Ondeh-Ondeh Cupcakes

Lately, there has been a craze for kampung cupcakes in Singapore. Furthermore, since Halalfoodhunt has been running for the past six months, people have been coming to me to ask for such kampung cupcake recipes. Alright, let pause for a while and allow me to explain what kampung cupcakes are.

Kampung cupcakes are cupcakes inspired by flavours of traditional Malay kuih such as ondeh-ondeh, kuih talam, putri salad and many more.

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When I first discovered about kampung cupcakes, I was apprehensive about making them. As much as I appear to be modern and all, I still love my traditional Malay kuih the way they are. Then, I succumbed to peer pressure and relented. I had to try making this ondeh-ondeh cupcake, especially since Fluffbakery keeps having their sold out. I totally winged this recipe. I made minor adjustments to a vanilla cupcake recipe, and basically followed my gut. So before I forget the recipe (I have a habit of not taking note of my recipes), here it is.

Feedback from my friends is that the taste of coconut is not overpowering, and the infusion of gula melaka and real pandan extract makes you forget you’re eating a cupcake. I hope this recipe will work fine for you!

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Ondeh-Ondeh Cupcake

makes 12 cupcakes

Real Pandan Extract

1 huge bunch of pandan leaves, cut into smaller pieces

1/2 cup water

  • Blend the pandan leaves and water together in a blender.
  • Strain the pandan juice through a fine sieve, or a cheesecloth if you prefer.
  • Squeeze out as much juice as you possibly can.

Pandan Cupcake

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups caster sugar

125g unsalted butter at room temperature

2 tablespoons real pandan extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg.
  2. Sieve flour, baking powder and salt through a fine sieve. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together until white and fluffy.
  4. Add in eggs, one at a time.
  5. Add flour mixture, alternating with milk and the pandan extract.
  6. Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl and beat for another minute or two until the batter is well incorporated.
  7. Divide the batter equally into a muffin tin that has been lined with cupcake liners.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  9. Ensure that the cupcakes are cooled down to room temperature before you core and fill them.

Pandan gula melaka filling

200g gula melaka, cut into smaller pieces

150ml water

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

  1. In a pan, add the water to the gula melaka and let it simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes, or until all the sugar has been dissolved and the sugar solution thickens.
  2. Let cool to room temperature before adding the desiccated coconut and mix it well.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 cup desiccated coconut

  1. Beat whipping cream with sugar and vanilla on medium high until stiff peaks.
  2. Gently fold in the desiccated coconut into the cream.
  3. To assemble, core the cupcakes, then fill in with the filling and pipe the coconut whip cream on top as desired.

The Perfect New York Cheesecake

I’ve made a few cheesecakes in my life. Some of them dry and heavy, others too sweet and tangy. Yesterday, I made the perfect New York Cheesecake. It came out with a beautiful flat top, no cracks and a perfect height for my liking. I was almost in tears.

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I realised the secret was a lot of patience. All in all, a cheesecake is very easy to make. It is how you bake it that makes a difference. I’ve tried making cheesecakes with and without a water bath, and at different temperatures. After watching a few YouTube videos, I finally found the perfect method. I was jittery throughout the 2 hours the cake was in the oven so I had to force myself to keep calm and watch an episode or two of Orange is the New Black on my laptop. But trust me. It was worth it.

This is probably the only recipe I know by hard because it’s actually my sister’s recipe. Hehe perks of being bullied into helping them I suppose.

New York Cheesecake

200g chocolate digestives (I used the ones from Marks and Spencers)

80g melted butter

3 packs of Philadelphia cream cheese (softened to room temperature)

200ml Bulla Premium Sour Cream (you can use light sour cream too)

