Banana Mini Pound Cake

It’s a lazy Saturday today… plus the hubby is hard at work finishing up his report, paying me no attention at all!

So I decided to bake another round of mini pound cake from my new favourite website! Ok I actually gave him a choice – lemon pound cake again, or banana one. He still has this big ulcer in his mouth so he opted for the banana one. Banana pound cake it shall be!

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Look at how it browns so beautifully in the oven!

BBC Good Food did not disappoint again, although I think it could be a bit better if I had used another type of banana.

The nicest banana cake I baked before used the small ripe type, instead of the big ones that are more common in supermarkets now. Thus the banana taste this time wasn’t as rich as that time when I used the other sweeter type of bananas for baking.

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Left: Candy Apple Bananas which are very much sweeter. Right: Cavendish Bananas which are more commonly found in supermarkets, but less sweet.

Nonetheless, they still taste good. A good snack on a lazy Saturday, to curb my constant hunger pangs now.

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A full plate of banana goodness!

Amendments to the recipe:

  1. Halved the ingredients to fill 3 mini pound cake tins instead of a big one.
  2. Baked for 25 minutes.

Get the recipe here:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2249656/brilliant-banana-loaf

Lemon Mini Pound Cake

It’s been some time since I’ve baked, or cooked.. I guess the freshness of having my own place has worn off, or I’ve just become lazier. However, it’s the school holidays now and even lazing around at home can get boring. Thus I decided to look for a simple recipe, one that has few ingredients and easy steps. And I found the perfect website!!!

“BBC GOOD FOOD”

Reasons why it’s now my favourite website for baking recipes:

  1. Metric measurements – I generally prefer measuring the ingredients using a weighing scale instead of cups, cos it’s cleaner.. especially when measuring wet or sticky ingredients.
  2. Self-raising flour – I love to use self-raising flour cos it already has salt and baking powder, so I do not need to measure 2 extra ingredients.
  3. Simple list of ingredients and simple steps!

Plus the final product was soooo good! I am seldom so satisfied with my final bakes out of the oven, but I’m really very happy with this one! In fact I was so eager to pack them to share with my parents that I’d forgotten to lay them out nicely for a pic before packing them into containers!

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Amendments to the recipe:

  1. I halved the recipe again as usual, to fit them into my 3 mini pound cake tins, instead of the big pound cake tin.
  2. Baked for 25 minutes in the oven.

Get the recipe here:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4942/lemon-drizzle-cake 

Sour Cherry Muffins

It’s been a few weeks since I last updated this blog, and that is because I went on a vacation! Woohoo~~! I believe all teachers work hard during the school term and look forward to having a really good break during the school holidays. I love going on vacations!

This June I went on a tour with my family to Croatia. Lovely country, lovely people, but nope, not lovely weather. It was freaking hot! But I guess it’s the same for most European countries because another colleague also came back from Switzerland, a shade darker.

Good news is, Croatia has lots of farmers’ market during the summer period… and boy I love shopping at their farmers’ market! There are so many local produce and for someone who has just taken up the interest of baking, I see these products as the ones I could use for baking! We bought LOTS of jam – interesting flavours are like figs with orange, and figs with cocoa. They produce good figs there!

However, I chose to give away the figs ones to relatives, and kept just one jar of sour cherry for myself. I did that because I also bought 2 small bottles of their local cherry wine, Maraschino, and I thought that they will go well together!

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I found a normal jam muffin recipe online, and modified it by adding 1 tablespoon of Marachino.

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I always love food stuff that has some alcohol in them. I’m not a frequent drinker, but who can argue that liquor chocolates just has that bit more oomph, especially the kind that flows out when you bite into them! Mmmmm!

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Yup that’s the sour cherry jam I bought from Croatia. I still have quite a bit left, so I’ll be using them again tomorrow when I try to bake a Raspberry Swirls Cheesecake. (I freaking love cheesecake!!)

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Add a generous dollop of jam onto the batter in each muffin cup. The jam is more sourish than sweet, therefore there is less chance of the muffins being too sweet, compared to if I’d used normal fruit jams.

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Swirl the jam around using a toothpick…

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And this is the end product! Sadly the cherry liquor could not really be tasted, but the jam is pretty yummy! It might be due to the alcohol that the muffin did not rise high at the end of baking, but was actually rather flat in comparison to the typical muffin. Taste wise it’s good, not overly sweet. Texture is also good as it comes off the muffin cups easily and doesn’t stick to the paper. An adjustment I would make would be to just bake it 5 minutes longer to just harden it a tad more.

