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23 July, 2020

FiSh's Baking Diary Vol. 1

Welcome to ohfishiee's Baking Diary! 

I have never thought that I'd ever have a baking diary on my blog. Entering into the kitchen is never my thing, not to mention baking. But I am definitely one who has a sweet tooth and constantly craves for pretty desserts :P 

Over the past few months, I have tried making my own sweet treats for myself and my loved ones. From a disastrous slice of cake to a decadent piece of cookie, I guess I am slowly improving. Hence, I am here sharing the recipes of 11 simplest bakes for beginner...

By the way, you can also check out my IG story highlight for more photos :)

#1 Basque Burnt Cheesecake

When I first started baking, I have no idea what to bake and my friend recommended this because it is claimed to be the "easiest cake" ever. Well, the process is pretty easy, but to nail it perfectly, it still takes a bit of time and effort to master the consistency of oozing cheese inside and solid burnt crisp skin.

226g cream cheese, softened  
100g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
200g heavy cream  
15g all-purpose flour, sifted 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 

1. Mix cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until very smooth, light and fluffy. 
2. Mix in the eggs (1 egg at a time), beating 30 seconds after each addition, to fully incorporate.
3. Scrape down the bowl, whisk in the cream and vanilla extract.
4. Sift the flour over the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula. 
5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 210°C for 25-30 minutes or until a very deep brown on top but the centre is still jiggly (Make sure your oven rack is positioned around the middle of your oven and do not overbake or else the top will be too dark and will taste bitter)
6. Cool in the pan completely before gently pulling the parchment away from the cake.
7. Keep in the fridge and it can last for up to 1 week. 

#2 Banana Loaf

An ultra soft and moist banana loaf is seriously easy peasy! The best part is, you can always twist the recipe a little to make it more interesting, such as adding walnut, chocolate chips, or cream cheese frosting. Super versatile yet it doesn't require much effort. Keep your electronic mixer aside for this recipe, all you need is your bare hands :P 

(Pan size: 21cm x 11cm / 8" x 4")
80g butter melted
80g granulated sugar
6 medium banana (over-riped), mashed 
2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 whole egg, beaten

1 cup cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

1. Mix (A) together with rubber spatula.
2. Sift in (B) into the mixture and fold until well combined.
3. Rest the batter for 10 minutes before baking. 
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for 40 minutes.

#3 Raisin Scone

This is by far, my favourite masterpiece! I love how easy it is to make a huge batch of this centuries-old English pastry in less than an hour. If you don't want to bake them all at one go, you can store the dough and pop into the oven whenever you like. Easy peasy!

Butter is the key here, don't ever compromise with cheap butter or margarine or fat spread - they are not the same! I'd love to try with dried cranberries, pecan or dried apricot next time. 

(Yield: 15 scones)
360g all-purpose flour
70g granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
90g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed 
180ml low-fat milk, cold
15g baking powder
2g salt 
150g dried cranberries or raisins
1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. 
2. Then mix the egg and milk in a small bowl, and stir into the well of the flour mixture until moistened. Mix in the raisins.
3. Sprinkle over some flour, cover the bowl with cling wrap and fridge in for 30 minutes. 
4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into 2-3cm thick. Cut into 8 wedges (using floured cookie cutter for a nice shape). 
5. Brush the top of each scone with beaten egg.
6. Bake in the preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

#4 Savoury Cheese & Scallion Scone

Tweak the recipe a little, and ta-daa! You'll get some savoury afternoon snacks for those who prefer less sugary stuff. I personally think that using salted butter would be a better option here, otherwise the scone might taste a tad bland. Sharp cheese is a must too! 

(Yield: 15 scones)
360g all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
110g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
125g grated cheddar cheese
4 chopped scallions
120ml low-fat milk, cold
16g baking powder
1 tsp salt
Optional: Bacon

1.  In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. 
2. Then mix the egg and milk in a small bowl, and stir into the well of the flour mixture until moistened. Toss in the cheese and scallion.
3. Sprinkle over some flour, cover the bowl with cling wrap and fridge in for 30 minutes. 
4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into 1 inch thick. Cut into 15 wedges (using floured cookie cutter for a nice shape). 
5. Brush the top of each scone with beaten egg and top with more grated cheddar. 
6. Bake in the preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

#5 Classic Lemon Pound Cake

Another favourite of mine after attempting a few varieties of pound cake. The zesty lemon flavour gives an instant lift to the overall rich, buttery body of the pound cake. Excellent recipe that is good to go on its own without any lemon glaze or creamy icing on top! 

