Spiced chocolate and orange hot cross buns

spiced chocolate and orange hot cross buns

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!

I had this little ditty in my head while I was baking these hot cross buns.
Hot cross buns is probably something you would only have once a year; it is the only time I bake and eat these buns.

While I enjoy the traditional spiced hot cross buns (see my recipe for the traditional Paul Hollywood Hot cross buns), I think that I will pick these chocolate and orange hot cross bun(s) any day. I don’t care if the hot cross bun police is going to kick me in the butt for saying this.

I’m still trying to figure out what is the best way to eat a hot cross bun.

I like them warm and toasted (always!) with a thin spread of butter and jam. This time, I made a passion fruit curd to have with it. It may sound a little sinful to have curd with the bun for breakfast, but when you are only going to have this  once a year, I don’t see why not.

I’m freezing a few to have on Good Friday itself. Will be having a Easter feast this weekend with the family. Definitely looking forward to the cookout!

p.s  Do share with me what is your favourite way of eating the hot cross buns.

chocolate and orange hot cross buns

 

Spiced chocolate and orange hot cross buns
Makes a dozen of regular sized hot cross buns
Recipe adapted from delicious magazine (UK edition)

These hot cross buns would be perfect for Easter Sunday. I know that I would be happy to have them as these are even better than their traditional brothers. I have adapted the recipe from delicious magazine (using cinnamon powder instead of all spice), adding more cocoa powder, using cranberries instead of raisins. Have also made a spiced glaze with a hint of orange blossom water which pairs perfectly with these buns. Oh, and these buns are really perfect with some curd. See curd recipe below.


Ingredients for the buns:

400g bread flour
30g good-quality cocoa powder (I increased the amount of cocoa powder slightly)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp salt
85g unsalted butter, cubed
100g granulated sugar
2 x 7g sachets dried yeast (or just 14g active dried yeast)
1 large free-range egg (about 65g)
190ml lukewarm milk (may require less than stated)
100g dried cranberries
100g dark chocolate, chopped
75g chopped candied peel ( I left this out)
zest of 1 and a half orange

Ingredients for the cross mix: ( I halved the amt)

35g plain flour
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2.5 to 3 tbsp cold water

Ingredients for the egg wash:
1/2 egg
a dash of milk
a pinch of salt

Ingredients for the orange spiced glaze:

juice of 1 orange, approximately 50ml
50g granulated sugar
1/2 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp orange blossom water

Method:
1. Prepare the buns: Sift the flour, the cocoa powder, cinnamon powder and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and, with your fingertips, rub together until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can pulse it using a mixer with a paddle attachment.
2. Add in the sugar and stir evenly. Then, add the dried yeast to the mix and stir/pulse. Change to a dough hook. Add in the egg and mix it. Then add in 3/4 of the lukewarm milk into the mix and mix at low speed until the dough begins to come together. Add in the rest of the milk if the mixture still looks dry. It should come together into a ball, away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Allow the dough to be kneaded for about 10 minutes until it looks smooth and soft. You can choose to do this step by hand if you do not have a dough hook. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly oiled bowl. Leave for 1½ hours in a warm place, loosely covered with greased cling film, until doubled in size.
4. Remove the risen dough to a lightly floured surface, flatten slightly, then knead in the cranberries, chocolate bits, orange zest and candied peel(if you are using), until everything is evenly distributed.
5. Divide into 12 equal pieces (about 100g each) and shape into smooth-surfaced buns. Place in rows on a lightly oiled baking tray ( I used a pyrex deep dish tray), leaving a little gap between each. Cover loosely with lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size again. The buns should now be touching each other.
6. Just before the buns are ready, preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6 and prepare the cross mixture. Whisk in all the ingredients of the cross mix into a smooth pipable paste (add more water if needed). Then scoop it into a piping bag and snipe a small end off ( the hole should be small).
7. Whisk together the egg, milk and salt for the eggwash. Then brush the buns twice before piping the cross onto the buns. Use a small paring knife to stop the flow of the cross mix. Bake in the oven for 20 – 22 minutes until risen, and springs back to touch.
8. Meanwhile, put the remaining sugar into a pan with the orange juice. Put over a low heat until it has dissolved. Bring to the boil and bubble for 2 minutes until thickened.
9. While the buns are baking, prepare the glaze. Begin by heating the orange juice, sugar, cinnamon stick and orange blossom water. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it is boiling, lower the heat and heat for another 1-2 mintues until the glaze is slightly thickened.
10. Brush the glaze onto the buns once they are out of the oven. Allow the tray of buns to cool on a rack.

