November 25, 2009

A Happy Thanksgiving & Cranberry Yogurt Chiffon 感恩節與蔓越莓優格戚風蛋糕

I normally don't have time to write something here on weekdays. I almost gave up on this post as I'll have another commitment to be taken care of this weekend. But, I've found a good excuse for me to do so this time. "It's gonna be Thanksgiving in less than two days," I told myself, "Heck! Just do something about it!" Well, is it that hard? NO.

You may wonder because I'm Malaysian and not American (duh!), why on earth am I talking about all these. Yes, it's true that I shouldn't have anything to do with it theoretically speaking. But, Thanksgiving was a part of me for almost three years when I was still an undergraduate in the U.S. And, I've got to say I enjoyed every part of this all-American experience ... ah hem, the Minnesotan way mostly. =_="

Besides the Fourth of July, Christmas and Halloween, Thanksgiving is also an important celebration among the Americans. Falls on the fourth Thursday of every November in the U.S., Thanksgiving was originally a fall harvest festival. It is now the time for people to show their gratitude, love and care to their loved ones, e.g. family, friends and neighbors. (If unmistaken, former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the one who made the date change to Thanksgiving during the World War II period, making them different from Canadian Thanksgiving hahaha ...!) This may sound ridiculous to you, but I've got to admit when it comes to Thanksgiving, most people in America will think of either "EAT" or "FEAST." The majority will always end up OVERFED and with TONS OF LEFTOVERS! It's true and I'd experienced that myself LOL!

For the Americans in general, roasted turkeys, cranberry sauce, dressings, stuffings, mashed potatoes and gravy as well as salads are a must for main course. The Thanksgiving Feast will always end with fall desserts. In other words, fall harvests such as pumpkins, squash, apples and cranberries will always find their way into people's tummies as desserts. Good, good classics would be spiced pumpkin pies and bars as well as apple pie. (Yummy!)

Because the U.S. is such a vast country, each region celebrates this special occasion in a slightly different way. Take for instance Minnesota, the state where I called home in the past 2.8 years. As I've mentioned, I saw America mostly from the eye of a Minnesotan. I can assure you that you can find hotdishes (or casseroles) on the table of most Minnesotan families on Thanksgiving and other occasions. Perhaps, its neighboring states Wisconsin and the Dakotas are big on hotdishes, too! Hotdishes are such a common dish served in that part of the Midwest.

From this year onward, I won't be physically celebrating Thanksgiving like how I did while I was in the U.S. Nonetheless, it doesn't mean I can't share that joy deep in my thoughts. I'd like to thus take the opportunity to thank my own family, including my mom and dad as well as my two baby brothers. My relatives and friends, who have been nice and taking care of me since my younger days, are on the list as well!

AND, how can I forget about the great, kind-hearted people I met in the States! I couldn't imagine the struggling and pain of going through all the difficulties alone as a student abroad for almost three years if it weren't for the help that these people bestowed upon me! Furthermore, I never got to fly home for a visit during those years! Can you picture the severe homesickness I was suffering from for that long? (LOL!) Yes, my own family did help in many ways ... But, they weren't there physically. Without these amazing people, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today.

Here's a shout-out to my Beloved in the U.S. (hahaha ...!) They are:

The Williams & the Cobbs: Steve & Bonnie, I miss you two dearly! =)

 Keren "Baker" Williams (Where are your chocolate chip cookies? =P)

Luke Williams

Abbi Cobb & her family =)

Martha Johnson & her family

Anna Edward & her family, with Henry the Dog (LOL!)
My American Grandma Ula Hoffer (L), Mathew (C) & his wife Emily (R)

The Lockes, especially Mike & Mary

Becky Boe & her family! Miss you guys! =)

And of course, Lucas Kennedy! How can I forget this cute little boy! If it not were for Keren babysitting him, I don't think I would've met this charming boy. His mom is a great nature photographer. =)

How can we end the Thanksgiving dinner without food! Here it is, my share for the Thanksgiving this year! Because cranberries are associated with fall and Thanksgiving meals, I'd like to dedicate this cranberry yogurt chiffon to all my loved ones, friends and all you out there who actually read my journal. The recipe is taken from Chiffon Cake Book by Junko Fukuda. I fell in love with the book at first sight. Fortunately, I got the last copy from the bookstore Kinokuniya! My goodness!

