Quick and Easy, no proofing time, thin crust pizza

Hot, crispy, straight from the oven, into the tummy... Yummy!
Hot, crispy, straight from the oven, into the tummy… Yummy!

Just a quick post today to share this wonderful recipe for a no-fuss thin and crispy pizza recipe. It requires no proofing, so you can make the dough and immediately roll it out for baking. I use a normal desk top oven, so I have to heat the oven at maximum temp for half an hour before the pizza dough is to be baked.

Thin and Crispy Dough (adapted from  http://www.fearlesshomemaker.com) This recipe makes two 12 inch pizzas.

2/3 cup of water

1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I used mauri-pan brand)

1 1/2 cup bread flour + 1/2 cup wholemeal flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Italian herbs (dried – I used McCormick’s)

2 tbs olive oil

Mix all the above ingredient. Knead until dough is slightly sticky but elastic. Form into two balls. If not using immediately, place one of the balls in a greased bowl and leave in fridge until ready to be used. Meanwhile, roll out the first ball of dough thinly. Spread with pizza sauce, start from the middle, working out to the periphery and bake in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes before turning the pizza around so the front gets rotated to the back of oven. This should ensure the pizza bakes evenly. Bake for another 3 minutes, remove from oven. Place cheese on top of pizza, and other toppings. Don’t overcrowd as thin crust pizza will get soggy if too much topping is placed. Bake a further 5 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before cutting.

Pizza sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced fine

400 gm can of chopped tomatoes (I used Cirio brand “Polpa” tomatoes)

1 tsp Italian herbs

A handful of torn fresh basil leaves

2 tbs olive oil

Salt and sugar to taste (instead of sugar, finely grated carrots can be used)

Method:

Saute garlic in olive oil till fragrant. Add carrots (if using) stir till a little caramelized. Add tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes, add Italian herbs. Simmer for 5 more minutes, add salt, adjust seasoning. Finally, toss in fresh basil leaves and immediately remove from fire. Cool before using.

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Baking to Feel Better?

I felt really bad when I woke-up this morning. Raging temperature, nausea, the feeling of wanting to curl up and die. Curled up and wanting to die was more or less what I was up to the whole day. With temperatures climbing and dipping, I vaccilated between shivering and sweating – my whole back felt as if it was being trod on by some horrid giant. So, have not been able to eat much today either and towards the evening I began to have a hankering for plain, butter cake. Just plain, nothing fancy, yellow butter cake. The kind that crumbles but moist. Not really pound cake in consistency – it’s supposed to be soft and spongy but with crumbs to die for.

My sister-in-law (hubby’s youngest sister,) makes the best butter cakes I have ever eaten in my life. I have watched her make those cakes. Helped her even, when she makes the cakes in my in-law’s house and I swear, she does not put in anything special, but those cakes of hers… I have yet to taste anything like it anywhere else. Since she lives so far away, I had to crawl out of bed and mix a batch of the butter cake myself – but of course, now that its in the oven – I don’t really wanna eat anything anymore. Oh well… Here’s the butter cake recipe that I use. I don’t really feel up to taking pictures today, but I will share the recipe with you here :

 Rich Butter Cake

260gm butter

250gm sugar

250gm self raising flour

6 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/3 cup fresh milk (room temperature)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (normal oven) or 120 degrees celcius for convection.

Cream butter and sugar till mixture is white and fluffy (I tend to take a long time here)

Beat in the eggs 1 by 1, beating at least 20 seconds per egg before adding the other one

Add the vanilla essence – beat well – put away your electric mixer

Using plain wooden spoon, mix in the flour and milk – alternate one with the other. Do not over beat the flour.

Bake in 120 degrees (convection oven) for about 1 hour

 Sometimes when I am in the mood, I would add lemon peel to this mix, just to give it that fresh zing. But not tonight. I can hear my bed and blanket calling out to me again. Peace and out!

Orange Cupcakes

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So, the orange cupcakes didn’t take long to make at all. I decided to make a variation of the basic vanilla cupcake, to “orange-ify” it.

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The sugar daisies are cute, and they are there because of the 2 little girls who will be coming over tonight… :o) The recipe is pretty basic:

250 gms butter

250 gms sugar

250 gms self raising flour

5 eggs

1/2 teaspoon orange flavouring

grated rind of 1 orange

juice from 1 orange

Method:

Cream butter and sugar till white. Add eggs 1 by 1. Add flavouring, orange peel and juice. Mix lightly with flour. Bake 20-22 minutes in a 175 degree celcius oven.

The cub could not wait for the cupcakes to cool down, the first batch of 6 cupcakes vanished pretty quickly. This recipe yields 24 cupcakes and the cakes are fine crumbed, very light, not too sweet, with a hint of oranges. I would fill the cups 2/3rd of the way as the cakes rise pretty high during baking.

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So, there we have it… 2 types of cupcakes for the guests. Actually, I would love to bake more… But I think hubby would totally go on strike if I spend more time in the kitchen this weekend…

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Almond Chocolate Cupcakes…

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The visitors who are coming will be staying overnight, and they are bringing with them 2 GORGEOUS little girls… I am soo excited at the thought of having loads of kids in the house that I have been busy baking cupcakes too!! (I Know, I gotta stop… but I am excited!)

