Posts Tagged ‘chiffon cake’

Penny University

I’m so happy that we finally have our very own Speciality coffee cafe in the Eastern part of Singapore!! I do hope that this is a signal of good things to come and that the Katong / Marine Parade area will be come as happening as the Tiong Bahru and Duxton Hill area! (Remember you heard it here first!)

It’s Penny University that I would like to talk about today. The reason for the quirky name stems from 18th century coffeehouses in London, England. For the price of a penny, one had access to coffee, the company of people from all levels of society, discussions, bulletins, newspapers and the latest gossip.

Penny University (3)

Not surprisingly, Penny University was full yesterday, it being Vesak Day. I am surprised though at the size of the cafe. Rental must still be affordable at this point in time. In any case, I do think they could try to revamp their seating area. The booth seats on the left were occupied by single couples when they could have accommodated at least 4 people. The communal bench table on the right is wider than it should be, taking up precious space. It could also have been pushed closer towards the right wall, allowing for a few more tables to be placed in the rather large passageway.

Penny University - Black Sesame Chiffon Cake (1)

Black sesame chiffon cake $5.50

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Japanese Dining SUN

Japanese Dining SUN has been around since 2005 and it is a place that holds special memories for me because I celebrated my 1st Valentine’s Day there! I was young then and enjoyed the romantic evening very much! Since then, I’ve always had a soft spot for Japanese Dining SUN, also partly helped along by the fact that one of my friends used to be the manager there.

So I was pretty delighted to be invited for a food tasting to try out their new Kyushu Experience promotion. Japanese Dining SUN (Chjimes) & Sun with Moon (Wheelock Place) is working in partnership with the Fukuoka Chamber of Commerce and Industry to launch the Kyushu Experience.  The Kyushu Gourmet Experience will introduce not only regional cuisine from the Kyushu prefectures of Miyazaki, Fukuoka, Saga and Oita, but also feature authentic ingredients air-flown in twice weekly especially for this menu, such as Miyazaki Wagyu, Koji Salt, Kyushu Sashimi etc.

The Kyushu Experience will be available from 16th November 2012 to 8th January 2013,

Sun Dining - Sun Goma Salmon (Sliced salmon sashimi served with special soya sauce dip and soft-boiled egg) (2)

Sun Goma Salmon (Sliced salmon sashimi served with special soya sauce dip and soft-boiled egg) $15.80

Oh, another favourite for me, salmon sashimi with soft-boiled egg! The salmon sashimi was fresh tasting, and for $15.80, quite a generous amount of sashimi was provided. To perk up the dish, we were treated to a soft-boiled egg floating in special soya sauce that was on the sweet side. I have to apologise to my fellow diners because I must have grabbed more than 1/2 the egg. You know how I love eggs in most forms (except hard-boiled). Definitely a must order if you’re going to try out the Kyushu Experience!

Sun Dining - Kyushu Sashimi Smoked Moriawase (Smoked sashimi platter of salmon, yellowtail and mackerel dressed in mustard and peppercorn) (2)

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Cake Baking at Baking Industry Training Centre

Being an ardent fan of the cafe culture, I am often smitten by the pretty and delicious cakes and pastries on display at the various cafes in Singapore. When I see those mouth watering creations, not only do I want to eat them, I want to replicate them myself! Watching Nigella, Hugh Fearnley and Anna Olsen churning out sweet treat after sweet treat on the Food Network makes my heart pound with envy. Their cakes look so decadent yet my creations look fit for the dustbin.

They say baking is like Chemistry lessons. Follow the recipe accurately and you won’t go wrong. The problem is, the recipes often aren’t very clear. I mean like what the hell is cream until light and fluffy? How should I know exactly how light and exactly how fluffy? Would that be 5 minutes of creaming, or is it 8? One issue I used to have is that my cakes invariably turn out rather dense. Was it because I reduced the sugar and the butter, which resulted in the flour ratio being higher? Or was it due to the under-creaming? Or was it due to the curdled mess that I get every time I add eggs to the batter? No idea.

Push came to shove, I finally signed up for baking lessons this year. Which is the best place to learn baking in Singapore? After scouring the net for reputable baking classes to attend, I discovered the names of a few big players

  1. At Sunrice GlobalChef Academy
  2. Creative Culinaire
  3. Baking Industry Training Centre

There are others but they mostly focus on short courses. These 3 baking schools above provide in-depth basic to advanced levels of baking knowledge, ranging from cake making, to bread making to pastry making. And each of these 3 schools have their advantages and disadvantages.

At Sunrice is good because it is tied up with WDA and you can get up to 90% subsidy if you take the diploma classes. Of course, you must want to do a full fledged diploma in order to enjoy that huge discount.

Creative Culinaire is expensive, but I hear lessons are mostly taught by the owner of the school Judy Koh. I have also taken one of her baking workshops and I found her to be very good and detailed. She holds several diplomas, one of which is from the Culinary Institute of America.

Baking Industry Training Centre or BITC is the cheapest of the lot so guess what? I signed up with BITC. Okay another huge reason was because I wanted to get started ASAP, ride on the momentum you know, and they had something starting in January 2012, so I hopped on board.