This cranberry yogurt chiffon is slightly sweet and comes with the tang given out by the bits of cranberries and yogurt added! Soft, light and moist, too! A really good cake dessert to make and share with your loved ones at Thanksgiving dinner!

However, do note that it's best to bake your cake according to the cooking time suggested by the recipe fully. In other words, neither less nor more than the suggested time; otherwise, it may end up either too wet due to underbaking or too dry due to overbaking.

Normally, the chiffon recipes I've tried call for some sort of leaveners e.g. baking powder and baking soda. But, this particular one only relies on the air beaten into the meringue to help leaven the cake. So, the texture of the cake is slightly different than leavener(s)-leavened chiffons as it's moister, softer and more tender ... almost melts in your mouth. With that said, you'll also need to be extra careful when folding the meringue into the cake batter. Once the air is all forced out, your cake is definitely going to be over!

Here's another reminder once again that this year's Thanksgiving falls on Nov 26. I'd like to wish a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all you out there who celebrate this special occasion! =)

Cranberry Yogurt Chiffon 蔓越莓優格戚風蛋糕 (Adapted from Chiffon Cake Book by Junko Fukuda 《好吃戚風蛋糕輕松上手》。福田 涥子)
For one 20cm chiffon cake tin

5 egg yolks, at room temperature
43g castor sugar
65ml neutral-flavored oil

2 tsp fresh lemon juice
130g plain yogurt

130g cake flour, sifted twice

7 egg whites, at room temperature
87g castor sugar

95g dried cranberries
enough cake flour (I used plain flour for this)
  1. Whisk (A) together till smooth and the sugar is completely dissolved--mixture should look somewhat pale yellow in color and sticky
  2. Add in (B) to the yolk mixture to combine well, then sift in the 130g cake flour and fold to fully combine it into the mixture. Set aside
  3. Evenly coat the dried cranberries with enough cake flour till they are well-coated with flour, then sift away excess flour. Set aside for use later
  4. For the meringue, whip the egg whites on low speed till it's foamy; gradually mix in the 87g sugar as you whip the egg whites on low speed. Continue whipping the egg whites till it's reached stiff-peak stage--this is the meringue
  5. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture to "lighten up" the yolk mixture as the density of both the mixtures differ greatly. Then, GENTLY fold the remaining meringue in 2~3 portions into the yolk mixture till they are just incorporated--DON'T overfold as you may risk deflating the air out of the meringue!
  6. Add the flour-coated dried cranberries into the batter and using a wide rubber spatula, gently fold till the berries are just evenly scattered throughout the batter--STOP there.
  7. Pour the batter into a clean, grease- & dirt-free 20cm chiffon cake tin all in one shot. Then, make sure the surface of the batter is leveled--level it out with the spatula if not
    Briefly knock the cake tin over the counter to get rid of large air pockets
  8. Bake at 180C for 40 minutes till the chiffon is cooked through, i.e. toothpick should be clean when removed after being inserted into the center of the cake and the surface of cake shouldn't be springy and not sticky to touch
  9. Quickly remove the chiffon tin from the oven, then immediately invert the tin to let the cake cool inside the tin completely.
  10. Carefully unmold the chiffon once it is completely cooled. Slice to serve or store airtight. Best consumed within 2~3 days


Anonymous said...

Oh Pei-Lin what a nice blog! Wish you could be here to join us for Thanksgiving. It looks like we will be having a rather small group gathering around our table. ......I have pots of pumpkin cooking on the wood stove right now. Some will go into pumpkin pie and bread and some to the freezer for later use.....Your cake looks delicious! Love you and Happy Thanksgiving to YOU! Bonnie

Jo said...

Hmm, cranberries always reminds me of Christmas and adding to a chiffon sounds really delicious. Lovely looking cake and great pics of the "family". Lucas looks adorable.

tracieMoo said...

