Saturday, July 30, 2011

Purple, Blue or Black?

Don't you just love that rich vibrant purple hue?
After the batch of delicious Pumpkin Steamed Buns, I was thinking of what other steamed buns I could make by substituting the pumpkin in the recipe. The first thing that came to my mind was purple sweet potatoes. The buns would look so pretty in a purple hue I imagined, like my Purple Sweet Potato Swiss Roll here.  

So purple sweet potato steamed buns I made, or so i thought!

Look what I've got!

Yup, no kidding, those steamed buns were made from PURPLE sweet potatoes! It's just so strange how it ended up blue black. Haha! At a glance they look like bamboo charcoal mantous!  Would anyone please explain what happened? Is it because of oxidation?
Despite the undesirable and rather unappetizing colour, the steamed buns tasted fine and were actually good eaten warm with lashings of  butter.

Purple Sweet Potato Steamed Buns/Mantou

50gm sugar
150gm mashed purple sweet potato
6 tbs water (more or less depending on the moistness of sweet potato)
1tsp instant dry yeast
150gm pau flour (or plain flour)
1tsp double action baking powder
10gm butter

1. Combine sugar, mashed purple sweet potatoes, water and yeast.
2. Combine pau flour, double action baking powder and butter and mix to form crumbs.
3. Mix (1) and (2) together to form dough.
4. Knead dough until smooth and no longer sticky.
5. Let dough proof in a warm place until double in size. Cover it.
6. After proofing, punch down the dough and knead for 2 mins and roll out  into a rectangle.
7. Slowly roll up like swiss rolls, cut into equal pieces.
8. Cover and let buns proof for 2nd time for another 45 mins.
9. Steam on high heat for 12 mins. Done!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Purple Sweet Potato Swiss Roll

It's the end of the month again, just a couple more days before we enter August and here I am scrambling to post my third and final entry for this month's Aspiring Bakers Event. For this month's event, everyone is challenged to try their hand  in swiss roll making. Most home bakers are intimidated by swiss rolls. I was too. Though baking the cake itself is easy, most dread when it comes to rolling for fear of the cake tearing. From my own experience and from other bloggers too, I found recipes that use egg white separation method (ie. chiffon cakes) make cakes that are springier and more flexible for rolling.

Here I made a Purple Sweet Potato Swiss Roll, adapted from a chiffon cake recipe. Just look at that lovely soft  purplish lavender hue ... it's all natural, no artificial coloring was added.  So pretty, so sweet and so girly, don't you think. The more I look at it the more besotted I am with the colour.  The swiss roll was yummy too. Soft, moist, and light.   

I am submitting this entry to Aspiring Bakers #9 - Swiss Rolling Good Times (July 2011) hosted by Obsessedly Involved with Food.

Purple Sweet Potato Chiffon Roll
(Recipe adapted from 'Little House' here)

Note: I have slightly altered  the recipe from the original to include an extra egg yolk, and baked the cake in a swiss roll pan instead of a chiffon cake tin.

100g purple sweet potato
6 tbs milk
4 egg yolks
20g brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
50ml canola oil
85g cake flour
4 egg whites
50g white sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

- Preheat the oven to 350F (177C).
- Wash the sweet potato well and steam until very soft. Using a fork, mash the sweet potato with milk  or alternatively, blend in a food processor until smooth. 
- Whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, salt and oil until combined. Add the sweet potato mixture and beat until blended and smooth. Sift in the flour and beat until smooth. 
- In another bowl, beat the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar until stiff and glossy peaks formed. Add 1/3 of the beaten  egg whites to the yolk mixture and gently mix to loosen a little, then gently fold in the rest of the beaten egg whites until well combined and smooth.
- Pour the batter into a lined (12 x12 inch) swiss roll pan. 
- Place the pan into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cake is cooked through (test with slewer).
-  Lift cake from  pan and let cool on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, turn cake on a  clean baking paper and remove the lining. Invert it again. Carefully scrape/slice away the skin.  Spread filling of your choice.  Roll up, trim away the ends. Done!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Black Sesame Chiffon Roll

I love anything with black sesame seeds. Not only are they a good source of  minerals and dietary fiber, they also make your hair thick & black as believed by the Chinese. I personally like the rich earthy nutty taste they impart when incorporated in desserts & confections.  Although black sesame seeds are relatively cheap and can be found in every supermarkets & grocers, it is not so with black sesame paste, I noticed- at least in my town. And the black sesame paste does not come cheap either. Anybody has a good homemade black sesame paste recipe to share? 