*The hot cross buns are best served warm.

The perfect passion fruit curd ( you can make orange or lemon curd if you wish)
Makes a jar

Ingredients:
150g eggs
125g granulated sugar
125ml passion fruit puree
200g unsalted butter, cubed

Method:

1. Put the eggs, sugar, passion fruit puree into a stainless steel bowl. Whisk them over a bain-marie.

2. At first, the mixture will go frothy and bubbly. Continue whisking until it thickens until a ribbon stage. This means that as you lift the whisk from the mixture, it will fall back upon itself but should leave a trail or ‘ribbon’ across the surface. This ribbon will not immediately sink back in on itself but will hold firm. This will take a while so be patient. You can also check to see if it coats the back of a wooden spoon. You should be able to run your finger through the middle of the curd coated spoon and see a define path left behind. (shouldn’t run off)

3. Take the thickened mixture off heat and add in the cubed butter and whisk vigorously until incorporated. Fill the curd into sterilized glass jars and store in the fridge for about 1 – 2 weeks.

passion fruit curd

chocolate and orange hot cross buns

Posted in Baking, Breads, Easter, Festive | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Passion fruit pâte à choux with crumble tops

passion fruit choux pastry

Hello!

Sunny weather ushers in bright hues of yellow and orange along with the promise of happy new beginnings.

It is hard to shy away from how colours can tint one’s mood. Oh, and weather for that matter.

Bright and sunny weather always make me want to embrace the world.  On the other hand, gloomy and grey days tend to get to me in strange ways I cannot fathom.

***

This passion fruit choux pastry is the epitome of sunny days and happy things. Its intense golden yellow is undeniably cheerful.

It helps that passion fruit is so fragrantly intense, sour (in a positive way), refreshingly welcoming especially on these sunny days.

How I love this happy passion fruit yellow!

Can you make a guess what else I’ll be making with passion fruit?

That’s right! Passion fruit curd.

***

Here’s to all of you celebrating sunnier days…

and at the same time, let’s not forget to add our own colour to the occasional unfortunate, gloomy days…

Jo

passion fruit

 

pate a choux with crmble

passion fruit creme patisserie
Recipe: Passion fruit pâte à choux with crumble tops
Makes 20

Passion fruit creme patisserie ( Passion fruit pastry cream)
The passion fruit cream filling is intense in flavour but lighter than the usual pastry cream as it is lightened with whipped cream.

Ingredients:
125g passion fruit puree
125ml full cream milk
1/4 vanilla bean (optional)
50g egg yolks (about two egg yolks from large eggs)
50g granulated sugar
30g cornflour
18g butter, cubed
180ml heavy cream, at least 33% fat, whipped till soft peaks
seeds from a passion fruit (optional)

Method:
1. Measure out yolks, granulated sugar and whisk until pale and light. Then add in cornflour, whisk until mixture is uniform.

2. Place passion fruit puree, milk and vanilla bean (scrape seeds) in a pot and bring the mixture to boil over medium heat, stirring every once in a while. 3. When the passion fruit puree mixture comes to a boil, pour over the yolk mixture gradually – whisking continuously to prevent the heat from cooking the yolks.

3. Pour the mixture back into the pot and whisk continuously ( and vigorously) over medium-low/medium heat until it thickens and forms a smooth paste. Allow the crème patisserie to cook for at least 2-3 minutes before taking it off the heat. You should see one or two large bubbles forming. That is an indication that the pastry cream is done.

4. Whisk in the cubed butter until it is well incorporated.

5. Transfer the pastry cream, using a scrapper, onto a tray lined with cling wrap. Cling wrap the pastry cream. Cool it down in the fridge before using it.

