Vegetarian Matcha Almond Muffins (绿茶杏仁小松饼)

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INTRODUCTION

If you like Japanese green tea – Matcha, you will like this muffin. This recipe is an eggless, butter less and milk less recipe specially designed for vegetarians

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It is a pure, aromatic matcha flavour muffin and  the fragrance was not masked by butter and eggs. However, if you want to have eggs and butter fragrance, feel free to use my other earlier muffin recipes and add 1-2 tablespoons of matcha powder. Then the matcha flavour will not be that distinct.

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I have to be frank that I am not happy with the colour inside the muffins. After baking, it turned slight brownish and I am puzzle why some of the images in the internet appeared to be bright green!

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Out of curiosity, I prepared another batch of muffins with a slight twist of adding 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Yes, the outcome is encouraging with a green interior.  It somehow “confirm” my suspicion that without green colouring in the recipe, acidic medium like lemon juice or vinegar may be able to inhibit the oxidation of green tea and prevent colour changes. However, this shall not be construed as a confirmation since the experiment was not done in a scientific manner.

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In this recipe, I have adjusted to add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice or vinegar to the batter and I hope that the final colour are greener than what is in my illustration here. Some may be wondering about whether the taste will blend! Surprising, the vinegar flavour is not distinct at all. It remain the same flavour as the first batch.

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The muffins are healthier, definitely edible. For those who prefer a stronger flavour, you can add additional 1/2 tablespoon more of matcha powder but I have to caution that adding too much matcha powder may make the muffins bitter.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepared 5-6 cupcake size muffins

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  • 200 grams of self raising flour
  • 135 grams of sugar
  • 50 grams of almond flakes or almond nibs
  • 75 grams of cooking oil
  • 100 grams of plain water
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons of matcha green tea powder
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat oven to 170 degree Celsius.

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  • Shift the flour, baking soda and green tea powder in a mixing bowl. Add all other dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre. Add in the cooking oil and water in 3 stages. Use a knife or fork to lightly mix it. Slight lump is acceptable. Transfer to the cupcake cups and bake in the pre-heated oven of 170 degrees for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Note that timing will very much depends on the size of your muffins. Final test is the skewer test. To avoid browning too fast, placed the muffins at the lowest rack of the oven.

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CONCLUSION

I have to be frank with you that today, I have in fact prepared 3 batches of muffins. The first batch is with milk, eggs and butters. However, I am unhappy with the interior colour and the weak matcha flavour, I have decided to prepare the second batch. For the second batch, I have transformed it to a vegetarian version of excluding eggs, butter and milk in the muffins. The taste is okay but the interior is slightly brownish that make me try to make the third batch by adding some vinegar to the batter. Yes the third batch meet my expectations, both in terms of colour, texture and taste. The headache I have now is my house is full of muffins now… to be exact, 18 muffins but none shall be thrown away……

Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Another One Number Baking Ratio Adventures (7).. Sugee Almond Cake

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UPDATED POST ON 4-11-2014

I have not bake this cake for almost one year and start to crave for this cake with unique texture.. I told my friends, I loved this cake, not a bit but a lot. It is slightly chewy and it is not as oily as those normal butter cake. I have decided to change my recipe to substitute plain flour with almond flour or almond meal. Therefore, this cake have no plain flour. Depending on the type of semolina flour that you used, if it is a product from buckwheat, this cake can be considered as gluten free.. If the semolina flour is produced from durum wheat, it will not be gluten free.

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I also did not use baking powder for this cake, purely leavened by eggs . I love the dense and chewy unique texture. It is a cake good for festivals and you can use this as a festival cake by gradually infusing alcohol to enhance the moistness and flavour.. For kids consumption, I did not do intend to add in any alcoholic drink..

Please scroll down for the new Recipe 2 (without plain flour version).