Wow Pei-Lin, these looks great. I love the cranberry yogurt chiffon! I hope I could master chiffon baking some day :)

Tiny bakery said...

i didn't celebrate this occasion ^^
but i'd like to try your treat, it's sound good!!
i love tangy taste of cranberry and yogurt.

Ellie said...

Beatiful chiffon cake! Lovely photos of your thankgiving experience. Thanks for sharing. Love your blog :)

Mysweetkitchen said...

Nice to know your experience about thanksgiving day in the states. Your chiffon cake is perfect looking. I have not gotten a chiffon pan yet :P Maybe soon.. will do.

Anncoo said...

I love cranberries and this is great with chiffon. Let me add this recipe in my list. Thanks *-*

Cherry said...

Wow this looks so good! THank you!

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Bonnie: Hello from Malaysia! I, too, miss you guys a lot! I find myself reminiscing the fun time we had together ... simply brought tears to my eyes!

Yes, with the Cobbs out of town ... I guess the crowd should be smaller this year huh? Who are coming over for Thanksgiving? What's on the menu? How can people not have your signature pumpkin bread, pie & bars for Thanksgiving!!?? Good to hear that you now have oodles of pumpkin/squash stocked up for the year despite the chilly summer we had this year. =) Hope all is well with y'all! Ready for Thanksgiving?

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Tiny bakery: Do let me know how it turns out yea? Love your blog! Will keep following yours!

@Ellie: Thanks a lot for such encouragement! Will keep getting better ...

@Jo: Yea, cranberries are always associated with either Thanksgiving or Christmas depending on where you are. Thanks for the encouraging words! Lucas is definitely a charming boy! ^^

@tracieMoo: Trust me dear ... You definitely will a chiffon master! I'm learning from you, too!

@Mysweetkitchen: You don't have a chiffon tin!!?? Oh well ... it doesn't mean you can't make chiffons without the tins ... Any tins will do as a matter of fact ... Like when I make Swiss rolls, layered cakes with chiffon as base, I'd use some other types of tins. =) But, they aren't expensive anyway ...

Yes, got to make chiffons! Once you've tried, you'll be hooked to it!

@Anncoo: Yea, yea! Do try this and let me know yea? Sweet and tangy at the same time! Thinking about it makes me drool now ... T.T

@Cheryl: Thanks gal! Thanks for the support you've been giving me! =)

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Cherry: Sorry ... mistyped! I meant Cherry LOL! My brain ... Sigh ...

The Little Teochew said...

Heartwarming post, lovely cake! I can't for the life of me remember where I saw this cake (same recipe) but I remember it looked absolutely light and beautiful. This is the second time I am seeing another cake as beautiful.

MeRy said...


Dodol & Mochi said...

Thanks everyone!! I really appreciate the feedback! Every word counts! You've made my day! =)

@The Little Teochew: Hmm ... Was it on Florence's blog? I'm not sure if hers was taken from the same book though ...

ICook4Fun said...

Great looking chiffon cake. I am a big fan of cranberries. Can't wait to try this out. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Dodol & Mochi said...

You're most definitely welcomed Gertrude! Have been a fan of yours since my time in the U.S. ... Without your generosity and sharing, I wouldn't be able to recreate Malaysian comfort food! You've been my "sifu" ... =)

Please do let me know how it turns out for you yea?


Angie's Recipes said...

That's a nice Thanksgiving celebration!
The chiffon cake has always been a favourite of mine, just can't get enough of them! Your cranberry chiffon cake looks perfect!

eat me outta here! said...

I love chiffon cakes! I think I might try this recipe with dried blueberries! Can you tell me more about the Chiffon Cake Book by Junko Fukuda. What other recipes are in it? I searched for a copy of it here but can't find it. Thanks for blogging and happy Thanksgiving!

Dodol & Mochi said...