Original recipe: http://chezcateylou.com/2013/07/10/raspberry-cream-cheese-muffins/

I’ll retype the modified ingredients list here. Just something to take note, I prefer using grams for measurements, and I’ve also halved the recipe to bake 6 muffins instead of 12, as the latter is too many for just 2 of us to finish.

Sour Cherry Muffins Ingredients:

  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 113g cream cheese
  • 56g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 60g milk
  • 2 tbsp of jam (any preferred flavour)
  • 1 tbsp cherry liquor

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

The taste of success from my maiden attempt to bake cheesecakes has gotten me hooked onto baking even more cheesecakes! (I know, I know… I started off saying that I would like to focus mainly on muffins, thus the blog name… but… I really love cheesecake!)

I decided to try a lemon one, as I really like the myriad of flavours it will bring – sour and sweet together. I adjusted the recipe to fit my 8×8 inch pan instead of the rectangular one used in the recipe, and it turned out fine.

C360_2015-05-24-21-04-51-951Definitely didn’t turn out as well as my previous attempt at baking a Nutella Cheesecake but it’s still pretty decent. Only difference is the CRUST, never belittle the crust!

Although this recipe also doesn’t use the typical graham crackers, somehow it’s not as good as the previous one. It’s more crumbly (as seem from the pic) and not as tasty. Thus I’ve decided to stick to the Nutella Cheesecake recipe for the crust, no matter which other type of cheesecake I would try to bake in future.

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The lemon cheesecake definitely tasted better after hardening in the refrigerator. Here’s a pic of a piece of it, soon to be eaten by me, who was relaxing in front of the TV after a hectic day at work. Cheesecake just has that amazing effect.

Get the recipe here:

http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/lovely-lemons-lemon-cheesecake-bars/

Nutella Cheesecake Squares

I’m finally done with my Mid-Year Exam marking! 100 Continuous Writing, 80 Situational Writing, and a full NT paper. Nobody can remain sane marking that kind of load! Thus, what I did was to have some things in mind to look forward to doing after I’ve completed the marking – to go watch Pitch Perfect 2 at the cinemas (Fat Amy’s hilarious!!!), and to try to bake this Nutella Cheesecake recipe I found online!

I’ve about 1/4 bottle of Nutella left in my cupboard and have been meaning to finish it, thus googled for Nutella recipes. Found one with pretty pictures of the final product and it looks easy enough to follow!

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Note that this is the first time noob baker me is trying to bake a cheesecake. The steps are significantly different from baking muffins, so it’s really a case of trying to make meaning out of words in the recipe. The above pic is of the crust before it went into the oven.

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And here’s what it looks like out of the oven.. a nice brownish look. Compliments from my friends and family who tried the end product are mostly for the crust. Somehow it has the right proportions of each ingredients that gave it a nice caramel-ish taste.

C360_2015-05-21-23-28-53-346After adding the cheese mixture, I started working on my Nutella swirls design. As shown in the pic, I thought of doing a standard pattern as I’m really not good at art, or design… and my ‘swirls’ will probably not look like what you are used to seeing. However, after applying the standard pattern, I realise that the Nutella is not spread evenly! Some parts are much heavier on Nutella and some almost not getting any. Sigh… So I tried my hand at drawing the swirls, using a toothpick.

C360_2015-05-21-23-22-36-035Here’s how my cheesecake looked like after being baked in the oven. The swirls look decent, I must say! There’s definitely room for improvement, but let’s take things one step at a time.

C360_2015-05-21-23-30-58-255And this is the final product after being refrigerated! Now I admit, I was being lazy and did not wait for the cream cheese to melt completely before mixing them with the other ingredients.. but it turned out ok! In fact, a colleague said that she actually liked it like that, cos she could actually bite into the small cheese chunks.

A surprisingly good first attempt at baking cheesecakes!

Get the recipe here:

http://ohsweetday.com/2014/09/easy-nutella-cheesecake-square.html

Kaya Butter Muffins

After trying my first few bakes, which consists of mainly fruity ones – banana, strawberry, blueberries, lemon etc, the hubby commented that he isn’t such a big fan of sweet muffins, and that he would prefer to have savoury ones. NOW YOU SAY!?!

Anyway I thought hard about it… savoury.. hmm. Bacon muffins!? My colleague cringed when I presented the idea to her. 

Just when I was about to give up that thought, one day my sister-in-law’s future parent-in-laws shared something with us. They told us that their daughter has set up a cafe at Australia selling kaya cakes, which turned out to be quite a hit with the locals.