6. When about to assemble, transfer the cooled pastry cream into a bowl and whisk it up until smooth and lump-free.
At the same time, you can begin whisking the cream until soft peaks stage. Add in 1/4 of the whipped cream to the pastry cream and whisk to lighten it. Do not be afraid to knock out the air at this stage.

7. Then fold in the remaining cream gently, using a spatula in two additions. Fill your piping bag with a star/plain nozzle) and pipe the filling onto the pate a choux shells.

Crumble (for the crumble tops on the pate a choux)

Ingredients:
50g unsalted butter, softened
50g granulated sugar
50g plain flour

Method:
1. Rub in method: Place sugar and plain flour into a bowl and whisk. Then add in cubed butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour-sugar mixture until uniform.
2. Place dough between two pieces of baking parchment. Use a rolling pin to roll out the crumble dough to about 5mm thick. Place onto a tray and place it into the freezer to firm up while you make your choux pastry.

Pâte à choux (Choux Pastry) Recipe
Adapted from Stéphane Glacier’s recipe
Makes 20 large choux puffs

Please head over to my post on How to make the perfect choux pastry for tips on making choux puffs.

Ingredients:
188ml tap water
65ml full cream milk
100g unsalted butter, cubed
8g sugar
3g salt
150g plain flour
+/- 150g whole eggs, room temperature

for the egg wash: (or use your preferred egg wash)
1 egg yolk
dash of full cream milk
pinch of salt

Method:

1. Prepare trays for baking the choux by greasing it with butter so that they would not stick on the tray.

2. Place water, milk, butter, sugar and salt into a pot and bring it to a rolling boil. It should be bubbling furiously.

3. Remove the pot from the heat or turn down the heat and pour in all the flour at once and stir immediately and vigorously with a wooden spoon/spatula. Ensure that there is no lumps of flour in the *panade. Cook out the mixture over low heat for another 2-3 minutes. You should have a glossy panade that can be formed into a ball that comes away from the sides of the pot easily.

4.Remove the panade and place it into your machine mixer bowl. Using a paddle attachment, put the machine on low speed in order to cool the panade down for about 5 minutes.

5. When the panade is not hot to touch, with the paddle attachment still on, start adding the eggs one at a time at medium speed (speed 4 on the Kitchenaid mixer). The mixture may look like it has cuddled and split at first but be patient and allow the machine to do its job to emulsify the mixture. It will come back together in a while.

6. Continue adding the eggs until you get a smooth, thick, glossy paste. When you lift up your spatula, it should fall after roughly 3 seconds. It should be able to fall from the spatula on its own but not be too wet that it can’t hold its shape. You may/may not require the entire amount of eggs as stated in the recipe, depending on the consistency of the choux paste.

7. Place choux paste into a piping bag with a plain nozzle/star shaped nozzle. Pipe them as evenly as you can in blobs (like a teardrop).

8. Remove your crumble dough from the freezer and use a round cookie cutter (about the size of your choux puffs) to cut the crumble dough into discs and place it onto the top of the choux pastry. The crumble dough does get sticky under warm kitchen conditions so you have to work fast. Otherwise, just scoop the crumble dough and divide them evenly amongst the choux puffs.

9. Egg wash the crumble and puff.  Bake immediately at 180 degrees celcius in a pre-heated oven for about  1 and a half hour to 1 hr and 45 minutes (for choux pastry of this size. Smaller ones will be done faster).  Choux pastry must be thorougly baked.

10. You can check if the choux pastry shells are properly baked by removing a shell from the oven and tear it apart to see if the insides of the choux is dry. Only remove the entire batch when they are dry.

11. Fill these choux pastry with  crème patisserrie only after they have cooled completely.

 

 

piped choux pastry with passion fruit creme pat

ll

passion fruit choux 3

passion fruit choux pastry2

Posted in Baking, Pastry | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Chocolate and hazelnut delice

chocolate hazelnut delice cover 1

 

 

 

 

Sorry for the late posting. I had a massively hectic last week as I was busy putting together a dessert table for my younger sister’s wedding on top of being sick. I made blush and mint green coloured meringues, chewy chocolate brownies, vanilla bean cupcakes, rose cookies, spiced nuts, gourgeres.