(Pan size: 9" x 5")
1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (65g) cake flour
1 1/2 tsp (9g) baking powder 
5 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp (8ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (225g) sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup (65ml) lemon juice with flesh
1 tsp (6g) salt  

1. Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest at high speed for 4 mins. 
2. Add 1 egg at a time, and beat at medium speed For 1 min each time until light and smooth. 
3. Add vanilla extract, lemon zest & lemon juice and mix evenly. Scrape the sides with a spatula. 
4. Sift in the flour, baking powder & salt, then beat at low speed until fully incorporated. 
5. Pour mixture into tray, and tap to remove air bubbles.
6. Bake at 165°C for 65-75 minutes. 

#6 Marble Cake

Yes, marble cake is another beginner-friendly cake which requires no separation of egg white and egg yolk. One point to note -- high quality butter and cocoa powder are the game changer here -- and don't forget to do the proper swirling and achieve that marbly effect too. 

120g salted butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
140g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
20g milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
7g cocoa powder 

1. Combine butter and sugar well before beating with a mixer until light and fluffy.
2. Add in the eggs, one by one, and beat well.
3. Sift in the flour and mix well with a spatula.
4. Add vanilla extract and milk, then mix well.
5. Take 100g of the cake batter and mix with cocoa powder.
6. Pour the vanilla and chocolate batter in the pan alternately (spoon by spoon).
7. Use a long skewer / knife to swirl the batter together.
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

#7 Basic Egg Tart

Frankly, pastry is a little difficult for beginners especially when folding it perfectly into the mould. Surely it takes slightly more patience and time to make these perfect-looking basic egg tarts from scratch, but hey the result is rewarding! I love how crisp and buttery the crust is, although the silky egg filling is not as thick as I'd expect. 

(Yield: 9 pieces)
Tart pastry
200g plain flour, sifted
75g icing sugar, sifted
140g unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 egg

Egg custard
2 eggs, beaten
50g sugar
150ml water
50ml milk 

1. Sift flour and sugar together then knead in butter.
2. Add in beaten egg. It will form soft dough.
3. Once a dough is formed, flatten and place it onto cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Roll the dough into 6mm thick and divide into 9 even doughs.
5. Place into the mould and make sure it is at least 2mm tall above the mould.
6. For the custard, melt sugar in hot water then add in milk. Let it cool. 
7. Add beaten egg into the cooled sugar mixture.
8. Sieve out the bits twice, to make the custard smoother.
9. Fill into the mould (from Step 5) until about 70% full.
10. Bake at 180°C for 20-25 minutes.
11. Once the crust is golden brown, reduce the baking temperature to 160°C for 5 minutes.
12. Let it cool for 7 minutes before removing from mould. 

#8 Chocolate Chips Cookies

Yay, any cookie monster here? :P First time baking such gigantic piece of cookies dotted with chocolate chips. I always love Famous Amos type of crunchy mini cookies, but the one I baked here is more towards the chewy type (thanks to the huge amount of brown sugar). Equally delicious yet amazing in texture! 

(Yield: 18 pieces)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 cups chocolate chips, dark 

1. Sift together (A) then set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together (B) until well blended.
3. Beat in the vanilla extract, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.
4. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended (Don't overmix or it will toughen the cookies).
5. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the tray, leaving 3" space between each dough.
6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 165°C for 15-17 minutes, or until the edges are lightly toasted. 
7. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

#9 Coffee Swiss Roll

Can you see the difference between the coffee Swiss roll on the left and on the right of the picture? Hahah! I am pretty satisfied with my first attempt (picture on left) as the fluffy cake is well-infused with coffee flavour, and heavily loaded with fresh cream filling. 

For my second attempt (picture on right), it is an improvised version with cocoa-flavoured buttercream-like filling. Hence, the filling is slightly more solid and it doesn't create a mess while enjoying this decadent piece of Swiss roll. 

(Pan Size: 9" x 13")
4 egg yolks + 1 egg
20g caster sugar 
60g vegetable oil
90g plain flour
20g corn flour
60ml milk
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp instant coffee powder 
1/8 tsp salt 

