Matcha Cake with Sesame Frosting

I fell in love with the Matcha-Black Sesame Frosting when my father scooped both those flavours into the same bowl at a dinner buffet in Hokkaido. Have I told you how delicious Hokkaido ice cream is??? It was so good that I even ate it for breakfast hahahaha.

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Anyway, the combination is so amazing, it definitely needed to be translated into a cake form.

Y’s birthday was today and tadah, no surprise that he loved matcha (everyone does) so it was a perfect opportunity to use the matcha and black sesame that I brought back from Japan.

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At first, I was going to follow mynameisyeh’s recipe to the T but the cake didn’t seem very nice to eat. It looked pretty but there’s more to cakes than appearances right? (as with everything, I hope)

So I was basically free styling a matcha cake and hoping that everything would turn out good, especially since it was someone else’s birthday cake.

I figured buttercream could be replaced with yogurt, since the purpose of both ingredients was the same, which was to make the cake moist. In addition, I replaced the boiling water with boiling milk to add more taste to the cake. Lastly, the directions in the original recipes were so vague, I had to come up with my own way of making the cake, with past experience of course.

So I present with you my Matcha Cake with Black Sesame Frosting ๐Ÿ™‚

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Makes 3 layers of 6 inch round cake or 2 layers of 9 inch round cake

Ingredients
2 1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
4 tbsp matcha
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup boiling milk
4 tbsp black sesame, toasted
2 cups butter
1/2 cup icing sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
2. Line a 6 inch round tin with baking paper
3. Sift plain flour, baking soda, baking powder and matcha powder together. Mix in salt.
4. Using a paddle attachment, beat sugar and oil until smooth and well-mixed
5. Add yogurt and continue beating for 1 minute
6. Add in eggs one by one until well-mixed
7. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
8. Fold in the boiling milk
9. Pour batter into lined baking tin (divide batter into 2 / 3 batches depending on tin size) and bake
10. Check for doneness at 25 minute mark
11. Beat black sesame, butter and icing sugar together, adjust icing sugar according to desired sweetness
12. Frost the cake and enjoy!

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Focaccia Bread

Sorry for the really really long hiatus ): My family is without a helper right now so I’ve been busy doing house chores and cooking the meals. It’s been super tiring cooking most of the meals and running around, so much so that I can see why being a housewife is a legit job all by itself. Hats off to all stay home moms!! On the bright side, I’ve been learning chinese cooking from my mother and trying out new recipes! I now pride myself in ‘marriage worthy veggies’, knowing how to stir fry my chinese vegetables and turning purple cabbage edible. More on my veggies later ๐Ÿ™‚

Also my 21st birthday just passed so I was a bit busy preparing my food for my party. It was a two day baking fiesta, consisting of carrot cake, lemon cake, earl grey tea cake, chocolate chip cookies and pizza. Decided to treat my friends to all my home baked stuff to show my appreciation for their wonderful presence in my life :))

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Thank God for my mother and D for being kitchen assistants ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, D came up with a super awesome drink combination of sprite, lemon and mint. Try it out if you need respite on a sweltering hot day (which means tomorrow).

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Anyway!
Today’s post is on anย amazing focaccia bread that I made for my family for lunch.ย I was a bit fearful and skeptical about how it would turn out because I never ever had affinity with bread making. But this bread is soft and pillowy. Topping it off with roasted garlic and onions made it perfect ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to make this more often just that I’m not really in the mood of cleaning up ten million baking equipment right now hahah but do try this out if you love bread and have lots of time to spare, waiting for bread to rise. It’s worth the wait.

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Focaccia Bread
from Epicurious
40cm x 30cm focaccia bread

Ingredients
350ml cold water
20g instant dry yeast
625g plain flour
13g salt
70ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing

Directions
1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer.
2. With a dough hook, knead for 5 minutes. Turn up the speed by 1 level and kneed for another 10 minutes until dough is smooth.
3. Transfer dough into a lightly greased mixing dough and cover loosely with a cling wrap. Wait for the dough to double, approximately for 1 hour.
4. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Punch down and flatten onto lightly greased baking tray. Spread till approximately 40cm x 30cm, not taller than 1/2 inch.
5. Brush with olive oil and proof for another 15 minutes.
6. Place desired toppings on dough and proof for another 20 minutes.
7. Bake at 210 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and brush with olive oil. Cool before serving.

