Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake

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I have not baked chiffon cake for a long time and the other day suddenly had an urge to bake and eat one. While flipping through my cook books in search of the flavour to bake, I recalled having some good quality gula melaka in my pantry, gifted by Alan of Travelling Foodies who hand carried them back from Melaka few months back. Aha, Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake sounds really appealing and I could already imagine the aroma of gula melaka filling my kitchen!


After searching on the internet and comparing recipes, I realised that most of the recipes (Passionate About Baking, Baking Taitai, My Baking Cottage, Through the Kitchen Door, Baking Diary ) are very similar to one another. Since it is proven to be the "standard" having tried and tested by so many bakers, I have to give it a try too, but with some slight modifications.


My modifications:
  • Instead of using packet UHT coconut milk, I used fresh coconut milk.
  • Instead of 140g of plain flour, I used 135g because that's all I have left.
  • I used 3 tbsp of grapeseed oil and replaced 1 tbsp with coconut oil.
  • I also added a tsp of rum, because I think rum complements gula melaka well and would enhance the overall flavour of the cake.





Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake
(makes one 22cm cake)

Ingredients
  • 100ml fresh coconut milk
  • 150g gula melaka, shaved
  • 135g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp rum (optional)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 150 degree celsius (top/bottom heat). Prepare a 22cm chiffon tube pan (wash and dry thoroughly, do not grease).
  2. Heat coconut milk and gula melaka in a small pot over low heat, stirring continuously till all the gula melaka is melted. Set aside to cool down.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add the egg yolks, grapeseed oil and coconut oil, whisk till blended.
  5. Gradually pour in the gula melaka coconut milk mixture, whisk till blended. If desired, add rum and whisk till blended.
  6. Stir in the flour mixture and mix gently until just incorporated. Set the batter aside.
  7. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar till foamy (medium high speed), gradually add the caster sugar and beat till stiff peak.
  8. Add 1/3 of the egg white meringue into the batter, fold gently till just incorporated. Then add another 1/3, again fold gently till just incorporated.
  9. Pour all the batter back into the mixing bowl that contains the remaining 1/3 egg white meringue, fold gently till just incorporated.
  10. Pour the chiffon batter into the chiffon pan. Gently shake and then tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles.
  11. Bake at 150C top/bottom heat for 50-55mins.
  12. Once baked, remove from oven, turn over the chiffon pan and let it cool down completely before unmoulding the cake.
  13. The cake is best eaten the next day (for flavours to develop).

I must say I really enjoyed the cake! It was moist, tender and fluffy with rich flavour and alluring fragrance of gula melaka and coconut milk. The hubs also liked it, but somehow the kiddo didn't like it (he didn't even want to taste it, probably coz the cake didn't look visually appealing?).


Always, the recipe is a keeper and I'm definitely baking it again when I have cravings for chiffon cake.

Strawberry Jelly Hearts Cheesecake

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It was the kiddo's 6th birthday yesterday and I have been cracking my head on what cake to make for him since December!

For the past 4 years, we have celebrated his birthday at his school and this year was his final year as a preschooler. Wow, looking back (at the photos) brought back lots of memories. For his 2nd birthday, I baked a strawberry shortcake for family celebration and individual strawberry cupcakes for his school celebration. For the 3rd birthday, I baked my first ever rainbow cake (which was a white-cake recipe). For the 4th celebration, I moved on to rainbow fruit shortcake (using a genoise sponge recipe) which has since become my main baking order item. And last year, his 5th birthday, a simple red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and Decor-It-Yourself Vanilla and Chocolate Cupcakes for his school celebration, which turned out to be a big hit with his classmates.

Now, this year, I ran out of ideas. Should I stick to the same old cakes that I've been baking, like rainbow and ombre cakes or try new recipes? I see that Korean strawberries are in season; the strawberries are pretty good-looking and going for quite a good price ($3.80 a punnet which is cheaper than last year!). Initially thinking of strawberry shortcake or ombre cake but feeling kind of lazy to bake :p


Finally the lazy mama decided on a no-bake Strawberry Jelly Hearts Cheesecake! Well, the kiddo loves cream cheese and strawberries, this cake looks pleasing to the eye, and very easy to serve. Each kid will get fair and square piece of cake (pun intended) with 3 different flavours and textures along with a strawberry heart! Woohoo!

This cake used to be very popular in SG few years back. I've made it back then at a different dimension, so this is a good time for revision as well. The cake is 9" by 9", with 25 strawberry hearts. To serve his school of 40 children plus teachers, I made 2 cakes over 2/3 days (celebration on Friday, first cake on Wed/Thu, second cake Thu/Fri). While this cake is quite easy to make, time management is the key here in order for the cake to set properly.


First up, prepare the tray. In order to have a smooth full cake (without the necessity to trim the sides), I used a 9" square pan with removable base. Wrap the removable base with aluminum foil, and line the sides of the square pan with clear film (sold in a thick roll at Phoon Huat).

* For my first cake, I forgot to line the sides of the pan and had to run a knife along the sides of the cake when unmolding the cake from the pan. It still works out fine, just not as smooth.

** A normal baking pan (without removable base) should work fine as well, just have to line the base and sides of the pan with foil and be extra carefully during unmolding because the cookie base of the cake is heavy.



Ingredients (A) - Cookie base
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 300g digestive biscuits
Next, prepare the cookie base.

Heat unsalted butter over hot water bath till melted and let it cool down. 

For the cookie base, I use digestive biscuits. Just place the biscuits in a ziplock bag and crush/roll using a rolling pin till the texture resembles coarse sand. Alternatively, grind the biscuits using a food processor. The texture of the cookie base will then turn out finer. I prefer the cookie base to have slightly more crunch.

Add the melted butter into the crushed cookie and mix well.