BITC also has its pros and cons. As I mentioned, without a subsidy, BITC is the cheapest. However, BITC is also very “no-frills”, to the extent whereby you have to bring your own spoons, spatulas and knives. You will have those handy because you will be required to pay for a toolbox costing $150. BITC also happens to be a place where lots of people come here to learn how to become a baker. So classes are catered to teaching students how to operate in commercial kitchens and not the home kitchen. The pace is also pretty slow so as to cater to all skill levels. If you want a job as a baker, a BITC cert will allow you to do so.

Have you ever heard of sponge gel and emulsifiers? These are ingredients that will be used at BITC. These ingredients go into the cheap cakes you buy from the cheap bakeries as putting those ingredients into the cake actually makes the cake soft, fluffy and idiot proof to make. If you’re concerned about putting margarine or palm oil in your cake as compared to pure butter, it will be a shock to the system when you see yourself using them anyway because you obviously can’t just sit there and twiddle your thumbs. Oh and lastly, you can only bring home half of whatever you make.

Despite all my misgivings about BITC, I think I still had fun learning all about cake baking. I have never made so many cakes in my life in such a short span of time. And the best part is, everyone loves my cakes! Sure there are areas to improve on, but it has been such a vast improvement from what I used to churn out that I’m already very satisfied with the results. Hey my grandmother asks for my cakes everyday. That’s proof of the pudding isn’t it?

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (7)

Where else can you find a 365days2play brownie?

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (12)

These are the cakes we made for our mid term exams. Mine is the second column from the left, with the exception of the chiffon cake. I baked the chiffon on the right, but I unmoulded someone else’s cake by mistake. Darn, and the unmoulding was quite good if I say so myself. Look at the wreck on the right!

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (10)

My masterpieces…

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (18)

Pandan Chiffon on the left. Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting and marzipan carrots.

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (19)

Tiger skin. I have never heard of tiger skin before until the class, and whaddya know, I saw it at the shops a few days later.

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (8)

Gugelhoph. The best tasting cake I’ve made to date. Love the nutty flavours!

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (17)

There you go, the infamous sponge gel. Just the sight of that neon orange colour puts me off. Plus it’s so sticky and oily! Urgh! I don’t know who on earth invented this, but the bakers love it as it makes their job easy. You can buy sponge gel from Phoon Huat. Why you’d want to, I don’t know.

Baking Industry Training Centre Pte Ltd (BITC)
201 Keppel Road, Level 11 Annexe Block
Singapore 099419

Telephone:+65 6276 6337

Fax:+65 6276 6608

Operation Hours

Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm

Saturday 8:30am – 12:30pm

Closed on Sunday and Public Holidays

Triple Chiffon Cake weekend

I have been in a baking mood ever since I returned from Norway. I have this desperate desire to replicate the lovely croissants I had there, but you know croissants, they aren’t exactly the easiest things to make. I did try once, half-heartedly with numerous short cuts and obtained croissant-shaped stones as a result.

I am heartened to know that 2 French bakeries are opening in Singapore very soon. One is Paul Bakery and the other is Maison Kayser. Maison Kayser is to open by end of November 2011 at the new Scotts Square, while Paul Bakery is slated to open by Christmas 2011 and is located on the 3rd floor of Takashimaya, where the old Coffee Club used to be. It seems like just when I am craving so badly for these French/Danish pastries, out pops all these European bakeries. BreadTalk will have to pull something out of its sleeves if it wants to keep its market share!

Anyway, not being able to bake croissants (for now) doesn’t stop me from baking something else. I was perusing one of my favourite baking blogs and I decided to bake this Earl Grey Chiffon Cake. It turned out pretty okay considering that this is my 1st Chiffon cake. The Earl Grey taste was faint, the cake wasn’t sweet enough, but the texture was light and airy, which is what a Chiffon cake ought to be. There were splotches of white, which meant that I hadn’t incorporated the egg whites in properly. It’s always a difficult decision between wanting to be as as quick as possible so as not to over-deflate the egg whites, and yet having to thoroughly mix them so that there are no detectable clumps of egg white in the cake.

Flush with “success”, I decided to bake a 2nd cake, a Milo Chiffon cake! I got bolder and made some tweaks to the recipe even though everyone knows that for baked goods, recipes have to be followed to a T. I know that, but I just CAN’T! Anyway, I paid the price for omitting the baking powder and putting in more Milo powder than called for. The cake had a distinctive Milo taste, but was denser than the Earl Grey Chiffon cake. In fact, it kind of had the texture of kueh.

The perfectionist in me said, TRY AGAIN. So I did. I baked a Third cake. An Orange and Chocolate Chiffon cake. I dutifully included the Baking Powder again and I whipped the egg whites stiffer than the 2nd try. I even added chocolate chips into the batter although I had this feeling that they would sink to the bottom. True enough, the cake emerged with a chocolaty bottom. Because of that, it was sticky and I had a hard time scraping the cake out of the baking tin. Texture-wise, it was also light and airy, but somewhat crumbly. I have no idea why it is so and I can only think of baking it longer the next time. I liked the taste of this cake the most, and if given the time I would even make an orange syrup to go with it. Ah well, next week then.

Now what do I do with all those cakes???

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