovely pictures and bookmarking it. Sigh! However, I have yet to try out all that have been bookmarked which is evident by the many colourful flapping post-its!

About three weeks ago, I was flipping through my baking books deciding what to bake for my elder daughter's birthday. I wanted to try out something different because I was tired of repeating my cakes.
I came across a rather attractive picture of a 'celebration' cake'(termed by Dorie Greenspan from "Baking"). It is a cake that is white with a tight crumb(no fear of crumbly cake falling apart during assembling). I shan't go into boring details but get down to business!

For the cake:
1½ cups caster sugar (I reduced to 1¼ cups)
2 teaspoons lemon zest ( I used 3 teaspoons) 

4 large egg whites
1¼ cups buttermilk

1 stick(113.4g)  unsalted butter, at room temperatur
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract (I used Nielsen Massey's)

2¼ cups cake flour, sifted with baking powder and salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
 ½ teaspoon salt

1. Whisk egg whites and buttermilk until it foams. Set aside.
2. Place sugar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and rub with fingers to mix well.
3. Add butter and cream at medium speed till light and fluffy and add in vanilla extract.
4. Add one-third of flour and beat at medium speed to mix and then add half of the egg mixture.
5. Alternate flour with egg mixture and end with flour. Beat to ensure the batter is thoroughly mixed.
6. Divide batter into greased and lined 9-inch / 23-cm round tins and bake in preheated oven 170deg C for 30 to 35 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
7. Remove cake and cool on rack.

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
1 cup sugar (I used ½ cup)
4 large egg whites
3 sticks(340g) unsalted butter, at roomtemperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 ½ cup seedless raspberry jam, warmed and stirred, for sandwiching between cake layers
1 ½ cup sweetened grated coconut, for coating the side of cake and topping

1. Put egg whites and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture feels hot to touch. It takes about 3 minutes. The sugar should have dissolved and the mixture looks lke shiny marshmallow.
2. Remove from heat and whisk at medium speed until mixture is cool. It takes about 5 minutes.
3.Change whisk to paddle and add a few cubed butter at a time and cream till thick and smooth.
4.Gradually beat in lemon juice and then vaanilla extract.
5. Cover the surface of buttercream with clingwrap. Set aside.

To assemble cake:

1. Slice each cake into half horizontally (optional).
2. Spread a layer of raspberry jam and then a layer of buttercream on each cake layer.
3. Sandwich the cake layers and cover the cake with buttercream and coat the sides and top with grated coconut. 

This post is linked to  Cook-Your-Books #3 at