1 cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

juice from half a lemon

3 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.
  2. Blitz the digestives in a food processor. Add the melted butter and mix well. Press the biscuit base into the base of the spring-form pan to form a crust of about 1 centimetres. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Using a mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar till fluffy, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add in vanilla essence and lemon juice.
  4. Gradually add eggs, one at a time and be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to mix everything well.
  5. Add in sour cream and give the batter one last mix.
  6. Before pouring the batter into the spring form pan, wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminium foil. This will prevent any leakages or any water from the water bath leaking into the pan.
  7. Place the spring form pan in a bigger baking pan. Fill the bigger pan with hot water.
  8. Pour the cheesecake batter into the spring form pan. Make the top as neat and smooth as possible. Cover the top with a piece of aluminium foil.
  9. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for an hour. After an hour, continue to bake but remove the aluminium foil on top. Bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the top has a nice brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  10. DO NOT TAKE THE CAKE OUT OF THE OVEN. Switch off the oven, and leave the door of your oven slightly ajar by placing a wooden spoon to keep it open. Leave it in the oven for another 45 minutes. This will prevent the cake from cracking due to the sudden change in temperature.
  11. Take the cake out and remove from water bath and let it cool for another 2 hours before placing in the fridge overnight.
  12. Cake is best served chill with coffee on the side. Enjoy!

Let There Be Cake

Last week’s Masterchef Junior Episode saw the little kids baking a layer cake for the elimination challenge. Watching them cook and bake would put many of us to shame, really. These kids are 8 to 13 year olds, mind you. Naturally, I got reminded of  my first layer cake which I made when I was fourteen. After the first successful attempt, my best friend asked me for help to make her mum’s birthday cake. I brought along my baking tins over to her place and we made the cake, albeit it wasn’t so pretty. And I only got my baking tins back about 3 years ago. (I still love you Hannah :P)

So since I haven’t baked in a while, I decided to bake today. This is a spin off to the first layer cake I made. If I’m not wrong I used the Hershey’s Celebration Chocolate Cake back then. Fast forward 9 years and here I am using Valhorna instead of Hershey’s! Talking about improvements!

I adapted Nigella’s chocolate cake recipe and Kak Rima‘s chocolate ganache recipe. These two will never go wrong, trust me. Just pardon the ugly frosting and piping. I’m still working on that.

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Nigella’s Chocolate Cake

For the cake:

400 grams plain flour

250 grams castor sugar

100 grams brown sugar

50 grams best quality cocoa powder (I used Valhorna as it IS the BEST!)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

142 milliliters/small tub sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

175 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled

125 milliliters corn oil

300 milliliters chilled water (I used milk instead – it’s way nicer!)

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
  • Butter and line the bottom of two 20cm sandwich tins
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring jug whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Using a freestanding or handheld electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended (you’ll need another large bowl for this if using the hand whisk), then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed. Add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared tins.
  • Bake the cakes for 50-55 minutes or until a cake-tester (toothpick or satay sticks) comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

200 ml double cream with at least 30% fat content (I used Millac – 38% fat)

250 g dark chocolate, chopped finely (I used Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips)

50g unsalted butter

a pinch of salt

  • In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and add in cream and butter till all is well combined
  • Cover the bowl with cling wrap, making sure the plastic touches the top of the ganache
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, then place in room temperature for 30 mins before piping or frosting

Cafe Hopping: Strangers Reunion

The thing about not being a student anymore is I now have the spending power. I don’t mind going somewhere a little bit more expensive to read and chill over coffee with my girlfriends. Since last Friday was Teachers’ Day, I met up with my other teacher friends to talk over coffee. I wanted to bring them to Strangers Reunion since everyone has been raving about it. Also, I wanted to start on the 20 cafes I should be visiting in Singapore. Might as well explore my own country as well, right?

The place was cosy, not too posh or fancy. In fact, it was a bit rustic. I liked that they made use of natural lighting as much as possible. Netizens have been talking about the coffee, but I didn’t feel like having any that day. Hannah and Izzati did get some caffeine so I shared some with them.

ImageThe menu

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Hannah’s Piccolo LatteImage

Izzati’s Flat White

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My Buttermilk Waffles with Strawberry Maceration!Image

Hannah’s Apple Pie
ImageAnd Izzati’s Strawberry Almond Flan

We enjoyed the coffee as much as we loved the desserts. Their buttermilk waffles deserved two thumbs up! I love love love the soft and buttery waffles. Plus the strawberries were sweet and juicy! Would I come back here? Hell yes! I should try other things on their menu too, like the matcha cake. YUM.

Strangers Reunion

Address: 37 Kampong Bahru Rd, 169356
Phone: 9368 3610
Opens daily: 9:00 am–10:00 pm