October 16, 2009

Tangzhong, or the Water-Roux Method & Tangzhong Wholemeal Bread 65C湯種及湯種全麥土司

Hahaha ...! I can't believe it's already weekend! Yes, yes! I've got so many things that I'd like to do within two days ... Yet, there is so much distraction around me ... We'll just see how things will turn out for me and whether I can realize my goals this weekend.

Anyhow, I really want to share this amazing method of making bread with you! I know it's not that new anymore, but it really is a keeper! You've always been wondering questions like these about the bread and buns that you buy from bakeries outside: "The bread is so soft and fluffy! How did they do it?" "How can the bread stay so soft for so many days!!??" "Any secrets to homemade bread that can stay soft and fluffy for the rest of the week?"

Oh, well! I can't really think of that many questions on top of my head now. What I can tell you for sure though is that "secret ingredients" such as stabilizers, bread improvers, bread softeners and preservatives (e.g. xanthan gum and citric acid) are used for commercial bread and buns. Everyday at work, I have to go through and edit all the marketing and promotion materials for such ingredients. The more I read, the more shocking information I get! Man, this makes me think homemade bread and anything homemade are--HANDS DOWN--the BEST, HEALTHIEST and SAFEST!

At least, I'm glad that I can make my own bread from scratch. This ensures my family isn't consuming all those unwanted additives. But if you do happen to make your own bread, you often may end up asking, "How come my bread turns tough and dry in just 24 hours!?"

Let's say you've succeeded in making bread, this is very likely that the method you used was what we call the direct method (直接法) in Asian bread making. Bread made via this method almost always end up dry and hard the second day it was made. This is, in fact, the simplest method of all in the art and science of bread making.

Based on what I've learned over the last 2-1/2 years of baking and cooking, tangzhong, or the water-roux method (湯種法) is the best if what you're looking for is homemade bread that can retain its soft and fluffy texture as well as stay fresh for up to five days! Yes, you heard me right--no preservatives and all those "secret agents!" (Do note though other methods such as the 17-hour starter method [17小時麵包法] and starter method [中種法] work just as good--except they require more time and energy.)

The tangzhong method has been circulating in the Chinese baking community since Yvonne Chen's "Bread Doctor" from Taiwan (陳郁芬。《65C湯種麵包》。臺灣) was first published in 2003 or 2004. This was of course a rage in the Chinese blogging-baking community at first. Though the fever has faded, the method stays because it really works!!!

The secret to the success of this method lies in the tangzhong, or the water-roux starter (湯種). It was an ancient Chinese method used in the making of Chinese steamed buns (e.g. bao 包 and mantou 饅頭), dumplings (餃子), glutinous rice balls or tongyun (湯圓) and so forth. The Japanese recently revived the method, and it later became very popular in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia and other Asia regions.

In Japanese, tangzhong means either a warm or thin starchy (flour-based) starter. Bread that's made with tangzhong is called tangzhong bread. So, how does it do the magic of producing bread that stays soft and fluffy longer without the addition of any "artificial ingredients?" As you cook the flour-water mixture for the tangzhong over gentle heat, the starch begins to react with the water via gelatinization. The mixture will subsequently thicken up as the starch traps and locks moisture from the water. The cooking will have to be stopped once the mixture has reached 65C.

Thus, incorporating tangzhong into your bread will give you a soft, fluffy bread that has fine crumbs and springy texture. On top of that, it has better anti-staling effect! ("Thermometer-less?" No worries, we can still enjoy tangzhong bread with just our own judgment. =) Read more and you'll find out how ...)

I hope you get the picture now. I've been using the tangzhong method for over 1-1/2 years and am loving it to bits! Here, you'll see how tangzhong is made and a keeper recipe that I've used. Because we prefer wholemeal, oatmeal and multigrain bread, I NORMALLY won't make any plain white bread because it's really not good for you. ;P

In the meantime, I'd like to tell all of you I finally have my first square-looking bread loaf after many painstaking attempts!! HAPPY, HAPPY! Except that I actually had to "trim" it due to my poor estimation. I filled the tin with too much dough that the dough overexpanded out of the tin LOL! You learn along the way, right?

Anyhow, to get a square-looking sandwich loaf, all you need is a Pullman loaf tin that comes with a lid. They can be easily acquired at the baking supplies stores here. Bread baked in Pullman loaf tins yields a really thin crust and fine crumbs. I absolutely heart it, man! I just feel so sorry for those living in the U.S. because these tins cost a bomb over there and they're not that readily available. =(

The following is the wholemeal tangzhong recipe from the book. It was SO good! I couldn't believe the texture of the bread came out soft, fluffy and springy while having fine crumbs. And, all these qualities actually kept for five days! I only had to microwave the final slice on the sixth day. I made a little over two loaves and they kept me through till my last working day of that week.