Apple Crumble Overnight Oats

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Always wanted to share my overnight oats recipe here because it’s one of my go-to recipes for a lazy breakfast when I get sick of eating bread. I’m always eating my peanut butter bread in lectures which got really boring, so at one point, I started bringing my overnight oats in a small flask to school. But it’s a bit difficult to multitask eating oats with writing notes, so I gave up on that and reverted back to peanut butter bread. On a side note, the amount of peanut butter I consume scares me.

Even though I stopped bringing my oats to school, I never stopped making them at home for my weekends. I always have green apple and ground cinnamon at home, and can never say no to apple crumble so tadah, apple crumble overnight oats ๐Ÿ™‚

I made these for my Swiss friends when they came to stay in Singapore in June and they looooved it. So I’m sure you’ll love it too. And even if you don’t like apple and cinnamon, you can always play around with the flavours and add weird things to the oats. Just stick by the yogurt, milk and oats ratio for everything you do and you’ll be fine.

Oh, and don’t try adding milo. Looks like diarrhoea and doesn’t taste fantastic. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Ingredients
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup fresh milk
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 grated green apple
cinnamon
1 tbsp flax seed powder
Granola

Directions
1. Mix rolled oats, plain yogurt, fresh milk, chia seeds and grated green apple 2. in a mason jar/ bowl.
3. Sprinkle as much cinnamon as you desire.
4. Place it in the fridge overnight.
5. In the morning, top the jar of oats with more grated green apple, flax seed powder and some granola. Itโ€™s up to you! ๐Ÿ™‚
*You can add more milk in the morning if the oats are too thick for you

Yogurt Pancakes

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It is very very coincidentally, Pancake Day! Which happens the day before Lent starts because it’s full of fat which is traditionally forbidden during Lent. Whoa. That’s cool.

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This is probably my fourth pancake recipe on the blog but probably the easiest and most full-proof one out of all. The best part of this recipe is that it can be done in 30 minutes because it requires no whipping of egg whites separately. I was super tempted to whisk the egg whites separately but I decided to trust that the yogurt would do its job. And sure it did, the yogurt made the pancakes fluffy and tender.

This recipe is going to be part of my breakfast-in-bed series that I’m currently working on for The Auricle, a med school yearly publication so do keep a look out for that :>

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Ingredients
makes 15 pancakes
1 1/2 cup self raising flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup yogurt
2 large eggs

Directions
1. Sift flour and soda into bowl.
2. Add in sugar. Make a well in the centre.
3. Whisk milk and yogurt until smooth.
4. Whisk in eggs and butter until mixture is foamy.
5. Pour mixture into well and fold.
6. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes before frying the pancakes.

Earl Grey Tea Cake

541A2548 My House (another name for class in Med school) held a Christmas/ New Year party today and I decided to make an Earl Grey Tea Cake for dessert ๐Ÿ™‚ I first tried this tea cake at a cafe in Lavender but it was quite expensive, about $4 for a slice. I did like the flavours though, so I tried to replicate it at home.

When the cake first came out of the oven, I fell in love with the texture. But when I kept it in the fridge overnight, the cake became a bit dry which wasn’t to anyone’s liking. So I’ll most probably be tweaking this recipe by adding in yogurt for a moist cake!

Another gripe I had was that the Earl Grey Tea flavour was not strong enough. The taste was good enough but stronger would be better. So perhaps use more tea bags next time for the milk infusion?

I’ll post the updated version after my exams when I have time to play around in my kitchen but till then ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Goodbye!

Ps. The photos are prettier this time round because I took them on D’s pretty new hipster wooden table ๐Ÿ™‚

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Ingredients
240ml whole milk
4 bags Earl Grey tea
360 grams all-purpose flour
2ยฝ teaspoons baking powder
225 grams salted butter, at room temperature
180 grams granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions
1. Simmer milk in saucepan over medium low heat
2. Add the Earl Grey tea bags into the milk, cover the lid of the saucepan and steep for 20 minutes.
3. After 20 mins, squeeze tea bags of any milk and ensure that the infused milk still adds up to 240ml. If it doesn’t, add more milk.
4. Cut open the earl grey tea bag to use the leaves inside. Whisk the leaves, flour and baking powder together.
5. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together for 5-6 minutes until light and fluffy.
6. On low speed, add in eggs one by one until well-mixed.
7. Add in flour and milk tea in alternate batches until the flour is well-mixed, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
8. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
9. Pour the batter into your loaf pans.
10. Bake for 30-40 mins until the skewer comes out clean. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Magic Matcha Cake

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Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ™‚

I haven’t posted in a long while because I haven’t touched baking for a really long time ): I was busy with my mission trip in the past month hence the lack of time. And now with exams just 2 weeks away? It calls for stress-baking.