Transfer the crushed cookie mixture into the square pan and use a bench scrapper to level the cookie base evenly.

Then I use a lapis press to press the cookie mixture firmly to compact the cookie base. Repeat several times till base is solid and compact. This is important to hold the entire cake together.

Transfer the pan into fridge to chill.


Ingredients (B) - Strawberries and cream cheese
  • 25pcs strawberries 
  • 4 tsp gelatin powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 50g icing sugar
Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries. Korean strawberries tend to be smaller, so I bought 3 punnets (for 2 cakes) and select the plumper and bigger strawberries. If the strawberries are too small, the heart-shape may not be apparent after submerging the strawberries into the cheese filling.

Wash and pat dry the strawberries. Half them and use a heart-shape stamp to cut the strawberries. You can use a knife to cut a v-shape at the top of the strawberries but I prefer the stamping which makes the heart-shape more uniform. I love munching on the scraps while stamping the hearts :p

Place the cut strawberries on a piece of kitchen towel and cover with another piece.


Next, the cream cheese filling. First, melt gelatin powder (the fish one from Phoon Huat) with boiling water and let the mixture cool down.

Then, place the cream cheese and icing sugar in mixing bowl and cream till light and fluffy. Add the cooled gelatin liquid into the cream cheese mixture slowly and mix till well-blended.


Sieve the cream cheese mixture to remove any lumps. Remove the cookie base from the fridge, use a fork and gently poke 9 holes in the base.

Pour the gelatin cream cheese filling into the cookie base.

Place the strawberry hearts into the cream cheese filling, pushing them gently downwards. This is also important step because while making sure the heart-shape is still visible, the strawberries must be embedded properly otherwise they may float up after the jelly layer is added.

Let the tray sit at the counter for 30 mins (to set the strawberries and cream cheese slightly), thereafter cover and transfer the tray into the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours.


Ingredients (C) - Jelly
  • 3 boxes Tortally brand Strawberry crystals
  • 350ml boiling water
  • 350ml cold water
An hour before the strawberry and cream cheese layer is ready, I prepare the jelly. I use 3 boxes of the Tortally brand jelly strawberry flavour, add hot water to the jelly crystals and stir till dissolved. Then add cold water and mix well. Let the jelly mixture cool down completely which takes about an hour. Stir the mixture once in a while as some jelly may set and sink at the bottom.

Once ready, remove the tray from the fridge and gently pour the jelly into the tray. Use a toothpick to remove any air bubbles. Cover and transfer the tray to the fridge to chill overnight.

Finally the unmolding!

With the removable base and clear film at the sides of the pan, it's quite easy to unmold the cake, simply push the base upwards. Unwrap the aluminum foil from the metal base, place the entire cake over a 11" square board and gently slide the metal base out. Peel the clear film from the sides of the cake gently. Lastly, wrap the aluminum foil around the 11" square board.

Overall, the sides remain quite smooth (except for some edges as I was careless when unmolding), I didn't have to trim the cake.


Strawberry Jelly Hearts Cheesecake
(makes one 9" x 9" cake)

Ingredients (A) - Cookie base
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 300g digestive biscuits
Ingredients (B) - Strawberries and cream cheese
  • 25pcs strawberries 
  • 4 tsp gelatin powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 50g icing sugar
Ingredients (C) - Jelly
  • 3 boxes Tortally brand Strawberry crystals
  • 350ml boiling water
  • 350ml cold water
Steps
  1. Prepare a 9" square pan with removable base. Wrap the removable base with aluminum foil, and line the sides of the square pan with clear film.
  2. Prepare the cookie base. Heat unsalted butter over hot water bath till melted and let it cool down.
  3. Place digestive biscuits in a ziplock bag and crush/roll using a rolling pin till the texture resembles coarse sand.
  4. Add the melted butter into the crushed cookie and mix well.
  5. Transfer the crushed cookie mixture into the square pan and use a bench scrapper to level the cookie base evenly.
  6. Then use a lapis press to press the cookie mixture firmly to compact the cookie base. Repeat several times till base is solid and compact.
  7. Transfer the pan into fridge to chill.
  8. Prepare the strawberries. Select the plumper and bigger strawberries. Wash and pat dry the strawberries.
  9. Half them and use a heart-shape stamp to cut the strawberries.
  10. Place the cut strawberries on a piece of kitchen towel and cover with another piece. Set aside.
  11. Prepare cream cheese filling. Melt gelatin powder with boiling water and let the mixture cool down.
  12. Place cream cheese and icing sugar in mixing bowl and cream till light and fluffy.
  13. Add the cooled gelatin liquid into the cream cheese mixture slowly and mix till well-blended.
  14. Sieve the cream cheese mixture to remove any lumps. Remove the cookie base from the fridge, use a fork and gently poke 9 holes in the base.
  15. Pour the gelatin cream cheese filling into the cookie base.
  16. Place the strawberry hearts into the cream cheese filling, pushing them gently downwards.
  17. Let the tray sit at the counter for 30 mins, thereafter cover and transfer the tray into the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours.
  18. Prepare the jelly. Add hot water to the jelly crystals and stir till dissolved, then add cold water and stir to mix again. Let the jelly mixture cool down completely. Stir the mixture once in a while.
  19. Once ready, remove the tray from the fridge and gently pour the jelly into the tray. Use a toothpick to remove any air bubbles. Cover and transfer the tray to the fridge to chill overnight.
  20. Unmold the cake by gently pushing the base upwards. Unwrap the aluminum foil from the metal base, place the entire cake over a 11" square board and gently slide the metal base out. Peel the clear film from the sides of the cake gently. Lastly, wrap the aluminum foil around the 11" square board.
The boy is pleased with his cake and finished one piece of it in no time.


Happy birthday to my kiddo!