Simple sandwiches made with the bread and served with ham, cabbage, Cheddar cheese slices, ketchup, mayo, orange marmalade and butter brought me a simple sense of happiness and achievement that were inexplicable. I felt so happy as I had my breakfasts and lunch at work! Oh, dear! Can you taste some homemade goodness now?

Tangzhong, or the Water-Roux Starter 湯種

The flour-to-water ratio for tangzhong is always 1 (bread flour) : 5 (water). Thus for instance, you can make a batch of approximately 300g tangzhong with: 

50g bread flour
250g water/milk
  1. Whisk (A) together till combined and lump-free, then heat this mixture over medium-low gentle heat in a saucepan--keep stirring continuously as you cook it
  2. Once the thermometer hits 65C--OR if you don't own a thermometer like I do, pay attention at all times. When the mixture starts to thicken up and once you can see "traces of line" with every stir that you make with a hand whisk--stop! This is tangzhong.
  3. Immediately remove from heat and transfer the tangzhong into another clean bowl; quickly cover with a piece of cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent a layer of "skin" from forming
  4. Leave it to cool completely aside before use; otherwise, it can always be refrigerated for up to two days--discard after that or even once it's turned gray (i.e. it's bad now.)
    Just bring it to room temperature right before using it. (I'm not too sure about this, but I've heard that tangzhong that's been left to age in the fridge for up to 12 hours is better. Hope I've got time to try this out.)
  5. When it's about time to be used, measure out the amount needed to carry out the following steps in bread making
65C Tangzhong Wholemeal Bread Loaf 65C湯種全麥土司 (Adapted from "Bread Doctor" 《65C湯種麵包》by Yvonne Chen 陳郁芬) 
Makes two 22cm(L) x 10.5cm(W) x 10cm(H) loaves

** I'm posting this recipe almost word-by-word from the book. The reason being that you may have success with the dough rising almost to or over the rim of the loaf tin using the original recipe. In contrast, I've never had successful attempts at making a square loaf or over-the-rim height of a loaf with original recipes. I wish the same will never happen to you! **

280g bread flour
200g wholemeal flour
10g instant dried yeast
50g sugar
7g salt

60g egg, at room temperature and slightly beaten
140g milk, at room temperature
120g tangzhong, at room temperature

50g unsalted butter, slightly softened at room temperature
  1. Combine (A) together and make a well in the center, then whisk together (B); pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix till a dough has formed and pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl
  2. Turn the dough out onto a surface and knead till gluten has developed, then knead in the butter till incorporated; further knead the dough till it's elastic and has reached the windowpane stage--i.e. a thin "membrane" can be formed by slowly, gently pulling the dough out towards opposite directions. It might take longer for the stickier wholemeal bread dough to reach this stage compared to plain white bread dough. But, DON'T SKIP this step!
  3. Round the dough up and place it into a greased bowl, cover and let it proof till it's doubled in size. To know whether it's doubled in size, dip your finger in some bread or plain flour and gently, slowly poke into the dough--of course, don't puncture it! If an indentation remains at where you poked your finger in, this means proofing is sufficient; otherwise, if that spot bounces back, let it proof further till the dough is doubled in size
  4. On a lightly floured working surface, deflate and divide the dough into four equal portions, with each weighing 220g (approximately,) then round up and cover them to let rest for 15 minutes
  5. To each of the portion of the dough, flatten it up and roll out into a rough oval-olive or rectangular shape with a lightly floured rolling pin. Next, roll it up tightly from the shorter ends the Swiss roll-style; pinch ends to seal the dough tightly. It might be slightly challenging to shape wholemeal bread dough. During the entire process, lightly dust your hands with flour, if and as necessary.
    Arrange rolled-up dough in a greased Pullman loaf tin starting from the center; repeat the same with the remaining portions of the dough. Arrange the loaf tin with those rolled-up portions of the dough till filled up--leaving some room in between each for expansion later on
    ** OK, I've read that some of you are having trouble with bread that doesn't reach the rim of a 22cm(L) x 10.5cm(W) x 10cm (H) Pullman loaf tin after the second round of proofing and/or baking. The author of the recipe does indicate that wholemeal bread dough doesn't rise as much as plain white bread dough does. Plus, I actually never follow the--or, any--bread loaf recipes to the "T." When I'm aiming for a square or any super tall loaf that can actually rise almost to or over the rim of the loaf tin, I always make sure the dough placed into the loaf tin actually has:

    • 1/3 or a little over 1/3 the height of the loaf tin, for a square loaf;
    • at least 1/2 the height of the loaf tin, for a bread loaf that has "humps" (i.e. its height is taller than the height of the loaf tin.) **
  6. Cover with a piece of cling wrap and let the dough proof till it's reached 80% of the capacity of the loaf tin. (If you want a square loaf, cover the tin--leaving 4~5cm of of "hole" for you to peek in--with the lid that comes with the Pullman loaf tin before the second round of proofing--it should be right underneath the piece of cling wrap.)
  7. For those who are baking a square loaf, slide the lid to cover the tin fully. For those who don't plan on using the lid to make a square loaf, you can brush the loaf with some slightly beaten egg if you want a glossy finish to the bread.
  8. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes or till the bread is golden brown and cooked through.
  9. Remove from the oven and immediately unmold the bread onto wire rack to let it cool completely. Slice to serve or store airtight once it's thoroughly cooled

    Because of the extra dough, I did something really weird with it and it ended up with a very awkward, funny shape LOL!

P.S. Here's to wish all Hinduists out there a Happy Diwali!!

October 14, 2009

Black Sesame Cookies 黑芝麻曲奇

It's been a week since I last updated my blog. Have been super busy lately with the so many things that are going on in my life. Phew! I feel stressed out and my skin has grown thicker because of work. True, true ... Now, I start to see the different facets of human personalities, be it good or bad. Getting into the workforce and interacting with so many strangers have been an eye-opener!

In the meantime, it's sad to say that I've been suffering from mild insomnia lately. I find it difficult to get into sleep and by the time 5 a.m. or so strikes, I'll be knocked out of my dreams completely. Worse comes worst, I have a pair of "panda eyes" now. Weird? *Fainted* I'm not too sure about the causes ... But, my suspicion may be correct ... I think I can't sleep well because of work stress and my fragile heart that's been touched by someone else. Sigh ... =.="" (Well, forget about the crap I talked about, this is a baking, cooking and food photography journal anyway. Duh! Silly me! Bah ... I feel a bit disorganized and unprofessional now ... :( )

I bet you wouldn't want any nagging and to hear good old grandma's stories from me about the person or whatsoever. So, to cut the story short, I'm presenting to you my bake from several weekends ago: black sesame cookies. =) My dad and brothers loved them especially! (My mom wasn't because she's not a big fan of anything sesame.) I also brought some to let my colleagues and ex-colleague try. They finished the cookies up! I was of course delighted to learn about this.

These cookies were on the crunchy side with a shortbread-like texture. The sesame aroma and flavor were good enough to be tasted and perceived-- and yet, they weren't overpowering at all! They also had a good strike of the buttery and sweet vanilla aroma! What a good treat to our sensual experience!

In fact, I baked the cookies twice during the weekend. My elder younger brother brought the entire first batch back to his apartment as he's studying in a smaller town over an hour away from home. I was so happy that I decided to whip up another batch the next afternoon.

On top of that, these cookies were not too sweet. My youngest brother thought that they could've been sweeter. He eats desserts but his tooth isn't that sweet. I was sort of surprised at his feedback actually! (Well, you get the picture here ... I'm obviously the eldest at home. =) ) So, for almost half the second batch, I coated the cookies with granulated sugar before baking. He REALLY loved them! Baby Bro, thanks for your appreciation and praises! Jie-jie (姐姐, which means elder sister in both Cantonese and Mandarin) loves you always!!!

These cookies were easy to be pulled together as they were basically sliced refrigerated cookies. (As long as you don't mind working with sweet, sticky dough ... I don't have any problems as I find these tasks OH-SO soothing ... What a relief from work stress!) Anyhow, I'd better stop my nonsensical talk and make way for the recipe:

Black Sesame Cookies 黑芝麻曲奇 (Adapted from Season Biscuits 《時尚餅乾》, recipe by Kevin Chai 蔡高晉)

120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60g castor sugar 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
180g plain flour, sifted once

40g pulverized roasted black sesame seeds (let it cool completely upon using)
1/2 egg, at room temperature

enough black sesame seeds
enough granulated/coarse sugar (optional)

