KitchenTigress: 2013

Cake FAQs

This post goes hand in hand with Cake Dos & Don'ts. I hope these 2 posts help shorten cake newbies' learning curve.

a) Why doesn't your cake rise?  »

Strawberry Santas

Strawberries and cream are great any day of the year, not just for Christmas.

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

Japanese strawberry shortcake is a layered sponge cake filled and topped with whipped cream and strawberries. It is what I call a ménage à trois made in heaven, because each party brings out the best in the other two.

Honey Castella Cake

castella cake with beautiful crumb
Traditionally, Castella cake is baked in a topless and bottomless wooden frame. With 4 sides insulated with wood, the batter is heated mainly from the top and bottom. This allows the cake to create its signature brown, flat and wrinkle-free crust.

Fluffy Chocolate Sponge Cake

My very soft and fluffy chocolate cake is made with cocoa powder that's mixed with hot oil. The scalding helps bring out the chocolate flavour. Of course, I use high quality cocoa powder or there wouldn't be any flavour to bring out.

Pandan Sponge Cupcakes

I like my pandan sponge cupcakes very much. Made with pandan juice and coconut oil, the little cakes are very fragrant and the green colour is totally natural. The crumb is soft and fluffy, and it's still moist the next day.

Vanilla Sponge Cupcakes

My sponge cupcakes are fluffy and moist. I use a combination of oil, milk, glucose and sugar to stop them from drying out in the oven.

I whisk whole eggs, along with sugar and a bit of glucose, till the ribbon stage, i.e. when I lift the whisk, a "ribbon" falls in a steady stream and sits on top of the mixture without sinking.

Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes

cut pandan chiffon cupcakes showing beautiful crumb
Pandan chiffon cake hot from the oven is way better than cold pandan chiffon cake.

That's a bit like saying Bill Gates is rich, or Angelina Jolie has thick lips. We all know that.

So when was the last time you had pandan chiffon cake that was still hot?

Orange Chiffon Cake

To make a very orangey orange cake, you need lots of finely grated zest from the topmost, most oily part of the peel. Make sure you use a sharp grater or you'll have more of the precious orange oil on your grater than in your cake.

Hokkaido Cupcakes

Hokkaido cupcakes are made with milk from Hokkaido, hence the namesake. These small chiffon cakes are so soft they're creased and slightly collapsed after they cool down.

Perhaps taking a cue from plastic surgery, the cakes are injected with a filler to plump up and smooth out the wrinkles.

Ogura Cake

square ogura cake sitting on a cooling rack
Ogura cake, aka 相思蛋糕, hails from Batu Pahat, Malaysia. "Ogura" is a Japanese surname; "相思" means lovesick. Is there a love story behind the cake? Nah, there isn't. Some baker in Batu Pahat just invented the name.

Chwee Kueh (水粿)

chwee kueh with chai poh topping
There're several types of steamed cakes made with rice flour. If you want to learn how to make these traditional delicacies, chwee kueh would be a good start. It doesn't take long and the ingredients are cheap.

Portuguese Egg Tarts

4 beautifully burnt portuguese egg tarts
Portuguese egg tarts must be baked in a very hot oven, at about 250°C, to get their signature burn marks. At that temperature, shortcrust pastry would be incinerated. That's why Portuguese egg tarts are made with puff pastry, which needs a high temperature to puff up.

High heat isn't the only condition for creating burn marks. There must also be enough milk in the custard mixture.

Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

Chai tow kway is a popular breakfast dish in Singapore. It's made with rice flour batter that's steamed, cooled, then fried. The kway may be seasoned with sweet black soya sauce to make black chai tow kway, or without to make the white version. Black or white, chai tow kway is best eaten piping hot.

Sugee Cake

Wanna make a sugee cake that's light and fluffy? That's right, the Eurasian classic doesn't have to be dense and heavy. Let me, a half-Eurasian, show you how.

What? You didn't know I'm half-Eurasian? Hey, half of Eurasian is Asian and I'm 100% Asian. That makes me 50% Eurasian, right?

Ang Ku Kueh (Kuih Angkoo)

"Ang ku kueh" means red tortoise cakes. They're always shaped like a tortoise but they aren't always red. Red ones are for birthdays. Black ones are for funerals.

There're various types of filling for ang ku kueh. The most popular ones are mung bean paste and ground peanuts. The skin, made with glutinous rice flour, should be thin and softly chewy.

Peanut Cookies

You don't need much special equipment to make peanut cookies.

If you don't have a food processor, you can pound the peanuts with a mortar and pestle.

The ingredients are mixed together in a bowl. It's done by the time you drag your electric mixer out and set it up.

Cashew Nut Cookies

Cashew nut cookies are pretty easy going. These bite-size morsels don't mind if you put in more of this or less of that.

You can use more cashews and less flour if you like your cookies really nutty.

Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple tarts are small pieces of buttery shortcrust pastry that are filled with pineapple jam. The jam is tangy and fruity. The pastry is buttery and melt-in-the-mouth tender.

In Singapore, pineapple tarts are a must-have during Chinese New Year. They're wickedly delicious, and they're supposed to bring good luck.

Making good pineapple jam is quite straightforward. It's basically mashed pineapple cooked with sugar till thick, and flavoured with star anise, cinnamon and sometimes cloves.