Thanks all, I appreciate the encouragement! =)

@eat me outta here!: Hello from Malaysia!! Yes! Dried blueberries sound like a superb idea for this sweet and slightly tangy chiffon! Too bad, it's a bit hard and more expensive for me to get a hold of these babies here. But, would love to try toying with this idea when the time comes. Thanks for sharing this, too! =)

Not even ONE copy in the entire NYC!!?? My goodness! Actually, these were originally in Japanese and some Taiwanese translated them into Chinese. I got mine at Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya. Is there one in NYC? I'm not too sure whether Kinokuniya in the U.S. are catered to the market there even if there's AT LEAST one in NYC. I reckon eBay & Amazon have Chinese and any other Asian cookbooks on sale. Perhaps, you can try looking for the book on Taiwanese and Hong Kong Websites? Start with the following first ... I've heard of this since my time in the U.S. as a student.It's like Amazon & eBay, but is catered to the Asian market in the U.S. & Canada:

Anyhow, as said, this book is in Chinese though ... Will you be able to read it?

Thanks for stopping by! You've made my day!! Please don't hesitate to ask me if you've any questions ... I'll answer them as long as they're within my capability to do so LOL!! =)

quizzine said...

Cranberries and chiffon sounds like a good combi! I can imagine the homesickness u felt at that time cos my sis had been away to States for over 10 years, and we miss her dearly ;-( Very heartwarming to have friends to be around you in times like this.

Dodol & Mochi said...

Hello Quizzine!

Thanks for the kind words! Aww ... Poor dear ... Does she get to come home for a visit every so often though?

It's true ... Without these great, gold-hearted people, I couldn't imagine the mental & psychological pain I'd to go thru. Furthermore, they were sort of the ones who pushed me into the amazing world of baking & cooking! =)

Thanks for stopping by once again! Both of us jiayou in the name of cooking & baking!!!


Food For Tots said...

I don't celebrate Thanksgiving but it's great to always remember to thank our family, friends and relatives. Your chiffon cake looks awesome! You are such a talented baker. Nice shots too! ;)

Dodol & Mochi said...

Thanks! Actually, we should really thank our loved ones and whoever who have helped and been kind to us every second of our lives! LOL! Oh well ...

Oh, no! I'm barely a novice in the kitchen and behind the lens! Yours are way better than mine! I've still got a long way to go LOL! Thanks for the encouragement nonetheless.


zurin said...

LOve the cake. Looks like youll be missing so many lovely people Pei Lin.Im sure they'll miss you too :)Lovely post.

vincent said...


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Quinn said...

Random....that's a long list of inspiration blogs you have there. Thanks for adding me.Do update more!!!!


Dodol & Mochi said...

Thanks all!!

@Zurin: Yes, I do miss the folks back there! Thanks once again for the encouraging words! I've actually been following yours since my days in America!! Love it!!

@vincent: Thank you first of all!! I think I've joined the Site for quite a few weeks ...

@Quinn: I love your sense of humor LOL!! Yes, as soon as I've fallen in love with one blog ... that'll be my inspiration ...!! =) You guys inspire me in many ways!!

Mrs Ergül said...

Wow I love the look of this! I wonder if it will work as well in a bundt pan. What do you think Pei-Lin?

Dodol & Mochi said...

Hmm ... I've not thought of making chiffons in a bundt pan. I guess all pans work as long as they're clean & grease-free. But, I can foresee the tougher part of unmolding fragile chiffon from bundt pan due the pan's design. How about a round cake pan or a loaf pan? Or turn it into cupcakes! Those should work just fine!

Thanks for stopping by Pei Lin! *chuckling*


Angie's Recipes said...

I think the thickness of both yoghurt and sour cream are about the same. What type of yoghurt did you use for the cake? A plain yoghurt with 3.5% fat?

Dodol & Mochi said...

Hey, Angie! Mine was fat-free. I tried to check the specificity of details from the packaging of the yogurt tub. The percentage of fat wasn't listed however. All I can say, for sure, is it was runnier than sour cream ... at least for the sour cream that I've come across in my life so far.

Due to our diet here, sour cream isn't something we keep in hand in the fridge. So, I reckon the yogurt sold in Europe & the U.S. is way creamier, thicker than what we can normally get here. I've heard from other blogger friend that the yogurt sold in Beijing even comes with straws for people to drink on!

I'm glad that you tried the cake out! Glad to know you love it! =D


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