Monday, 2 July 2018

Three Cup Chicken 三杯鸡

Today I tried the famous Taiwanese San Bei Ji which directly translates to Three Cup Chicken. What prompted me to try this Three Cup Chicken is the simplicity of the recipe. It was originally designed to use only three cups of ingredients comprising soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine. However, what the recipe doesn't tell you is that even in the three ingredients itself it has vast difference. For example, some soy sauce are darker and thicker whereas some are more salty. I would advise you to be careful with the soy sauce as we do not want the dish to be overly salty.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Honeycomb cake / Ants' Nest Cake / Kek Sarang Semut / Kuih Gula Hangus 蜂窝蛋糕

In line with the Ramadhan month, I am contributing this piece on Honeycomb Cake which is a traditional delicacy of the Malays. This cake is a perfect dessert to break fast. Wishing all my Muslim readers Ramadhan Kareem.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Pakatan Snowskin Mooncake

I am always reluctant to mix politics with food. However, this is an exception. Just yesterday, one of my friends told me that I am not doing enough for the country (I interpreted it as selfishness). I therefore, made this Pakatan snowskin mooncake as my whimsy reply to her. To me, supporting a party does not mean you have to be physically present hailing your loyalty. This is my way of contribution.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Vertical Layer Cake/ Drip Cake

Today, I tried to cramp three techniques into one cake. This cake marked my first foray into Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC), first vertical layer cake, and first drip cake. Although the taste was good (as I am using my previous tested recipes), the artwork is mediocre at best. I have much to learn on making a smooth frosting and applying the dripping glaze.  I think my greatest enemy is my lack of patience. Making such cakes is a long process to say the least. It involves layers and layers of work. By the time I was at the decorating stage, the novelty sort of fizzled out. I was then left with a messy frosting and an urge to just abandon the endeavour. I am happy to say that I followed through to come out with this wonderful piece of art.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Lapis Legit / Spek koek 印尼千层蛋糕 (less rich version)

This is one of my favourite cakes but I have been putting off making this cake for the longest time. It is not a cake for the faint-hearted, literally saying. An original lapis legit uses about 30 egg yolks to make, not to mention about half pounds of butter. If the richness of the cake doesn't give you a heart attack, the process of making it will. Also known as a thousand layer cake (of course there is no thousand layer), it is very much a labour intensive endavour. You have to be at the oven most of the time watching the cake gets browned, levelling and then adding another thin layer. The process repeats itself at least 20 times to be considered a good bake. You need a lot of care and attention to produce even layers of straight-lined cake. After making this, I actually appreciate this cake more. It is a labour of love, a patience-endurance cake. This rookie here took 2 hours to finish my 20 layers. If you are making this for your loved ones, make sure you receive a well deserved recognition. Otherwise, just buy the lapis legit (better yet, at his/hers expense).

Lapis legit, also known as spek koek has its origins from the Nederlands whereby spek koek basically means bacon cake or cookie. Even the preferred butter is a Dutch butter called Wjisman. Having said that, the cake has evolved, since its colonial days, into what is uniquely Indonesian. If you haven't tasted this cake, it is rich and dense with a hint of spice to bring out the flavour of the cake. It can also be made into various variations, the popular one being added with prunes. The Chinese in Indonesia has adopted this cake as a celebration cake as well, a must-have luxury during Chinese New Year celebration.

As I mentioned earlier, this cake is incredibly rich. I wouldn't have made it if not for an alternative recipe that I have adopted which uses both equal number of egg to egg yolks. In order to prevent it from being dry, I used cake stabilizer (ovalette) to add softness and evenness to the the egg batter. I added rum to my cake for that extra aroma but this is entirely optional. As the cake has more protein content, it tends to taste dry if not careful. My bottom layers were more browned and dry because I took too long to bake the cake (an average of 5 mins cooking time per layer). I am hence, suggesting baking at 3.5 to 4 mins per layer to maintain the moistness in the cake. Another mistake I did was lined the sides of the cake with baking paper resulting in burnt sides. You don't have to. Just the bottom layer will do.

In between waiting for the cake, I made the word "福" (which basically means fortune/blessing) out of prunes, an idea inspired by Jenny Wen, a fellow baker. I first traced out a "福" word and then pull apart the insides of the pitted prunes to fill up the space. I then used toothpick to slowly push it to fill up all the space to make the word. This is another tedious process. I really salute you Jenny! For me, I am more happy cutting a "福" out of fondant and paste it there. I have to admit the result is smashing!