4 egg whites
1/8 tsp vinegar
70g caster sugar

Coffee Cream Filling
2 tbsp instant coffee powder
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
120g whipping cream
20g sugar
20g chilled butter
1. Dissolve coffee in hot water and set aside.
2. Beat milk, oil, salt and 20g sugar together, then stir in coffee mixture until combined.
3. Sift in the flour mixture, then mix well.
4. Add 4 egg yolks and 1 egg, then whisk well.
5. For the meringue, beat the egg white at lowest speed for 10 minutes (add a bit of vinegar) until foamy. Gradually add in sugar (in 3 batches), and beat in medium speed until stiff peaks form.
6. Take 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the batter to mix.
7. Then fold in the batter mixture into the remaining egg white mixture.
8. Lay parchment paper on the baking tray and pour the mixture onto it. Smooth it out horizontally then vertically. 
9. Bake in a preheated oven at 140°C for 20 minutes, then change to 160°C for 10 minutes and finally 180°C for another 5 minutes. 
10. While the sponge is still warm (after 15 minutes), place a large sheet of baking parchment on your work surface and carefully invert the sponge onto the parchment. Gently peel off the top layer of parchment. Trim the very outer edge of the sponge with a sharp knife. 
11. Using the parchment, tightly roll up the sponge and leave to cool, seam-side down. Chill the cake for 20 minutes. 
12. After cooling, spread a thick layer of coffee cream filling on top of the cake horizontally then vertically. 
13. Chill for 4 hours before serving. 

Coffee Cream Filling
1. Dissolve coffee in hot water and set aside.
2. Put whipping cream into a bowl and whip until soft, then gradually add sugar and coffee.
3. Whisk at high speed for 2 minutes until stiff. 
4. Optional: Add butter to make it into buttercream.

#10 Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Whenever I prefer something simple yet lovely on a lazy afternoon, I think a chiffon cake or Taiwanese castella cake would be perfect to go with a cuppa tea or coffee. In fact, I have attempted this numerous times for different flavours such as vanilla, coffee and chocolate. And the latter is my favourite among all, so chocolaty yet not overly sweet :) 

3 egg yolks 
50g milk
40g oil
45g flour
15g cocoa powder
3 egg whites
45g caster sugar
3g lemon juice
Pinch of salt

1. In a bowl, whisk milk and oil until thick. Heat it up, then sift in the flour and cocoa powder.
2. Add egg yolks and mix well until smooth.
3. For the meringue, beat egg whites on high speed in a completely dry, grease-free mixing bowl. Add lemon juice and salt.
4. Gradually add sugar (in 3 parts) into the frothy egg white mixture. Beat in medium speed until stiff peak forms. Then beat in low speed for another 10 seconds.
5. Add 1/3 meringue to the batter and whisk well.
6. Pour the batter into the remaining meringue and fold until smooth.
7. Pour into a 6" cake pan and smooth the surface with a stick. Drop twice to remove bubbles.
8. Bake at 150°C in a preheated oven for 12 minutes, then gently cross-cut through the surface.
9. Continue to bake at 140°C for 38 minutes. 
10. Once done, drop twice and let it cool for 20 minutes. 

[BONUS] #11 No-bake Oreo Cheesecake

And lastly, a no-bake recipe for those who don't have an oven. It is seriously easy except for the part of crushing the Oreo cookies by hand which can be very tedious and time-consuming. I'd recommend using a blender or buy readily-crushed cookie pieces instead. 

28 Oreos (or use Oreo Small Crushed Cookies Pieces to save time)
60g unsalted butter, melted

Cream cheese filling
500g cream cheese softened to room temperature 
50g powdered sugar 
480ml cold heavy whipping cream (4°C)
15g gelatin powder 
16 Oreos (break into quarters) 
10 Oreos, chopped (as topping)

1. Remove the filling of 24 pieces of Oreo, and crush into fine crumbs. Mix with 60g butter in a mixing bowl until the crumbs are moistened. 
2. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake tin with parchment paper, scoop the mixture into the pan, and firmly press it down into one even layer (can use the bottom of a glass), then let it chilled in the fridge for 1 hour. 
3. If you wish to have a crunchier crust, bake at 175°C for 8-10 minutes and then allow it to cool completely before filling. 

Cream cheese filling
1. Beat the cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth. 
2. Pour whipping cream in a separate bowl, and beat until stiff.
3. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and gently fold it with gelatin and crushed Oreos until well combined. 
4. Pour half the cheesecake filling onto the crust in the prepared cake tin. Add a layer of quartered Oreo cookies, then spoon in the remaining cheesecake filling.
5. Optional: Add the extra chopped Oreos as topping and gently press them down a little.
6. Leave to chill in the fridge for 4-5 hours or overnight.

What's Next?

Hope you like the above 11 recipes for beginners!
I will definitely be doing more home-baking and trying out new creations.
If you have any interesting recipes that you'd like me to try, please feel free to let me know ya!

Stay tuned for FiSh's Baking Diary Vol. 2 

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