This black sesame roll cake was made from a chiffon cake recipe adapted  from Keiko Ishida's 'Okashi-Sweet Treats Made with Love'.  I have substituted ground black sesame for the whole black sesame seeds called  for, and I used a swiss roll pan instead of a chiffon tin, and adusted the baking temperature and time. 
I must say I really love this cake and enjoyed savoring every bite (but of course I'm biased - like I've mentioned earlier, I love anything with black sesame). My Daughter G exclaimed 'Yuck!' at  the mention of black sesame but funnily helped herself to not one but two slices!  Ah, this daughter of mine!  

Black Sesame Chiffon Roll

70g Cake flour
5 Egg yolks
20g Brown Sugar
20g Black sesame paste
20g Ground black sesame seeds
60g Water
40g Canola oil
90g Castor Sugar
10g Rice Flour
180g  Egg whites (from about 5 eggs)

1) Preheat oven to 180°C.
2) Combine egg yolks, brown sugar and black sesame paste in a bowl and mix well. Add water and canola oil and blend together. Add sited flour and mix until batter becomes sticky. Set aside.
3) Combine sugar and rice flour. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add half of sugar and  rice flour mixture and continue beating for a few minutes, then add remainder and beat until egg whites are glossy with stiff peaks (the whites will not fall out when the bowl is overturned).
4) Add one third of  beaten egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture and fold in lightly. Then add in the remaining egg white mixture. Fold gently until incorporated completely.
5) Pour batter into a baking paper lined 12x14 inch swiss roll pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cake is done (test with a skewer). Remove cake from pan and cool on wire rack.
6) Spread cake with whipped cream and carefully but firmly roll  it up. Leave to rest in a refrigerator to firm up before slicing to serve. Enjoy!

I am submitting this entry to Aspiring Bakers #9 - Swiss Rolling Good Times (July 2011) hosted by Obsessedly Involved with Food.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lime Curd & Cream Cheese Swiss Roll

I had some leftover lime curd and cream cheese frosting from the courgette cake I had made earlier. What better way to use them all up by making yet another cake! But this time I made a simple swiss roll (recipe here). The tart taste of the lime curd intermingled beautifully with the voluptuous richness of the cream cheese frosting. This is one scrummy swiss roll if  I may say so myself!

I'm submitting this entry to this month's Aspiring Bakers themed 'Swiss Rolling Good Times' hosted by 'Obsessedly Involved With Food' (Details here).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Aunt Flora's Famous Courgette Cake

Honestly, I've never heard of courgette cake let alone tasted one until I came across this recipe in my favorite cookbook, Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess. The only veggie cakes I've ever tried are the classic carrot cake and the sweet pumpkin cake. I was really curious and at the same time a little apprehensive how this courgette cake would turn out. In my mind I was thinking of a very 'green' tasting cake if you get what I mean. But really it was not so. It had  a hint of pleasant cucumber-esque taste and was quite delicious really. Like a carrot cake it was moist and refreshing.  I would make this again as it was so easy to make. However, next time I'll  keep the ingredients secret as my veggie hating Daughter G refused even a teeny bite.  Though the lime curd filling was delicious, I think the zippy citrusy tang overpowered the already subtle and light courgette taste - I'll leave this out next time and just make the cake with the luscious cream cheese icing.

For the cake

60g sultanas, optional
250g courgettes, weighed before grating
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 x 21cm sandwich tins, greased and lined

If you're using sultanas, put them in a bowl and cover with warm water to plump them up.
Wash and wipe the courgettes with kitchen towel (don't peel them), then grate using the coarse side of an ordinary grater - anything finer or smaller can make them mushy.  When they're grated turn them into a sieve over the sink to drain off excess water.
Put the eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy.  Sieve in the flour, bicarb and baking powder and continue to beat until well combined.  Now stir in the grated courgette and add the drained sultanas if using.  Pour the mixture into the tins and bake for 30 mins until slightly browned and firm to the touch.  Leave in the tins on a rack for 5-10 mins then turn out and let cool until you're ready to fill and ice.

For the Lime Curd filling
(Makes 350ml)
75g unsalted butter
3 large eggs
75g caster sugar
125ml lime juice (of approx 4 limes)
zest of 1 lime

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add all the other ingredients and whisk to a custard over a gentle heat.  Let cool before filling a jar - or a cake - with it.  Keep in the fridge.

For the Cream Cheese Icing
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar, sieved
juice of 1 lime, or more to taste
2-3 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts (I used almond nibs)

Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, add the icing sugar, beating well to combine, then stir in the lime juice to taste. Spread on cake and sprinkle chopped pistachio uts on top.

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