Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chocolate-Zucchini Bundt Cake : Bake-Along #65

We had a fantastic "Chiffon Marathon" on our last Bake-Along! Thank you everyone, for your overwhelming response. All of you are just so creative, baking the usual chiffon cakes with unique and delicious flavours combinations, some of them are really new to me, and the chiffon cakes made into layer cakes are just so beautifully done! Clearly, you are a group of talented bakers! There are recipes that I have bookmarked to try, one of it, is the ever so popular Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes, and me being the slow-coach to jump into the wagon, will bake it, eventually!

Today's Bake-Along #65 was selected by Lena to bake together with Zoe and everyone is welcome to join us. If you are hesitating whether to bake this cake, hesitate no more, bake it! This cake is really moist, chocolaty and so good.

No one would not know that there are zucchini in the cake, except the baker, of course! And your kids would be happily gobbling down this chocolate cake, without their knowing that there is some veggie in it. This cake is baked in a bundt pan, and my photos taken on day 1, before the cake was sliced, are missing from my camera, oops!! So, these photos were taken on the next day when there are some slices left. 

As usual, I have reduced the granulated sugar to only half for full recipe, and brown sugar to 3/4 cup, loosely packed. I have omitted the sliced almonds as my family are not in favour of nuts in cakes. I have replaced the sour cream with homemade yoghurt. You would need about 1 medium zucchini to get 2 cups of grated zucchini. And one of the ingredients is espresso powder, which adds a lovely fragrant and delicious flavour with the cocoa powder.

A really chocolaty, moist and delicious cake. I'm glad I've reduced the sugar amount, as the sweetness turns out just right. My son brought 5 slices to school to share with his best buddies, and they loved it, came back with an empty container and a request to make this cake again. This is a keeper recipe. Thanks Lena, for a delicious selection!

** note : my changes listed in blue
Chocolate-Zucchini Bundt Cake
(adapted from "Cake Keeper Cakes", Lauren Chattman)
Serves 10 to 12
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder plus more for dusting the pan
1/2 cup sour cream (homemade yoghurt)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
1 cup packed light brown sugar (3/4 cup, loosely packed)
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds (omitted)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.
  2. Whisk together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla in a large glass measuring cup. Whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the sour cream mixture. Repeat, alternating flour and sour cream mixtures and ending with the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.Stir in the zucchini, chocolate chips, and nuts.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.
  6. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

To view this lovely cake that everyone has made, please visit Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids, and all our friends who has baked along with us in the linky below :

For our next Bake-Along, our bake is based on a theme which is Theme : Baked Pasta. Bake any pasta recipe and join us! The linky will start on 7th July until 16th August. Everyone is welcome! 


A friendly reminder when linking to our blog hop :
1. Please mention Bake-Along event in your own post linking direct to any of the hosts' post (JoyceLena or Zoe)
2. Please link only new and current post, PLEASE FOLLOW THE BAKE OR THEME provided by us. Unrelated post will be deleted.
3. Feel free to display our Bake-Along badge in your post.

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To join our blog hop, click on the link to get the codes:
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Celery Bread

Alex Goh has never fail to amaze me with his lovely breads, and he has done it again with this Celery Bread. If you have some celery in your refrigerator, forget about your stir-fry, just this once, make this bread instead. Or buy some celery and make this bread! You would be glad you did!

Full recipe makes 2 lovely loaves of Celery Bread.

This recipe uses the gelatinized starter, where the starter is mixed and left to refrigerate for at least 12 hours before it is mixed into the rest of the ingredients for the dough.

Some celery is blended with a little water to form a thin puree. According to the recipe, he says to add in the celery juice, which I'm not sure whether he meant only the juice, in this case, the puree needs to be strained to get the juice. Or he meant the whole blended puree, which is rather watery. Alex Goh's recipes are good, but his instructions are sometimes very vague, with no further explanations. So I have used the whole blended puree, why waste the good nutritious celery pulps? I've added it to the ingredients and proceed with the making of the bread.

There's chopped celery and chopped ham too. 

Both are kneaded into the dough before the first rise.

The risen dough.

Divide the dough into two, flatten them out to the length of the pans, roll them up tightly and place in the prepared greased baking loaf pans. Cover with greased cling wrap and left to rise until nearly doubled in size.

Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

Lovely  bread, could not wait to slice it! 

The texture of the bread is just wonderful. It is soft, moist, and very tasty! It has the light fragrance and crunch from the chopped celery and the ham, of course it makes anything tastes delicious!

Look at how soft the slices are! We finished the two loaves by the third day, and they are just as soft. Do not keep this bread for long at room temperature since it has chopped ham. 