  1. Cream (A) together till well-combined and look light and fluffy, then fold in the flour to blend well--STOP once a crumbly dough has formed!
  2. Divide the dough into half, then mix in (B) to one of the halves till well-combined; refrigerate both portions of the dough till they've become hard enough to be handled by hands--about 30 minutes mine took (I didn't cover them with cling wrap.)
  3. Remove both portions of the dough from the refrigerator. On slightly floured working surface, shape the vanilla dough into the shape of a log measuring at about 3cm in diameter and 16cm in length. Then, roll the black sesame dough into a rough 7x16cm rectangular shape; place the vanilla dough in the middle of the black sesame dough and "wrap them up."
    Further shape the wrapped-up dough to get a better, "smoother" shape of a log. Next, refrigerate till it's become hard enough to be handled by hands--mine took about 40 minutes or so (If you find the dough gets too soft and difficult to be worked with, refrigerate it immediately each time till it hardens up to the point whereby you can work with it easily.)
  4. Slice the cookie dough into 0.7~0.8mm-thick slices and arrange them on lined baking trays, leaving about 2.5cm of space in between each cookie for expansion during baking. Then, gently press some black sesame seeds over each of the cookies, with more concentrated on the whiter center
    *If you want sugar-coated ones, coat them in granulated or coarse sugar all over their sides, i.e. around the dark-colored "ring," before placing the cut-up cookie dough on the trays and before sticking them with some sesame seeds.
  5. Bake the cookies at 170C for 15-18 minutes or till they're slightly golden brown around the edges and their surface looks a bit cracked (No worries, the crack will sort of go away once the cookies are cooled completely.)
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately transfer them to cool on wire rack completely. Store cooled cookies in airtight containers

October 7, 2009

Madeleines à l'Orange et au Beurre Noisette (Orange-Browned Butter Madeleines)

Tomorrow is still a working day! That means I'll have to get to bed as soon as I'm done blogging here about my orange-browned butter madeleines. (OMG! It's past midnight again!!)

Speaking of these madeleines, I actually made them quite a while back--well before I started working. Gosh! About a month ago!? Yea, no
w that you know I'm a darn slow blogger with tons of back logs to clear ... =.=" ... I've actually been wanting to make madeleines since I was in the States. Too bad, it was really hard for me to get a hold of so many bakewares locally such as madeleine molds, financier molds, Pullman loaf tins (I'll try to talk about my bread baking with Pullman loaf tins soon ... So, stay tuned!), and a proper pastry bag with all those tips even though it was somewhere in the U.S. (For a country with such a great passion for baking, I personally feel that this kind of situation shouldn't happen. Never mind, those are history! I'm now back home in the big city!)

Then not too long after I got back to Malaysia, my itchy body and mind decided to go and shop at baking supplies stores. To my delight, I found silicone madeleine molds at one of the largest baking supplies stores in Malaysia. (Oh yes! You can tell I'm an addict of that store. They're very happy to see me there ... hehe ...!) I was over the moon that I immediately called my mom because both of us have been searching all over the place for madeleine molds!

To my dismay, I only came to realize that these molds actually stick to the finished products even though it claims to be silicone. I think I got conned! *Fainted* So, I learned my lesson and in the future, I'm going to grease and flour the molds--and, not to get conned! Of course, my best friend from high school who is in Taiwan (臺灣) now will help me track a few things down ... including madeleine molds hahaha! Thanks C! (Can't wait to visit Taiwan in the future!)

Successful madeleines have that "hump" that's characteristic of them. There're a few techniques to help achieve that "hump":
  • Refrigerate to chill madeleine batter at least three hours before baking. I prepared mine the night before and refrigerated it overnight.
  • Chill your madeleine molds in the refrigerator and make sure that they're cold by the time of baking
  • Fill each madeleine mold with the chilled batter till about 2/3 full as the batter will expand during baking

Madeleines are basically genoise, or sponge (cakes) to the French and Italians. Madeleine purists will insist that madeleines HAVE TO be baked in madeleine molds; otherwise, forget about calling the cakes "madeleines." It's the special scallop shape that makes it madeleine! These lovely French cakes are traditionally flavored with lemon zest. But because my family never runs out of oranges, I decided to flavor mine with orange zest--and beurre noisette, or browned butter. I'm happy to say that they turned out to be a great pair! Both my dad and I loved these cakes.