Everything turned out well, thankfully. It was a beautiful wedding with the closest friends and relatives witnessing it. Words can hardly describe my joy for the newlyweds, my dearest sister and my brother-in-law.

dessert table wedding dessert table

 

It seems like we have been having celebrations a lot lately. Right before my sister’s wedding, J and I celebrated our fifth year wedding anniversary. It is amazing how five years have flown by just like that. I guess time does fly by when you are having fun. I’m too grateful for the wonderful journey that we have shared thus far.

***

I was thinking of what dessert to make for J. I decided to go with a chocolate and hazelnut this time.

This dessert was inspired by the one we had at Salt Grill and Sky bar by Luke Mangan. J really loved the flavours and textures a lot and it was not hard to see why. It was a plate with a chocolate delice with praline crunch, honeycomb, praline ice cream, toasted hazelnuts.

I recreated that particular dessert with my own variations.  It consisted of a dark chocolate crémeux, praline feuilletine base, chocolate “soil” and caramelised hazelnuts – a simple chocolate and hazelnut combination.

choc delice chocolate hazelnut delice

 

The dark chocolate crémeux is rich, smooth and creamy. The praline feuilletine base adds a much needed crunch to the dessert. The caramelised hazelnuts make for perfect snacking but they too have a place on this plate. The chocolate and hazelnut delice is also perfect with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

All the components are pretty easy to make and can be made ahead of time to be assembled when you intend to serve it.

***

Happy baking. I hope that all my dear readers will find some time, every now and then, amidst your busy schedules to tell the person you love how much you appreciate them. And always remember to enjoy the little moments…

love,
jo

 

Recipe: Chocolate and hazelnut delice

Makes 7″x9″ tray, about 1 inch thick

This is a dessert recipe that makes a full tray of chocolate and hazelnut delice. It definitely looks impressive on a plate and a great do-ahead dessert for a dinner party. This is a variation of the chocolate hazelnut cake that I made for my dad’s birthday.

Praline Feuilletine base

Ingredients:
70g praline paste
30g 55% dark chocolate couverture, chopped
30g Feuilletine flakes

Method:
1. Place the praline paste and chopped dark chocolate into a bowl and place the bowl over a bain marie to melt evenly, stir until well combined.
2. Pour in the feuilletine flakes into the melted praline paste and chocolate mixture and fold with a spatula until it is even.
3. Transfer this mixture onto a baking parchment lined tray. Place another piece of baking parchment over it and use a rolling pin and roll out the feuilletine base into a even thin layer. This praline feuilletine base needs to be the same size as the baking tray you are using for your chocolate creameux.
4. Place this layer into the freezer for it to firm up while you prepare your chocolate creameux.

Dark chocolate crémeux

Recipe adapted from Chef Stéphane Glacier (M.O.F)

Ingredients:
175ml cream (at least 33% fat)
175ml full-cream milk
88g egg yolks
88gg granulated sugar
237g 55% dark chocolate couverture
1/4tsp fleur de sel (or to taste)

Method:
1. Measure out all your ingredients before starting.
2. Make a custard: In a pot, heat the cream and milk. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until well-combined. When the cream and milk comes to a boil, pour this liquid into the yolk mixture and whisk. Then, return this mixture back to the pot at low heat and stir with a wooden spoon/rubber spatula. It should be done at about 84 degrees celcius/ when it is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
3. Pour the custard through a sieve over your chopped chocolate. Stir it slowly (do not incorporate air bubbes) until the chocolate has melted and crémeux is uniform. Add in the fleur de sel and stir to distribute evenly.
4. Transfer the creameux into a baking parchment lined tray to set in the freezer.

Caramelised hazelnuts
This recipe makes more caramelised hazelnuts than you need to use for the dessert. You can store the rest in an airtight container for snacking.

Ingredients:
30ml water
63g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds only
125g blacnched whole hazelnuts
5g butter ( or a small pinch)
1/4 tsp sea salt

Method:
1. Place water, sugar and vanilla bean seeds in a clean, grease-free stainless steel pot. Place on low heat until sugar has dissolved.
2. Add in the hazelnuts into the sugar. Move the nuts around every now and then but do not stir it too much if not the sugar will start to crystalise.
3. Cook hazelnuts and caramel under golden, amber colour (as you desire).
4. Stir in the butter when it is done. Then pour the nuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Break it up as it starts cooling.