Makes a very good sandwich bread. Yum! A definite keeper recipe! 

**notes : I have made some changes to the shaping of the dough (refer to my instructions below). Alex Goh has divided the dough into 8 small pieces and placed 4 pieces of rolled-up dough in each loaf pan. For convenience, I have however divided the dough into two, simply rolled them up and place each one in each loaf pan.
Celery Bread
(adapted from "Magic Bread", Alex Goh)
(A) : For the gelatinized dough
100gm bread flour
70gm boiling water

325gm bread flour
75gm plain flour
15gm milk powder
50gm sugar
8gm salt
8gm instant yeast

130gm celery + 60gm water ) blend till fine
90gm cold water
30gm cold egg

40gm butter

50gm diced celery
50gm diced ham

  1. Blend the celery with 60gm of water until pureed. (It will be a thin puree).
  2. To prepare the gelatinized dough (A) : pour the boiling water onto the flour, mix until well-blended to form dough. Cover and set aside to cool. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  3. Mix all the ingredients from (B) until well blended. Add ingredients (C) ; cold water, egg and blended celery. Knead to form rough dough. 
  4. Add in butter (D) and knead to form elastic dough. Lastly, add in the diced celery and diced ham (E), knead gently until the ingredients are evenly incorporated into the dough.
  5. Place dough in a large oiled bowl, turn dough so that the oiled side is facing up. Cover loosely with greased cling wrap, and let it proof for 40 minutes, or until doubled in size. 
  6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and gently deflate dough. Divide the dough into 2 equal-sized pieces and mould each piece into a round. Cover with greased cling wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Working with one piece of round dough at a time, flatten and spread out the dough with your hands, roughly to the length of the baking pan, roll it up tightly like a swiss roll. Press the seams to seal, neaten the two sides by tucking a little of the two sides under the dough, and press the seams to seal. 
  8. Place dough in greased baking pan, cover loosely with greased cling wrap and leave to proof for 50 minutes or until dough is nearly doubled in size. 
  9. Preheat the oven at 190C, about 20 minutes before the baking time. Bake the loaves until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  10. Remove loaves from pan and cool completely on cooling rack.


I'm linking this post with :

Friday, July 18, 2014

Delicious Chicken Bits

It's "July Potluck" at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), and I'm cooking with Madhur Jaffrey for this week's dish, Delicious Chicken Bits.

A very easy dish to make, simply marinade cubed pieces of chicken breast with ground black pepper, ground turmeric, chilli powder, ground cumin, dried thyme, garlic powder, red paprika, salt and a tablespoon of oil, for at least 10 minutes or longer. I left mine for 2 hours, keep covered in the fridge. Madhur Jaffrey's instructions are to fry the chicken pieces in a little oil until lightly browned and finish the cooking in the oven for another 8-10 minutes. My guess is, this method is to keep the chicken breasts moist, without drying them from over-frying. I was lazy to do that, and I fry the chicken pieces over low heat until they are cooked through, turning them a couple of times so that they do not dry out. I used two whole chicken breasts, did not weigh them but have used double the amount of spices listed in the recipe, may adjust to your taste. 

The chicken is really moist, soft and tasty. We had it with rice. And it is good when served warm or cold. 
Even a couple of hours later (there were some leftovers, two whole chicken breasts make quite a lot), the chicken is still tender and moist. According to Madhur Jaffrey, these chicken bits may be pierced with toothpicks and nibbled upon with drinks, added to salads or eaten at picnics. And from the photo in the book, it is "nibbled upon" with a glass of beer! Nice!

Delicious Chicken Bits
(adapted from "100 Essential Curries", Madhur Jaffrey)
Serves 6-8
550gm (1-1/4 lb) boned, skinned chicken breasts (4 breast pieces)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon bright red paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil

Step One
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Cut each chicken breast piece into thirds, lengthways, and then crossways into a 2 to 2-1/2cm (3/4-1in) segments. Put in a bowl. Add the black pepper, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin powder, thyme, garlic powder, paprika, salt and 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes or longer.

Step Two
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large, non-stick frying pan over very high heat. When very hot, put in the chicken. Stir and fry quickly until the chicken pieces are lightly browned or turn opaque on the outside. Put in a baking dish, cover loosely with lightly oiled greaseproof paper which should sit inside the dish and directly on the chicken pieces, and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the chicken pieces are just cooked through. If not eating immediately, remove the chicken pieces from the hot baking dish to prevent them from drying out.