I stumbled across these magic cakes while surfing the net and they seemed quite magical. With one batter, you get two textures. A custardy, soft filling at the bottom and a spongy cake at the top. It sounded too good to be true so I had to try it.

It did come out with 2 layers but I wasn’t in love with the custard. I don’t think custards are my kind of thing, so yup, I’m not going to make this again. But if you’re curious about this cake, give it a try! Maybe you’ll love the custard more than I did.

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Magic Matcha Cakeย 
Ingredients
140g plain flour
2 tbsp matcha powder
113g butter
500ml milk
4 eggs, separated and at room temp
100g caster sugar
1 Tablespoon of Water

Directions
1. Melt butter
2. Warm up milk until lukewarm
3. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until pale
4. Whisk in butter and water until well incorporated
5. Sift in flour and matcha powder, whisk
6. Slowly whisk in milk until everything is well mixed
7. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks
8. Fold in egg whites into mixture, 1/3 at a time
9. Preheat oven at 150 degrees Celsius
10. Pour batter into a greased 10 inch square baking pan
11. Bake for 30 mins or until top is golden brown. The middle of the cake should still be wobbly when you take it out!

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These are the cookies I will bake for my kids so that they can eat warm cookies and drink milk before they go to sleep hahahaha. Always wanted a mother who would feed me warm cookies and milk before my bedtime but I guess my mother had other ideas, like stuffing me with vegetables.

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These cookies are the soft and chewy kind, not the crispy kind. I actually prefer the soft and chewy kind because they have more body and the best part of these cookies are that when you bite into, there are bits of gooey stringe-y chocolate ๐Ÿ™‚

This is going to be my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe from now onwards. It’s time to stock my fridge and freezer with cookie dough so that I can bake these cookies any time I crave for them.

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Ingredients
150g of butter
70g of packed brown sugar
50g of granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp of vanilla extract
240g of unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
170g chopped dark chocolate

Directions
1. Cream butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy.
2. Turn down mixer to low speed and add in eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until well-combined.
3. Mix at high speed for 1 minute and then stop.
4. Whisk flour and baking soda together.
5. Fold in flour mixture into butter mixture, until just combined. The batter will be stiff.
6. Fold in chopped chocolate.
7. Using an ice-cream scooper and a scale, weigh out 48g sized balls.
8. Put the balls into the fridge for at least an hour. (You can fridge them for a few weeks and bake them whenever you want to eat fresh chocolate chip cookies)
9. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius, place the balls of dough onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for exactly 11 minutes.
10. The cookies will come out looking slightly unbaked but just take them out because they will turn out perfect in the end. Let the cookies cool completely on the tray before transferring them anywhere, including your stomach.

Enjoy that nice, warm, soft, chewy, chocolate-stringy cookie :>

Courgette Cucumber Yogurt Dip

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In my last visit to London in June, Sandra and I met up with Esther and before that meeting, she texted me and warned me to leave enough luggage space for her birthday present ๐Ÿ™‚ I was super excited to meet her (not just cause of my birthday present but also because I haven’t seen her in a year) and I was overjoyed that she remembered to buy a present for my birthday. I didn’t buy a present for her though because she was miles away ): Anyway, she surprised me with a Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook :))) And as always, my luggage did not have enough space so I had to hand carry it onto the plane back to Singapore hahaha.

So as part of her birthday present (since I didn’t give her any), I invited her over for lunch and I cooked her a meal of Shakshuka (refer to previous post) and this courgette cucumber yogurt dip to go with the homemade pita breads.

I loved how refreshing this dip was. It was especially needed on that day because it was so hot and humid. Yogurt, cucumber and mint? I’ll say yes to that on any sunny day.