Chocolate soil
Makes more chocolate soil than you need but you can store the rest for future use
Recipe taken from Paul Foster on Great British Chefs

Ingredients:
100g of caster sugar
100g of ground almonds
60g of plain flour
50g of cocoa powder
68g of butter, melted

Method:
1. Mix all of the ingredients for the chocolate soil together well and spread evenly onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
2. Bake at 160°C for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to break up the crumbs.
3. Let it cool completely on a baking rack before storing it in an air-tight container.

 

chocolate dessert

Posted in Baking, Desserts, Plated desserts | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Japanese inspired quinoa salad with soy sauce vinaigrette dressing

Japanese inspired quinoa salad

I’m going to let you in on my tiny secret; I have kept this recipe from all of you for far too long and good things are meant to be shared. This is the BEST quinoa salad ever. If you ever need convincing about quinoa, this is the one dish you should try.

After being introduced to quinoa last year, I have been smitten by this humble seed. I have been eating quinoa salads at least once a week since then. They are perfect when you have been eating too much rich/oily food throughout the week and just feel like having something lighter.

quinoa (1)

Having tried different variations of  making of quinoa salad, I have to say that this is my absolute favourite; it is practically second to none.

I find myself going back to this quinoa salad time and time again, week after week because it is just so delicious. I even (almost) convince my cucumber-phobic sister to eat her cucumbers in this salad.  It is the first time she has eaten cucumbers willingly, with the disclaimer “as long as there aren’t too many cucumbers, they are fine in the salad.”

quinoa (3)

I have made variations of this Japanese inspired quinoa salad, adding or subtracting an ingredient (mostly ingredients found in the Japanese cuisine) and they are work well with this dressing.

You can cook a large quantity of quinoa at the beginning of the week and store it cling-wrapped in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week. The vinaigrette dressing could also be made in advance for up to a week and stored in the fridge.

Now that I’ve let you in on this little secret, will you be giving this quinoa salad a go?

quinoa wakame

quinoa (6)

DSC_0482

Recipe: Japanese inspired quinoa salad with soy sauce vinaigrette dressing
Serves 2 for hearty salad meal

Ingredients:
1 cup white quinoa seeds
1.5 cups tap water
pinch of salt
1/2 Japanese cucumber, sliced thinly
1/2 punnet of cherry tomatoes (about 125g), sliced into halves
1 tbsp dried wakame (Japanese seaweed), soaked in tap water for about 5 mins
1/2 ripe avocado, cut into 1 cm pieces
3 tsp tobiko (flying fish roe)
2 tsp sakura denbu (Japanese fish flakes)

For the soy sauce vinaigrette: (ratio of soy sauce:rice vinegar: grapeseed oil is 1:1:2)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp grapeseed oil

Other possible additions:
- salmon slices (sashimi grade)
– salmon roe
– shaved bonito flakes
– dried cherry tomatoes
- perfectly boiled molten egg
-cooked enoki mushrooms (straw mushrooms)

Method:
1. Prepare the quinoa: Wash the quinoa seeds in running water thoroughly and soak it for about 20-30 minutes before cooking (to remove the coating of saponin that lies in the outer husk of the quinoa that gives it a bitter aftertaste). Drain the quinoa seeds using a sieve or fine mesh strainer.

2. Cook the quinoa as per packet’s instructions. I use the ratio of 1: 1.5 for quinoa seeds to water/stock. Add a pinch of salt and bay leaf/smashed garlic clove if using water. Start cooking the quinoa at medium high heat until it starts to boil. Then turn down the heat to low and allow the quinoa to absorb the liquid. The quinoa takes about 10-15 minutes to cook. The ready quinoa will start to look slightly translucent. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork. Let it cool while you prepare the salad ingredients.

3. Wash and cut up vegetables. Soak the dried wakame in tap water and allow them to “bloom”.

4. Prepare the soy sauce vinaigrette: Place soy sauce and rice vinegar in a bowl and whisk lightly to combine before drizzling the oil in. Whisk well to combine before using.