In conclusion, my lapis legit was a bit dry especially at the bottom. I loved the spice and beautiful layers so much I didn't have the heart to eat it. Thank God this cake is not as rich. I could actually pinch on it with lesser guilt. Give it a try, you might just get addicted.

Lapis Legit / Spek koek 印尼千层蛋糕 (less rich version)


300g butter
60 g/3 tbsp condense milk
1 tbsp rum (optional)

6 eggs
6 egg yolks
100g castor sugar (less sweet)
20g cake stabilizer/ovalette

80 gm cake flour
25g corn flour
1 tbsp all spice (or lapis spice)

Cooking Instruction

1. Grease a 7" square pan, line with baking paper (bottom only) and grease again. Preheat oven to 200C. Sieve ingredient C.

2. Beat ingredients A until creamy and pale. Fold in sieved flour in C.

3. In another bowl, beat ingredients B until ribbon stage (about 10 to 12 mins). Add to butter mixture in 3 parts, folding the eggs mixture in with a spatula until even.

4. Measure 1/3 cup of  batter and pour into tin. Apply evenly. Use the grill mode and grill for 3.5 to 4 minutes until top is dark golden brown. Adjust heat accordingly if browning took longer or shorter than 4 mins. Remove cake and use a leveler to gently press in the surface.

5. Pour another 1/3 cup repeat process. Note: as the cake height increases, it will be nearer to the heat element and hence cook faster. You might want to adjust the heat accordingly.

6. When cake is done, remove and set aside to cool. Cut the burned sides. Transfer prune calligraphy on top of cake.  (This step is entirely optional).

Still remember we have 6 egg whites? Besides the usual omelette, here are two recipes that could help you finish the egg whites..

Friday, 26 January 2018

Simple Cheezy Fish Fillet Parcels 简单芝士鱼包

I am not even going to lie. I am not even writing a recipe from scratch today. Pacific West has made it so easy for me that I do not have to prepare my own fish fillets. Yes, I cheated. I used fish fillets from Pacific West to make these. To be honest, I was ecstatic when they came out with a cheezy version. Just the extra umph that I need for the perfect parcel of goodness in one bite. I have always believed in Pacific West's products, ever since I used their tempura fish fillets for my Fish and Chips menu many years ago. Nowadays, Pacific West seems to have a diverse range of products to include Calamari Rings, Prawns and with also various preparation too!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Butter Cake II 奶油蛋糕 II

This is a refined version of my first butter cake recipe. After seeing so many smooth top butter cakes, I am inspired to make a flawless butter cake. A normal smooth top butter cake calls for a higher ratio of butter to flour (butter more than flour). As I do not like my cake to be too oily, my go-to recipe uses only an equal amount of butter and flour. This makes it harder to maintain that smooth top. The method and technique used here were the same as the old recipe save for the following changes:

1. Bake in a larger surface 7" x 7" pan;
2. Use low heat and steambake.

...and happily for me, the cake turned out just the way I liked it. Smooth top, good height and fluffy.

Butter Cake II 奶油蛋糕 II


4 eggs, room temperature
200g butter, softened
200g cake flour
110g and 50g castor sugar
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Cooking Instruction

1. Line a 7x7" tin with baking paper. Separate egg whites from egg yolks. Sift flour, salt, baking powder and sodium bicarbonate together.

2. Whisk egg whites until foamy. Add in 50g of sugar and continue to whisk until soft peak. Cream butter with remaining 130g sugar until pale and creamy. The volume should almost double. It is essential that this stage is done properly to give volume to the cake when baked.

3. Add egg yolks one at a time. Whisk well after each addition. Lastly, add in vanilla extract. 

4. Whisk in milk and then fold in flour 1/3 at a time.

5. Gently fold in 1/2 the meringue and then another 1/2. Do not overmix.

6. Pour batter into pan and level with spatula. Drop the pan a few times to level the batter and remove trapped bubbles.

7. Bake in a preheated oven at 150C for 45 mins before increasing the temperature to 200C for 10 mins. I added a tray of hot water at below the cake to bake together. If skewer comes out clean when tested, remove and  let cool in rack. 

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