The Kaffir lime leaves were an interesting, exotic addition to this dish. Okay maybe not that exotic considering how almost every single recipe in the cookbook had an ingredient that I had never come across (Dakos?!?). However, I felt that the browned butter added at the end was unnecessary. The dip would work excellent without the butter. So here’s my version of Yotam Ottolenghi’s ‘Yogurt and Kaffir Lime Leaf Spread’

Serves four
Ingredients
1 small courgette
1/2 cucumber, grated
6 large fresh Kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
250g Greek yoghurt
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp shredded mint leaves
1 garlic clove, grated
salt

Directions
1. Mix the courgette and cucumber in a colander with 1/2 tsp of salt.
2. Leave to drain for about 20 minutes then squeeze them to remove as much liquid as possible.
3. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the lime leaves, mint, grated garlic and yogurt and mix well.

Shakshuka & Pita Bread

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I always wanted to try making this dish after spotting it at Habitat Coffee but I was missing a key ingredient, Harissa paste. To all Singaporeans, here’s the great news. I found it. The all important, life-saving Harissa paste. It costs $6.50 for a small bottle and is sold in Marks and Spencer. Don’t underestimate the flavour of this paste because adding that one teaspoon transforms the entire dish. It elevates an Italian-like tomato stew to this most amazing North African dish.

After buying the Harissa paste, there was no more excuse to not make this dish. So I invited Esther over for lunch today and she was just as excited to make this dish as I was ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank God she tried Shakshuka before in a cafe so she knew what the ideal taste was. For me, I was just making this dish because it looked amazing. So I had no idea how it was supposed to taste like. But damn, I was blown away by the final product.

541A0740You have to eat this with bread or just something to dip with. We made our own pita breads to go with our Shakshuka. We just went all the way with our exotic theme for lunch. Store bought pita bread simply wasn’t good enough. It had to be handmade. It was my first time making pita bread and I was really excited seeing it poof up though a bit disappointed that it was a tad too hard (perhaps I added a bit too much flour). I especially loved tearing my pita bread apart and stuffing the pocket with egg and tomato ๐Ÿ™‚ Quite upset that I’m starting my Atkins diet tomorrow. Bye bye pita pockets with Shakshuka ): 541A0726

Shakshuka
Serves 4

Ingredients
Olive oil
3/4 brown onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons of harissa
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of tumeric
200g of crushed tomatoes
3 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon of honey
60g of feta cheese
3 eggs

Directions
1. Heat pan with olive oil and fry the brown onions till translucent.
2. Add the bell peppers and fry till soft.
3. Add in the garlic and fry for another minute.
4. Add the harissa, paprika and tumeric and cook for another minute.
5. Add the crushed canned tomatoes, diced tomatoes and honey and simmer for 20 minutes, reducing it until the sauce is quite thick.
6. Add the feta cheese and stir through. Add salt & pepper to taste.
7. Crack one egg into a bowl. Make a well in the middle of the tomato paste and pour the egg into that well. Repeat with the other 2 eggs.
8. Place a cover on the pan until the egg whites are slightly set but the yolk is still runny.
9. Remove from heat and garnish with Italian parsley!

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Pita Bread
Makes 8 Pitas

Ingredients
1 cup of warm water
1 tbsp of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

Directions
1. Mix warm water, sugar and baking yeast in a bowl. Leave it to rest for 15 minutes until it has frothed up.
2. Pour the flour and salt into another bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the yeast mixture into the well and using your hands, slowly mix the flour into the yeast mixture.
3. Sprinkle a little flour onto your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
4. Oil a bowl and place the dough inside the oiled bowl. Let it rest for 1-2 hours until it has doubled in size.
5. Heat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius with the baking tray in the oven.
6. Roll out the dough into the size you want, making sure its at least half an inch thick so that it can puff up.
7. Place the pita bread onto the baking tray and watch it magically puff up! ๐Ÿ™‚ The pita is done when it is fully puffed up, about 2 minutes.

Fluffy Pancakes (2)

Pancakes

I got this recipe from the guys at Morino Lodge who so kindly wrote it down for me after we raved about how wonderful their pancakes were for breakfast. I’ll blog about Morino Lodge in my upcoming post on Central Japan, you have to stay with those guys when you’re in Hakuba. They are the best!

Anyway, these pancakes are fluffy, tasty and everything you want in that perfect pancake you dream about. You can whisk it up in just 15 minutes, let it rest for another 30 minutes and there, you have breakfast ready ๐Ÿ™‚

Ingredients
1 cup of self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup of milk
1 large egg
1 tbsp melted butter

Directions
1. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, make a well in the centre.
2. Whisk milk and eggs together until foamy.
3. Pour into well and fold.
4. Add melted butter and fold.
5. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes before frying the pancakes.