Marble Butter Sponge Cake (Tang Mian Method)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Tàng, 烫: scald.

Miàn, 面: flour.

Tang mian is roux, made by cooking flour in bubbling hot butter.

Tang mian cake has the fluffiness of chiffon cake and the butteriness of butter cake. It has the best of two cake worlds but that's not all. It is smooth, smoother than chiffon or butter cake could ever be.

Some people call tang mian "cooked dough" instead of "roux". And the cake is sometimes called "黄金蛋糕" or "golden sponge cake". Hey, a rose by any other name . . . .

Chocolate Swiss Roll (巧克力瑞士蛋糕卷)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

If you've never made Swiss roll before, or never made one successfully, please don't try my chocolate Swiss roll recipe.

Making chocolate Swiss roll is a bit tricky. Why? Because cocoa powder complicates things. If you want a straightforward recipe, go for vanilla roll. That's almost idiot-proof (not that idiots are the lowest common denominator).

Cocoa powder makes the cake less stretchable, so you have to be careful not to overbake the cake. Even slight overbaking makes the cake crack when you roll it.

Vanilla Swiss Roll (香草瑞士蛋糕卷)

Monday, 1 September 2014

There're a few common problems with making Swiss rolls: (1) The cake is hard and dry. (2) The crust sticks to the paper the cake is wrapped in. (3) The crust cracks when you roll the cake.

Good Swiss roll starts with, of course, a sheet cake that's fluffy. You know what's wrong with a lot of Swiss roll recipes? They have way too much flour.

A cake that's 1-2 cm tall should have very little flour because it doesn't need much structural support. If it has as much flour as a cake that's 5-7 cm tall, it would be dense and hard.

Magic Custard Cake (魔术卡士垯蛋糕)

Thursday, 31 July 2014

What's magical about magic custard cake?

The cake's three layers, which are "self-made".

Pandan Kaya/Layer Cake

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

In the land of the half-lion, half-fish mutant, there's the half-cake, half-kueh: pandan kaya quake. 

kueh + cake = kuake = quake

Dig?

Using kueh as an icing makes perfect sense when you live in the tropics. There's no need to worry about the icing melting even when there's a heat wave. El Niño? Bring it on! No aircon? No problem!

Banana Chiffon Cake (香蕉戚风蛋糕)

Friday, 9 May 2014


If you like your banana cake very fluffy and very "banana-y", you must try my version. Other recipes may be as fluffy but not as banana-y, or as banana-y but not as fluffy.

Bamboo Charcoal Cake (竹碳蛋糕)

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Black is mysterious. Black is sophisticated. Black is . . . sexy.

What makes my cake black? It's bamboo charcoal that's been pulverized into a very, very fine powder.

You can see what my charcoal cake looks like but you can't taste it. Let me taste it for you.

Matcha Cake

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Green tea powder, aka matcha and maccha, is the soul of green tea cake. If you want to make good green tea cake, you have to use good quality green tea powder.

GTP has three enemies: heat, light and oxygen. The colour and flavour deteriorate very quickly unless the tea is kept in the cold, in the dark, away from oxygen.

Orange Sponge Cupcakes (香橙海棉杯子蛋糕)

Thursday, 30 January 2014


Hark! Do you hear the sound of thundering hooves?

The Year of the Horse is coming!

Happy Chinese New Year! 祝大家大吉大利!

Cake Dos & Don'ts

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

This rather long post, for cake newbies, can be summarised in three words: Follow the recipe. Experienced bakers may change anything they like because they know what works or probably works. Beginners, OTOH, can't tell if a seemingly insignificant detail is actually a critical part of the recipe. If you're one of these, I hope this post shows you why you may want to do everything the recipe says, and not do everything the recipe doesn't say.

What to Do Before Your Cake Fails

a) Use an oven thermometer.  »
A lot of ovens aren't accurate. If the oven temperature is wrong, you have two problems. First, your cake may fail, or it may not as good as it could be. Second, if your cake fails, you have no idea what the problem is. It may be the oven temperature, or something else. If you know for a fact what the temperature is, you can at least eliminate the oven from your list of suspects.

Some recipes say "every oven is different". That may be true but one 180°C is the same as another 180°C. Whatever you're baking doesn't care what oven it's in. It only cares what the temperature (and humidity) is.

An oven thermometer measures the temperature in the oven; it can't tell where the heat is coming from. If the top heat is higher/lower than the bottom heat, your cake will fail. Fortunately, most ovens don't have this problem. If you think yours does, toast a slice of bread in the middle of the oven, on a rack at 220°C. If the top and bottom of the bread browns evenly, the oven is good.

b) Don't change the pan type.  »
Only round, square and rectangular "regular" pans made of the same material are interchangeable. The pan type goes with the recipe. It affects how quickly the batter heats up, how deep the batter is, and how much structural support the cake needs. These factors in turn affect how high the cake rises and whether it stays up there or comes back down after cooling down.

My recipes use aluminium pans. If you use dark coloured non-stick pans, your cakes will be different from mine.

c) Scale the recipe according to your pan size.  »
If your pan is bigger/smaller than the recipe's, you must scale the recipe proportionately. Of course, you could scale the recipe first, then find the proportionate pan size. How wide and long the pan is affects the depth of the batter. Deep batter rises more than shallow batter, all other things being equal.

If you don't know how to change the pan size or scale the recipe, please refer to question (i) and (j) in this post: Cake FAQ.

d) Don't replace any ingredient.  »
The only exception is flavourless oil, which may be swapped with any flavourless oil. Changing any other ingredient has an impact on the cake. Once you modify the recipe, it's yours. If you like the final product, congratulations. If you don't? It's your recipe, so you fix it.