Don't forget that French specialties, including financiers and madeleines, are often made with beurre noisette, which literally means "hazelnut butter" in French. Browning the butter gives you that hazelnut-like nutty flavor. And when you use it in your baked goods, they're going to be scrumptious! Of course, it's not that hard once you've grasped the concept of browning butter. Just be careful--the butter may get burned in a matter of seconds!

The only complaint was that we think the madeleines were a little too sweet for our palate. I will adjust the quantity of the sugar the next time I make these again ... say, by 15g to 20g. I suspect if the sugar is reduced, will the cake structure be altered and thus, affecting the outcome!!?? O_O ...

Nonetheless, I've fallen in love with the light and soft texture of madeleines. I still find myself reminiscing the mildly sweet and tangy bursts of orange flavor in the midst of the delicate nuttiness of beurre noisette. Ahh ... yummy!!

Madeleines à l'Orange et au Beurre Noisette, or Orange-Browned Butter Madeleines (adapted from Pâtisserie Lerch, in Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets)
Makes 12 large or 36 small madeleines

100g butter, to be turned into 70g beurre noisette--we only need 70g

105g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

2 large eggs, at room temperature
100g sugar (I may reduce it to 80-85g in the future)

finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 tsp vanilla
  1. For the beurre noisette: melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat till it's completely melted, swirl the pan occasionally as you heat it. You'll see that as you keep heating it, the milk solids will be separated from the butterfat and sink to the bottom.
    With the continuous heating, the milk solids at the bottom of the saucepan will begin to brown and thus, giving you the unique nutty flavor of beurre noisette.
    Towards the later part of the cooking process, allow the melted butter to bubble away till it turns deep brown in color and has a hint of nutty smell.

  2. Then, immediately remove the saucepan from the heat; pour the beurre noisette over and let it run through a metal strainer to remove the solids--we only want the butterfat. Set it aside in a bowl to let cool completely before using
  3. Grease and flour your madeleine molds--you can skip this step if you're using silicone ones, then send to chill in the freezer till use later.
  4. Measure out 70g from the cooled beurre noisette and set aside. On the other hand, combine (A) together and sift once; set aside
  5. Mix (B) together till thickened and pale in color, followed by folding in (C) till combined
  6. Sift in the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and fold gently till incorporated. Lastly, fold in the beurre noisette gently till just blended--DON'T overmix by folding the batter too much as you may risk deflating the air!
  7. Cover the bowl of batter with a sheet of plastic film and chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours, or overnight
  8. When you're ready to bake, take the prepared molds out the freezer and fill each cavity with the chilled batter till 2/3 full; repeat till the batter is used up
  9. Bake at 200C for 11-13 minutes if you're making large ones while 8-10 minutes for small ones--OR till they're puffed, golden in color and their surface springs back when gently touched
  10. Remove madeleines from the oven and unmold to cool them on cooling racks immediately. Serve them either slightly warm or at room temperature--well, both are nice anyway!

October 3, 2009

Raspberry Chiffon Cake for a Birthday & A Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

I've planned so many things for myself this weekend. What's a girl to do when there isn't anytime for her to do what she really loves on weekdays? The result is a FULLY SCHEDULED WEEKEND!

About three weeks ago, I actually spent a couple of days at my Aunt's learning how to make mooncakes (月餅). My Aunt (二姨媽) has been baking and selling her traditional baked Cantonese mooncakes, snow skin mooncakes (冰皮月餅) and pineapple tarts (黃梨餅) for over 10 years. I was planning on trying to make my first mooncakes this year. But too bad, it can never happen due to bad timing. I just started my first real job and am working on my driver's license. Exhausted! Hopefully, I can make some next year ... Nonetheless, it was sure fun learning from and visiting with her. It was my first time seeing her since I got back from the U.S. Thanks for taking the time to teach me Aunt! Anyway, here're some of her wonderful creations:

Pineapple tarts (or Nastars) 黃梨餅

Cantonese-Style Mooncakes with Five Nuts Filling 五仁月餅
Shanghainese Mooncakes with Homemade Sweetened Lotus Seeds Paste and Melon Seeds Filling上海月餅

Cantonese-style mooncakes with homemade sweetened lotus seeds paste and melon seeds filling 純蓮蓉月餅

Anyhow, let's fast forward. I actually don't plan to make any cake for my birthday this year because I've got no time for that. Furthermore, my family isn't really big on celebrating birthdays; a birthday is just like any day for us. We're happy enough as long as we're one small happy family together!