KAYA!!!

So I turned to my best friend Google, and indeed, there were lots of kaya muffins recipes online! I settled on one to try out, and since this is one of my best bakes, I stand by this recipe!

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I liked the recipe so much that I have already baked it twice! Of course I made some adjustments to the second try to improve on it. More will be shared later.

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This is how it looks when split open. Nice dollop of kaya nestled snugly in the muffin. I used Ya Kun’s kaya by the way… it’s a tad too sweet so if you’re not one who likes your kaya too sweet, I would suggest getting one elsewhere.

My first time round baking this was considered a success. I brought 4 over to my parents-in-law’s place and my father-in-law ate one, and actually thought that it was bought by his wife from outside.  *beams with confidence*

Now from an objective point of view, the muffins have some areas for improvement.

1) There’s a slight (just slight) sour taste to the muffins. I reckon it’s due to the use of Greek yogurt instead of the more common Swiss type. So I used the latter for the second try. 

2) The original author of the recipe liked her muffins ‘naked’, so I followed her recipe, by leaving out the muffin cups. However, without the the muffin cups the muffins looks more ‘stout’ and flat. I like my muffins to be towering out of their muffin cups, so I decided to use them the second time round.

3926432_20150428_163733After baking muffins for a few times already, I figured that I should fill the batter to about 3/4 of the cups. Half of it will not give me the towering effect!

4083137_20150428_163412Adding the butter does make your entire muffin much more oily, but it also makes it more fragrant! Oh and no matter how you would like to amend the recipe, DO NOT compromise on the coconut oil. It is SO fragrant!

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There you go.. an improved version of the Kaya Butter Muffins. You could compare the looks of it with the first version. This definitely looks more inviting to be eaten. Ooh and I really love how the kaya oozes out from the top of the muffins!

The hubby loves it! Aww!

Get the recipe here: http://phonghongbakes.blogspot.sg/2013/06/kaya-muffins.html

Matcha Mini Pound Cake

So today has been a very busy day for me at work, and there is this huge pile of work that I brought home and is now waiting for me to complete. What do you do when you are faced with such a situation?

You take a break… and bake!

Now after my previous rather successful bake in the mini pound cake tins, I decided to try baking in them again. Since I had a few packets of matcha powder from my matcha muffins bake session with my sis last week, I decide to try to look for a matcha recipe. By the way I have not updated this blog regarding the matcha muffins one… I wasn’t very happy with the way they turned out so let’s just shelf it first in the “list of unrecorded bakes”.

Anyway back to my mini pound cake. We all know Google is our best friend, and there are TONS of recipes online, just ask Google and all will be handed to you in seconds. So how do I select which one to use, out of so many?

I find it a personal achievement if I’m able to create a dish using existing ingredients at home, especially the ones you have bought specially for the last bake, and probably wouldn’t be using for other uses. I’ve 2 boxes of half used cream cheese, so I set out looking for a recipe that required that. I chanced upon a matcha cake recipe that uses cream cheese! Bingo!

20150508_185855Love the greenish tinge of the batter after the matcha powder has been added.

20150508_190635I’m glad that I didn’t choose to leave out sesame seeds from the recipes, as the add give the cake a nice finishing touch. I didn’t have any at home and actually had to look for it at a few supermarkets. I could leave it out, but the cake would look so bare and boring wouldn’t it?

20150508_191605Love how they are rising very nicely in the oven… IF ONLY they could stay that way! By the end of 25 minutes (for mini pound cakes) the batter had risen so much it looks like there are mini Frankensteins waiting to emerge from inside! See the next pic!

PSX_20150508_204057Yup that’s how they looked straight out from the oven.

However, they actually tastes good! I think the fragrance from the sesame seeds helped give it that extra oomph. I let the hubby try when he came home and he loved it! Kinda upset though, when he commented that this is his favourite of all my bakes. After more than 10 bakes, he only found his favourite NOW!?!

C360_2015-05-08-21-32-47-965Yup that my version of the matcha pound cake. It’s a simple recipe to follow, and tastes good too. Just remember to have a packet of roasted sesame seeds for this!

Get the recipe here: http://www.thinkmatcha.com/blogs/matcha-recipes/9656463-matcha-green-tea-cake-with-mascarpone

Note:

If you look at the recipe, the pictures posted by the original author shows a very strong green colour on the cake. I actually added more than 2 teaspoons of matcha powder, yet mine didn’t turn out half a green. I’m not sure why…?