I'm linking this post to I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's "July Potluck"


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Leftover Meatloaf Stir-Fry

This dish was cooked a couple of weeks ago, when I had 2 thick slices of leftover meatloaf, which I made from Paula Deen's recipe, "Old-Fashioned Meatloaf", from my post, here. I was wondering what to do with the leftovers the next day, as heating it up as it is after a night's rest in the refrigerator is not as appealing as when it was freshly baked.

I have some leftover bell peppers too, and some celery stalks in my fridge. And from my pantry basket, some Russet potatoes and red onions. And I knew just what to do with the leftover meatloaf, it is going into a stir-fry dish! I sometimes cook a similar dish just like this one, with luncheon meat, chopped onions, and always with chopped potatoes, sometimes with bell peppers or fresh red or green chillies, depending what I have, and with some sprinkling of red pepper flakes when I want it to be a little spicy. This time I'm cooking the dish with leftover meatloaf and some veggies which I wanted to clear.

This is an easy dish to cook. Firstly, the chopped potatoes are fried in a little oil until browned and cooked. Remove and set aside. Then the onions are sauteed for a minute or two, followed by the pieces of meatloaf, breaking up the meatloaf into small chunks as you fry, stirring frequently until the meatloaf turns lightly brown, which takes about 5 minutes or so. Chopped celery are added in, stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, then followed by the chopped bell peppers and the pre-fried potatoes. Stir everything to combine, season with salt to taste and a generous sprinkling of coarse black pepper (or red pepper flakes). Continue to stir-fry for a further 2 minutes until the bell pepper are cooked but still maintain their lovely crunch. Dish out and serve!

A simple and delicious way of using up those leftover meatloafs. And a great way of using any leftovers veggies in your fridge. Instead of leftover meatloaf, you can cook this with crispy fried dried anchovies, really good with plain congee or rice.

This is really yummy! The family finished this whole bowl, there's no leftovers!!  :)

Leftover Meatloaf Stir-Fry
(by kitchen flavours)
2 thick slices leftover meatloaf (or 1 whole can luncheon meat, chopped)
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 medium stalk celery, chopped, (including the leaves, if any)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium Russet potaotes, peeled and cut to 1/4" dices
salt and black pepper to taste
red pepper flakes (optional)

  1. Heat a few tablespoons of oil, fry chopped potatoes, stirring now and then until they are brown all over and cooked through. Remove to a plate, set aside. 
  2. Remove excess oil from the saucepan, leaving behind about 1 tablespoon. Saute the chopped onions for a minute or two, add in the leftover meatloaf (or luncheon meat), breaking the meatloaf into pieces, cooked for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until meatloaf pieces turn brown.
  3. Add in the chopped celery stalks, stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, add in the chopped bell pepper and the pre-fried potatoes. Stir everything to combine, and fry for another 2 minutes. Season with some salt and black pepper to taste, and for a spicier kick, sprinkle some red pepper flakes to taste. Dish up and serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

THB : Chocolate Angel Cake

This week at The Home Bakers (THB), our Bake #38, is Chocolate Angel Cake, selected by Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids. I am not a fan of sponge or angel cakes that has no oil in the ingredients, and the ones I've tried so far, here and here, are somehow too dry to my liking. So when I make this cake, I do not expect much from it, other than it's soft and dry airy texture. But I was pleasantly surprised that this cake is not as dry as I expected it to be.

I made half a recipe and baked in an 8-1/2" chiffon pan with feet, for 40 minutes. This cake uses only egg whites, with no oil or butter, with 2 teaspoons of water and uses cake flour for a lighter texture. The only changes I've made is to reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup (original amount for half a recipe is 1 cup), and the sweetness is just right. This cake uses some instant coffee powder and cocoa powder, which gives it a very nice choco-coffee mocha taste. While the cake is baking in the oven, the whole kitchen smells of coffee and vanilla!

It rises really well, the texture is soft, light, spongy and airy. And with a little moistness without any dryness at all, which is a plus in my books!

Really nice cake to eat on its own, but since I've expected this cake to have a dry texture in the first place, I have reheated some homemade chocolate sauce to eat with the cake, just before I sliced the cake for a "taste-test".

Half the cake was gone last night, we had slices of it with some chocolate sauce spooned over.
And am enjoying a slice now, without the chocolate sauce, it is good enough on its own, for my breakfast, with a cup of coffee.

For the full recipe and instructions, please visit the host of this bake, Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids. To view other members' bake, please visit The Home Bakers (THB).

Welcome to The Home Bakers

We are a group of home bakers who are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas. This is our bake no. 38 and we have 22 recipes more to go. If you are interested to be a member and join in our bakes, you may drop me an email at


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