Of course, disagreement is inevitable. In fact, I believe that it's only with disagreement that we can get to know each other better. The old Chinese saying "不打不相識!" aptly describes this situation. It literally means people won't get to know each other without any fights. When I was still in the States, I often missed those moments in which I verbally, and sometimes physically, fought with my brothers LOL! (Can you believe I'm a girl hahaha ...! =P)

Mom, thank you for giving birth to me 22 years ago with going through all the pain physically and emotionally. In Buddhism, the birthday of a person is called 母難日, which refers to the Day in which a mother has to go through all the physical pain and emotional struggle to give birth to her newborn child (or children if it was for twins, triplets, quadruplets, and so forth.) This is the Day for you to remember and appreciate what she did for you on the day you came to this world. Once again, thanks Mom! I love you!

My new colleagues at work actually invited me out for a karaoke session ... or, what we Chinese refer to as "to sing K" (唱K). There, we sang our heart out to our favorite songs for more than three hours! I couldn't believe they even celebrated birthdays for me and another colleague, who will also be celebrating hers the day after mine. Thanks guys! It was sure a surprise and treat for me!

As to what I've been doing on my own to "normalize" my birthday, all I want is to cook, bake, play with food photography, blogging and Flickr-ing. And, I'm a happy girl! Though I didn't make any birthday cake, I've tried a new cookie recipe and made some steamed sweet potato baos (i.e. Chinese buns) this evening. I'm thinking of making some new dishes and bread tomorrow for my lunch box for the next few days. Hahaha ...! Let's just hope I have the time and stamina to keep up with this baking and cooking journal of mine. (I've too many backlogs to clear ... =.=")

Though I made this LONG, LONG time ago while I was still in the U.S., I'd like to take this as my birthday cake! Funny eh? Actually, it was made for a potluck. This was a really refreshing cake. Made with fresh hand-picked raspberries from my family friends' farm. It also had homemade raspberry jam (also from my lovely family friends) sandwiched between three layers of raspberry chiffon.

For the final touch, I covered the whole cake with slightly sweetened whipped cream (NOT Cool Whip!) and gave it a fun swirl on top of the cake with raspberry jam AGAIN. The result was a REALLY RASPBERRY cake ... Sweet and with some tang, light and yet moist! Very, very refreshing! What delighted me the most was there were only two slivers of the cake left at the end of the potluck! Hehe ... ^^

October 03, 2009 is indeed a meaningful day for me. Coincidentally, this year's Mid-Autumn Festival fell on my birthday. Haha! I'm killing two birds with one stone! So, here's to wish all of you out there who celebrate this once-a-year occasion a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 祝大家中秋節快樂!Without further ado, here's the recipe for the cake.

Raspberry Chiffon Cake (Adapted from Peng's)
For one 8-inch tube pan

6 egg yolks, at room temperature 
50g sugar

1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp rum or brandy essence
OR 1 Tbsp raspberry paste, if available, instead of using the above-mentioned flavorings

200g fresh raspberries, puréed
60ml oil

120g cake flour, sifted twice


6 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

70g sugar

enough raspberry jam

250ml cold heavy cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
  1. Mix (A) together till sugar dissolved fully--the mixture should look rather pale and thick, then mix in (B) and (C) till combined; sift in cake flour and fold till just combined, then set aside
  2. Whip (D) together till foamy, then gradually beat in 70g sugar as you whip; whip the mixture till stiff peaks stage
    Fold 1/3 of the meringue gently into the raspberry mixture to "loosen up" the batter, then fold the remaining meringue in two batches gently into the raspberry batter till just blended--DON'T OVERFOLD it; otherwise, the air will be deflated
  3. Pour the batter into a clean, ungreased 8-inch tube pan--make sure the surface of the batter is even; briefly tap the pan over the bench to get rid of large air pockets
  4. Bake at 180C for 40 minutes till the cake test is done--the top of the cake should be golden brown and not sticky
    Immediately remove the pan of cake from the oven and invert it to let it cool completely. Unmold it once it's completely cooled
    In the meantime, whip (E) up till it holds stiff peaks; refrigerate to keep it chilled for use later
  5. To assemble: Slice the cake horizontally to make three layers out of it; spread some raspberry jam evenly over one layers of the cake, then top it with another layer of the cake. Repeat the same with this second layer; stop this particular process once you've gotten to the third, i.e. top most layer
    Completely "frost" the "filled" cake with the whipped cream, then swirl the top of the whipped cream-covered cake with some raspberry jam if desired; then, send the cake to chill for six hours to one night (I made mine the night before.)
  6. Slice and serve the cake chilled
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