5. Toss the salad ingredients with the cooked quinoa and vinaigrette. Taste and season if necessary.

japanese inspired quinoa

Posted in Cooking, Recipe, Salads, Savoury | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Rose cranberry chiffon cake

rose cranberry chiffon cake cover

Hi all,

I know everyone enjoys a light chiffon cake every now and then. I, too, have a not-so-secret love affair with the chiffon cake.

I have made different flavour variations including the pandan chiffon cake, chocolate chiffon cake, and matcha chiffon cake countless of times.

This time, I experimented with a rose cranberry one given my new found love for the delicate rose flavour in my recent bakes – rose, cranberry and pistachio cookie and rose macarons.

rose chiffon cake slice

I’ve recently read a thought-provoking article ( “A taste you hate? Just wait.”) on The New York Times on how it is possible that we reconnect and reconcile with the food that we used to dislike (or even hate). And that we “can continue to develop new food preference into old age”.

This article totally describes my new relationship with rose flavour. My first introduction to rose flavour was in the form of rose syrup and bandung (a rose flavoured drink made from rose cordial and evaporated milk). I hated the artificial flavour of it. The bright ruby colour from the rose syrup alone gives me the shudders.

It is only much later in my adult life that I reconnected with it with the reintroduction to the rose flavour in the form of turkish delight.

***

rose cranberry chiffon cake 2

This chiffon cake was adapted from my chocolate chiffon cake recipe. The rose flavour in the chiffon cake is subtle and delicate, with hints of it perfuming the cake; it makes its presence known without shouting for attention.

It is important to warm the milk and steep the dried rose petals  in it for at least half an hr (longer if you have time to spare). This will help bring out the rose flavour as compared to using the dried rose petals directly. The addition of dried cranberries are completely optional but add a good textural and flavour element to the lightly flavoured cake.

If you prefer a more pronounced rose flavour, it would be best to ice this cake in a thin layer of rose flavoured chantilly cream as I have done. The icing is not as sinful as what people make it out to be (at least I think so on my part, naively or not, you decide). The rose chantilly cream brings out the rose accents in the cake in every mouthful you take, making it a perfect dessert to brighten up someone’s day.

DSC_0428

Recipe: Rose cranberry chiffon cake

Makes a 23 cm (9.5″) chiffon cake

This makes a light, delicate rose flavoured chiffon cake. Unadorned, it is perfect for breakfast with a cup of tea. If you like to pretty it up a little, you can ice it with a thin layer of rose chantilly cream. The rose chantilly cream accentuates the rose flavour of the cake with a light touch.

Ingredients:

Group A:
5 large egg yolks, room temperature
120g castor sugar
85ml corn oil (or any neutral flavour oil like canola and grapeseed)
130ml whole fresh milk
6 tbsp dried rose petals (culinary grade)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp rosewater
190g cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder (optional, just to ensure the lift. but I have baked without the baking powder and it works just as fine.)
1/4 tsp salt

Group B:
5 large egg whites, room temperature
90g castor sugar

70g dried cranberries, optional

Method:
1. Warm the milk (until it is warm to touch, but not boiling). Add in the rose petals to infuse for about 30 minutes (at least) while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

2. Separate the egg whites and the egg yolks. Ensure that there is no trace of yolk in the whites. Allow them to come to room temperature. This is especially important for the egg whites to be whisked to their peaks.

3.Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Have your chiffon cake tin mould ready. Do not grease it!

3. Start with the group A ingredients as we only want to whisk the egg whites when everything else is done. If not, the egg whites will start to deflate.

4. In the bowl containing the yolks, add in sugar and whisk until light and pale. This can be done with a hand whisk. We just need some aeration in the yolks. Add in the oil and whisk until incorporated.

5. Add the milk with all the dried rose petals, vanilla extract and rosewater into the yolk mixture and whisk. Then, measure and sift your dry ingredients and whisk into the yolk mixture (until just incorporated).

6. Next come the crucial step of whisking the egg whites. It is best to use room temperature egg whites because whites right out of the fridge will be too cold and will not whisk well. We are essentially whisking a meringue. Start with a stainless steel clean and grease-free bowl (I always rinse it with boiling water to rid of any remaining grease). Add in your room temperature egg whites and put it onto your mixer.

