Friday, February 15, 2008

Egg Sponge Cakes Recipe

The tag which I tied to all the containers of pineapple tarts I made this year.

Pineapple tarts being cooled on a wire rack.

Each tart placed in a brown paper case, then packed in containers.

A folded white paper dollie

Containers of pineapple tarts with festive tags.

I haven’t updated my blog in quite a while because I’d been doing a lot of baking for the New Year as well as finishing up the final touches to the Gorgeous Cupcakes book. Wow!! Chinese New Year is finally here! It REALLY is the season to bake and bake. I made several containers of pineapple tarts to give away to family and friends. I did not make any to sell this year partly because I did not have time. The other reason is that I wanted to ‘reclaim’ the joy of baking. Baking to sell is somehow different from baking to give away. To bake so many containers of pineapple tarts is really hard work. And I enjoy it so much more when I bake to give away. I even made little new year tags to go with the containers. Makes them look more festive!

paper cases for storing pineapple tarts

I still have some pineapple filling left in the freezer and it’s beckoning me to bake more!
I took a video of my pineapple filling cooking. Here, I’m cooking 12 pineapples.

Today, I’m doing an experiment to find out which baking pans are best to bake sponge cakes in. The four pans I’m using today are: the traditional kueh baulu mould, the dark-coloured pan, light-coloured pan and a dome-shaped pan. All the pans were greased with sunflower cooking oil.

Traditional kueh baulu mould
You can buy this traditional mould from baking ingredient stores like Gim Hin Lee and Sun Lik. This mould is a little on the heavy side. It’s not your average lightweight baking pan. It takes some time to be heated up. That is why it has to be placed in the oven to be preheated before the cake mixture is poured in.

heart-shaped dark non-stick baking pan

teddy-shaped light-coloured non-stick baking pan

Baking pan with dome-shaped moulds. Picture taken from 'Delicious Asian Sweet Treats' cookbook. All rights reserved.

The heart-shaped, teddy-shaped and dome-shaped pans do not need preheating since hey are the lightweight type.

Let’s talk about the ingredients first.
Eggs: This is the main ingredient. If you are worried about your cholesterol level, it’s best to use lower cholesterol eggs. The eggs I use are the medium sized ones – widely available in all supermarkets. Each egg weighs about 50 to 60g. When beating the eggs with the other ingredients, it’s really important that you beat the mixture till it’s super thick and creamy (3 minutes or more). I do not use baking powder here because I try not to add chemicals to my baked food wherever possible. Since this ingredient is omitted, the sponge cakes depend on trapped air (in the beaten eggs) to rise. So if the eggs are not well beaten, the cakes will turn out flat and squatty. To make things easier, use a standing mixer to beat the eggs. In the video, you see me beating the eggs without the ‘standing’ part because it has broken down. But my mixer still works fine and that’s why I’m keeping it around.
Vanilla Essence: I use vanilla essence here to flavour up the eggs and give the cakes a less eggy taste.
Flour: I use only 80g of flour here because I want the cakes to remain soft and less chewy. But if you prefer your cakes to have more ‘bite’, add 20g more.

Sponge Cakes
Ingredients:80g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
3 eggs (room temperature)
100g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
2 pinches salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1. Preheat oven till 200 degrees Celsius. Grease kueh baulu mould with cooking oil and ‘bake’ it for 10 minutes till hot.
2. Sift flour. Beat the first 4 ingredients in a mixer for 3 minutes at high speed. Switch to low speed and add flour. Beat till just combined. Do not overmix.
3. Take kueh mould out from the oven and pour cake mixture into the moulds till full. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Verdict: Of all the 4 baking pans, the easiest one to use is the dome-shaped one. I think the reason is its shape. I used a spoon to remove the cakes and they came off quite easily, and the look of the cakes were much neater than the others. As for the colour of the pans, it didn’t matter. The cakes from the heart-shaped pan and teddy-shaped pan weren’t easy to remove, as seen from the pictures below. The shapes of the heart and teddy bear were ‘lost’ too. For the kueh baulu mould, the first cake came out easily but subsequent ones were a nightmare to remove. I think I overbaked them. Perhaps 200 degrees Celsius for 8 minutes instead of 10.
Coconut Oil: I read somewhere that using coconut oil to grease pans will help in making the cakes easier to unmould. Perhaps I will try that the next time.

Video: Making Sponge Cakes by Oi Lin

tough to remove cakes from this pan!

clockwise from top left: heart-shaped, teddy-shaped, good baulu shape, not-so-good baulu shape!

baking pan with dome-shaped moulds yielded these lovely sponge cakes.

Questions from readers regarding baking:Question 1 :
Hi Oilin,
I have try to bake the almond sugee cookies, i have prepare the dough first then bake them at different timing because my oven is not big enough to bake all the dough. some turn out to be quite dry.. may i know what the reason? can i bake at different timing after preparing the dough?
Lastly May i know if i want to have a melt in the mouth texture, what kind of flour should i use? i use the plain flour this time but find the texture too crunchy.
hope to hear from you soon!

Yes, you can bake the cookies at different timing. That's what I do. I have a small oven and not all the cookies can squeeze in that small space to be baked all at once.
It is true that the dough may have dried up while 'waiting' to be shaped and baked. What you can do in future is to cover the dough with a damp cloth so that it does not dry up. If the dough still dries up, you can add a little ghee or egg yolk to 'save' it. What I do is I buy extra baking trays (I have 3), then shape all the dough into small balls and arrange on all the baking trays. It is easier to shape the dough when it is just prepared.
To have a melt in the mouth texture in cookies, you can try flour such as cake flour, Top flour or Hong Kong flour.

Oi Lin

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Anonymous said...

may i know what is the difference between this recipe for pineapple tarts and the one you have posted earlier on (the one in your book). Thanks.

Oi Lin said...

This recipe is simpler and uses fewer ingredients than the one in my 'Delicious Asian Sweet Treats' cookbook. The taste is about the same but the one in my cookbook is slightly richer in taste because it uses egg yolks in the pastry instead of whole eggs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Oi Lin,

I tried the pineapple tart recipe posted in your blog and I must say they really turned out very well and yummy. Thanks! One question - May I know how long the tarts can still maintain their freshness? One week? Two weeks? Thank.


Oi Lin said...

Dear Jenny, So glad to hear that the pineapple tart recipe turned out great for you! Generally, they can keep for about 2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature. But they taste best if eaten within a week. If they are kept in the fridge, they can last for many weeks.

Adiba said...

Delicious recipes!! I wanna make this in the kitchen...