Baked Egg Sponge Cake


When I was little, my aunt used to make this sponge cake for parties. It’s light, fluffy and not too sweet, I loved it so much I’d rather have her bake this cake than a store-bought birthday cake. After attempting to make this a couple of times, I realize it’ll take some practice because it doesn’t taste like my aunt’s.  Her’s comes out with a moist top crust where mine is dry and….hmmm looks like I’m gonna need more than a recipe to get this right.

The recipe and directions are straight forward, but I`m sure there`s a trick to the mixing and the baking time.

In case you’d like to give it a whirl, here’s the recipe.

Tools
Large flute/angel food cake pan
Mixer (hand or stand)

Ingredients
1  1/4 cup sifted cake/pastry flour
8 large eggs
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar

Directions
1) Sift flour, preheat oven to 375F
2) Separate the eggs into whites and yolks
3) Mix yolks, oil, milk, sugar and vanilla for 20 minutes on high
4) Add flour into the yolk mixture (Step 3) a little at a time to avoid lumps with a wooden spoon, then set aside
5) Beat egg whites with cream of tartar for 5-7 minutes, or until stiff peaks form
6) Gently fold egg whites into flour/yolk mixture (Step 4) while making sure to blend together well with wooden spoon
7) Pour final mixture into flute pan and bake for approx. 45- 60 minutes or when toothpick comes out clean
*Do not place another pan under the flute pan (nothing should spill out) otherwise the bottom won`t bake
8) Cool cake upside-down (if your pan doesn`t have legs, turn the cake upside down and insert the centre of the pan into the neck of an upright bottle)

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Happy Valentine’s Day!


I wanted to make cupcakes for people at work because I found these really cute cupcake cups. They’re supposed sturdy enough that muffin tins are necessary so you can just set them on a cookie sheet and bake them all at once.

The only thing was, I tried to squeeze too many on to one cookie sheet and when they expanded in the oven, some of them got squished and turned out triangular…..oh well.

I didn’t have a recipe for chocolate cupcakes so followed this one from Williams Sonoma’s website and topped it off with a basic frosting. It’s actually my first time baking cupcakes, turns out frosting them nicely was harder than anticipated. Hmmm….maybe I’ll just  stick to muffins…..

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/chocolate-cupcakes.html

 
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Japanese Cheesecake

I’ve decided that I need to use my mixer at least 300 times to get my $300 out of it, which means more baking. Baking isn’t exactly my strongest area but I’m going to try anyways (no laughing, ok??). Growing up the oven was never used, it was just a place to store extra pots and pans. So now that I have a place of my own (and a husband who let’s me play in the kitchen), I’m gonna put some mileage on the oven!

I’m trying out a Japanese cheesecake recipe. Japanese cheesecake is like a light and creamy cream cheese infused sponge cake and doesn’t have a crust. 

Ingredients
1 cup milk
250 g (1 block) cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup butter, softened
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/4 cup sifted cake flour
4 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup icing sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 305F
  2. In a large pot, simmer water
  3. In a large bowl that fits easily into the pot, pour in the milk and carefully place in the pot. Or use a double-boiler if you have. Don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water
  4. Stir in cream cheese, until dissolved and smooth
  5. Stir in butter, until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool
  6. Add egg yolks and combine well. (Ensure the mixture is not too hot, you don’t want to cook the yolks)
  7. Sift cake flour and corn starch into the cream cheese mixture a little at a time. Mix until smooth. Set aside.
  8. Place egg whites in a large clean bowl. (Ensure bowl is completely dry! No oil or water present). Using an electric beater or mixer with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites for 2 minutes, add cream of tartar and mix again. Add sugar and mix until very stiff peaks or ribbons form
  9. Fold-in egg whites to the cream cheese mixture. Gently, taking care not to “flatten” the foamy egg white mixture. Fold carefully until all ingredients are together, remember, don’t stir or beat. Little at a time works best.
  10. Pour the mixture into the two baking pans. (Lined if you prefer, I prefer lightly greased)
  11. Place the pans into a larger baking pan. Carefully pour hot water into the pan about 1/3 of the way up.
  12. Place into oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. They’re done when your toothpick comes out clean.
  13. Let cool 15 minutes, remove from pan(s), cool cake on wire rack and let cool completely.
  14. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Yields two 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ loaf pans or three 5 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ 

 You can see why it’s important to put the pans into water because if you don’t, your cake will pouf up and the top will split like regular bread during baking but will deflate like a bad soufflé. I was curious so here’s one I didn’t put into water.