7. Begin whisking your egg whites at medium low speed till foamy. You can add a pinch of cream of tar tar (which increases the meringue stability) at this point if you like. This is optional and your meringues will still work even without it.

8. Turn your mixer speed to high and whisk whites until soft peaks. Soft peaks are reached when the peaks of the whites droop when the whisk is lifted.

8. Start to pour in your caster sugar slowly, in a few additions, while the mixer is still running. The sugar, when added gradually, greatly stabilizes the meringue. But the sugar needs to be added slowly to give time for the sugar to dissolve and not weigh down the meringue. The meringue should be whisked to a glossy, firm peaks – just slightly short of stiff peaks. The whites should look glossy and when the whisk is lifted, the peaks will hold but the tip will fall back slightly onto itself. Just a note: stiff peaks mean that when you turn the whisk is lifted, the peaks will hold up straight without collapsing onto itself at all.

9. Start by adding 1/4 of the meringue to mixture A (yolk mixture). Whisk lightly to combine until it is well incorporated. Do not be afraid to knock out air at this stage. We are lightening the yolk mixture so that it will be of a more similar consistency to the meringue which will help you fold the meringue through easily and more evenly.

10. Next, add in 1/2 of the remaining meringue to the mixture A (yolk mixture). Fold gently using a rubber spatula drawing a line across the centre of the batter then going under the batter and lifting up when the spatula reaches the sides of the bowl. Turn the bowl as you do this. Do ensure that the egg whites are folded into the mixture thoroughly so you won’t get egg white streaks after baking. Fold in the dried cranberries into the batter.

11. Gently pour the chiffon cake batter into the chiffon tin. Using a rubber spatula, level and smooth out the top of the cake batter and gently tap the chiffon cake tin against the kitchen counter twice to remove any large air bubbles.

12. Bake in a preheated 180 degrees celcius for about 1 hr 5 minutes (+/-). The top of the cake should be lightly browned and springs back to touch when it is done. The cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. At about 25 minutes into the baking, check on your chiffon cake. If the top starts to get too brown or starts cracking too much, cover the chiffon cake with a sheet of aluminium foil before you continue with the baking. You can turn down the temperature slightly as well to about 170-175 degrees celcius.

13. Remove the ready cake from the oven, place a funnel into the center hole of the tin and invert the cake to cool on a cooling rack. Only attempt to unmould the chiffon cake from its tin when it is cooled fully.

14. To remove the cake after it is cooled, run a palette knife against the sides of the cake tin. Turn it out gently onto a cake board. The base of the cake tin would now be on top. Run a palette knife in one swift motion against the base of the tin. Allow the chiffon cake to gently fall onto the cake board. Remember not to shake/yank out the chiffon cake – the crumb structure is very tender and you would only tear your cake if you do so.

*Storage tips:
*Without the icing, the rose cranberry chiffon cake can keep in an air-tight container for about 3 days but it is best eaten on the day it is baked.
*After it is iced with the chantilly cream, you would need to keep the cake in the fridge. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving for the best results.

Rose chantilly cream (Icing)
Enough to ice a 23 cm chiffon cake (thinly)

Ingredients:
250ml heavy cream (at least 33% fat)
3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp rosewater
Optional: rose coloured food colouring (I used wilton colour gel)

Method:
1. Whisk the cream in a grease-free mixing bowl starting at a medium speed before turning up to maximum speed. Best to do it on a mixer, it may take some time by hand especially in a warm kitchen.
2. When the cream starts to thicken, add in the sifted icing sugar and rosewater and continue whisking until medium soft peaks. It should droop back slightly on itself.
3. Fold in the colouring to desired colour, and ice the (cooled) chiffon cake with a palette knife.

*Tips on making chantilly cream:
*It is best to work with a chilled mixing bowl. I would put the mixer bowl (without the cream) in the freezer for about 10 minutes before whisking the cream in it. It prevents the cream from separating.
*Do not overwhisk your cream or it will split. Best not to walk away from your mixer once you start on it.

rose cranberry chiffon cake

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