The Almond Chocolate cupcake is very moist and due to the almonds (well, I was trying to use up the almonds that I had earlier bought for the Spiced Layer Cake;) the texture is dense and crumbly. You don’t actually taste the almonds, but it is very, very moist and chocolatey.

 I obtained the recipe from Rachel in Open Source Food: (http://www.opensourcefood.com/people/rachel/recipes/chocolate-almond-cupcakes/)

It is an excellent, excellent recipe – kudos to Rachel!

I will be baking the plain vanilla cupcakes after this – already got the cute daisy sugar flowers to decorate those with. When I think of having many, many kids in the house, I have to sigh. Maybe I should have had at least 4 more kids for the little cub to play with…. but what the hey! I am happy with my 1, perfect, little cub – maybe if I bake enough goodies, I can entice more kids to my house to play with him! haha! (any excuse to bake, I know!)

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In Search of the Traditional Spiced Layer Cake Recipe…

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So.. it has been a while since I updated this blog. The reason being that I have been nuts with this layer cake thing, as well as fulfilling orders and Eid-Adha baking etc. Between cake orders and kitchen tests.. it has been one long slog since November.

 When I was a child, the Spiced Layer Cake was a delicacy that both my elder brother and I looked forward to once a year. Nope. Our Mum didn’t make this cake. However, a relative in Singapore used to make these cakes to supplement her income and we used to really look forward to visiting her house during Eid.

This is not a cheap cake to make. It uses 30 egg yolks, half a kilo of butter, a LOT of spices to make the spice mix, including the dried peel of a kaffir lime, which is almost impossible to obtain outside South East Asia. I got a little nostalgic about this during the fasting month and decided to ask a friend for the recipe. She actually sells the cake, but as I had once given her the recipe to my signature Prune Cake, I thought she would return the favour.

It took me 4 hours, 30 eggs, 680gms butter, a lot of sugar, and a bottle of spices, well almost a whole weekend (when you count the effort of buying the stuff needed for the cake and looking high and low for the spice mix in shops.) It would have been worth it had the cake been a success.

Unfortunately, the cake came out inedible- so I guess I must have either missed a step or missed out a few ingredients by mistake. The cake that I made that weekend tasted really horrid, with a bitter after taste. A Far Cry from the pleasantly spiced, melt-in-your-mouth, rich cake that I was used to eating when growing up.

That was when I went nuts! The following week was filled with my search around the internet for the cake recipe, but all did not seem credible, (maybe I was paranoid too!) Then on to bookshops weekend after weekend, in my quest for the recipe. Finally, a few weeks later, I came across a book by a Singaporean veteran cook – Asmah Laili. It had a recipe of the spiced layer cake and when I skimmed through the recipe, voila! – even the spice mixture recipe was included! The book was a little costly, but as it contained a few other recipes from my childhood, I ran to the counter to pay for it.

I spent a cool part of one day washing, drying the spices in the sun, dry-frying the spices in the wok with very little heat, cooling and then grinding and re-grinding the spices to ensure that it is as fine as possible. The spices? Cloves, Cardamoms, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Nutmeg, and Kaffir Lime peel.

The following day, I made the cake, in addition to the normal items that we use for this cake, there was also the addition of ground almonds, I guess to add to the dense texture of the cake. This time, the cake came out wonderful… Just like the cake made by that wonderful auntie in Singapore. How long did it take for me to cook all those layers??? A cool 4 hours.. Believe It or Not? But, yes, I will make the cake again. You can see from the photos above, just how lovely and moist the cake was… :o)

Not So Sweet, Moist Chocolate Cake

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I have always loved the smell of chocolate cake baking and my idea of heaven as a child was having a slab of cake in the fridge, to eat if I so choose, just because it is there. It gives me a sense of wonderful satisfaction to be able to bake this cake for my friends and family and the thought of my loved ones having some of this wonderful cake in the fridge to eat with a glass of really cold milk, just makes me smile. 

So, here I am going home from the office, straight to the kitchen to bake this really easy chocolate cake. I actually obtained this recipe online a while ago (however, I can’t remember the link!) and modified  it a bit to suit my taste – well, most of the change was in the amount of sugar, and the amount of frosting used. The recipe is as follows:

350 gm butter
450 gm sugar
6 eggs

sifted ingredients:

450 gm cake flour

130 gm cocoa powder

2 tsps bicarbonate of soda

3 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Mix to a paste:

2 tsp instant coffee + 2 tsp warm water
2 tsp vanilla essence

14 oz ice cold water

Method:

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(if when you add the cold water to the cake mixture and think to yourself – “I have been led up the garden path!!!” you’re fine. That’s what I thought when I first tried this recipe too! Just perservere, you will have a nice smooth batter!)

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Cream butter and sugar till fluffy, add eggs one at a time and beat well

Add the flavouring paste and beat

With a hand whisk, add the sifted ingredients gently.

Add the ice cold water into this mixture and mix.

Bake in a 170 degree celcius oven for about 90 mins.

 For the Frosting:

1 can of condensed milk

half cup salad oil

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

Method:

Put together all the ingredients in a pot, put on stove (medium heat) and stir all the time till mixture thickens.

Cool cake well, then proceed to fill and top the cake with the frosting.

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