Here’s a look at their “insides”….no bad, but doesn’t taste better than store bought…oh well, try try again….

Pear Custard Bars

My coworker made this for us a few months ago and I loved it so much I just had to have the recipe. The taste and texture is pretty similar to a cheesecake where it’s filling is cream cheese and there is a crust. However, the crust is done with walnuts instead of graham crackers (unless you prefer graham crackers, of course).

This is my first time trying this out and it didn’t take as long to put together as I thought. I’m quite pleased with the results. I used a glass casserole dish and not a metal cake pan because my coworker says after she experimented the crust came out nicer this way. Here it is before baking.

If you’re into cheesecake, give this a try, you don’t need a spring-form pan and it doesn’t take long. Best to leave cheese and butter out overnight to soften because mid-way through making one batch, I decided to make two, and since the cream cheese wasn’t soft enough it turned out kind of lumpy. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try!

Ingredients
Crust:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, macadamia nuts or if you want graham crackers

Filling/Topping:
1 package (8 oz. / 250 mL) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can (15 1/4 oz. / 500 mL) pear halves, drained

Sprinkle on top:
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions – Crust
1) Preheat oven to 350F
2) In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together
3) Beat in the flour and vanilla until combined. Stir in the nuts.
4) Press into a greased 8″x8″ baking pan (I used a glass one that was slightly longer)
5) Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until lightly browned. (Don’t bake for too long because it has to go back into the oven again with the filling
6) Cool on a wire rack and increase heat to 375F

Directions – Filling 
1) While crust is baking, slice pears into 1/8″ slices and set aside
2) In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth
3) Add sugar, egg and vanilla; mix until combined
4) Pour over crust, arrange pears in a single layer over the filling
5) Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the pears
6) Bake for 28-30 minutes (the centre will be soft set and will become firmer upon cooling)
7) Set aside and cool for at least 45 minutes
8 ) Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving (overnight is best)

Store in the fridge. Yields approx. 16 bars

Banana Bread

I’ve always wanted a Kitchenaid stand mixer, and finally got one on sale. I couldn’t wait try it out so I decided to turn the bananas we forgot about into banana bread (what perfect timing!). If you have bananas that are too ripe, but no time to bake, put them in the freezer and just thaw when you’re ready to use. It’ll be super easy to mash too, however I find you get more “banana flavour” if you use fresh ones.

I didn’t have buttermilk so I looked for an alternative. I used 1/4 cup of milk (I used 2%) 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice and waited for it to curdle a bit.

For this batch I put in almonds and cranberries (about 1/2 cup each) into the mixer then pressed some on top of the loaf before baking.

You can definitely do all this without a mixer, I’ve made this the good old-fashioned way by hand, it just took a bit of arm strength but came out just as good.

Ingredients:
2 – 3 Very Ripe Bananas – Mashed
2 Eggs
1 3/4 Cup Unsifted All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts (optional – or other nuts you like)
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Buttermilk (or alternative as mentioned)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sugar

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 325F (160/170C)
2) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well
(about 50 strokes, mix well, but don’t over-do it)
3) Pour into greased loaf pans (9″ x 5″) I used 3 small (5 3/4″ x 3 1/2″) ones or 4 muffin tins
4) Bake until top is golden, splits slightly and a toothpick comes out clean
Approx. 1 hour 10 minutes for large loaf pan, 55 minutes for my 3 small ones and 44 for muffin tins — BUT it really depends on your oven so set a timer and watch them near the end otherwise they’ll dry out.