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INTRODUCTION

In Singapore, usually one package of semolina flour will weigh 500 g and costs less than SGD2 depending on the brands. However, being a Chinese, there are not many cuisines that use semolina flour as the ingredients. I have issued a post of Indian Short Bread Cookies – Nan Khatai that uses semolina flour and ghee, it was quite well received and a number of readers who tried the recipes still have lots of semolina flour left. They are asking what shall they do with the semolina flour? That recipe only called for 50 grams of semolina flour and effectively, they still have 45o grams of semolina flour left in their kitchen shelf. I have promised those readers that I will provide a recipe of SUGEE ALMOND CAKE, a traditional Malaysian Singaporean Eurasian festival cake that also uses semolina flour …

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SUGEE CAKES DEFINED

Rather surprisingly, Sugee cake is included in Wikipedia’s explanation of Singapore’s cuisines, it was written:

“Sugee cake, a soft cake made with semolina flour and a high concentration of egg yolks; served in Eurasian, Malay, and Chinese cuisine.” (Source: Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singaporean_cuisine)

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Sugee cake is traditionally treated as a festival cake usually served in Kristang families both as a happy occasion cake (Christmas, birthdays, weddings) and sombre occasion such as funerals.  In fact, it is also a type of cake for the Christmas. Kristang are local Portuguese descendent Eurasians in Singapore and West Malaysia. The popularity of this cake however has extended to other races such as Chinese, Malay and Indian households.

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Effectively, this is a type of butter cakes made using semolina flour and large quantity of egg yolks. It had a special texture, a big chewy and unlike cakes that uses the normal flour, it is denser. Though dense, it is easy to down the throat and in fact, both my wife and me have concurred that it is another way of appreciating the butter cake. Chewy, buttery, aromatic and moist.

There are many recipes of sugee cakes in the internet, some called for pan frying the semolina flour or soaking of semolina flour in butter, some called for use of brandy or other fruits alcohol, some used less eggs and some used lot of egg yolks.. However, I have adapted the recipe from http://sg.theasianparent.com/sugee-cake-recipe-award-winning/.

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Since this recipe do not vary very much from my proposed “one baking number ratio”, I have made slight modifications so that it conform with my believes of using just one number in preparing the ingredients. If you are interested to read more about my “one number baking ratio” adventures, you can refer to the following posts – Basic Pound Cake, Peanut Butter Muffins, Fruits Dates Cakes, Zebra Patterned Pound Cake and Grapefruit Cognac Pound Cake. 

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RECIPE 1 (PLAIN FOUR VERSION) – please scroll down for recipe 2 (without plain flour version)

WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted  from:  AWARD WINNING SUGEE CAKE RECIPE from http;//sg.theasianparent.com

Make an 8’ square baking tin

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  • 250 grams of semolina flour

  • 250 grams of plain flour (sift and set aside)

  • 250 grams of castor sugar

  • 250 grams of butter (at room temperature)

  • 250 grams of eggs (use 6 eggs – see calculation below) – separated into egg yolks and egg whites)

  • 250 grams of milk or less subject to eggs volume  (balancing – see calculation below)

  • half cups of grounded almond

  • 3 teaspoons of baking power (sift together with plain flour and set aside)

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence OR 1-2 teaspoons of brandy or whisky

Calculation of milks required based actual weight of this illustration:

In this illustration, 6 eggs weighed about 318 grams 

Milk volume = 250 g of milk – Excess volume of eggs = 250 g  – (318g – 250g) = 182 g of milk

Alternatively, you can use 6 eggs and 120ml of milk as in the original recipes. This recipe have about 60 g more milk which it moister.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation

  • Pre-heat oven to 150 degree Celsius

  • Line a 8” square baking tin with parchment paper


Preparing the meringue (Beating of egg whites)

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  • In a big mixing bowl, place your egg whites and beat using the machine whisk to whisk the egg whites until firm peak. Note that the bowl have to be extremely clean, dry and free of any oils.

  • When the volume expands, add in about 5 tablespoons of sugar gradually, beat until thick and glossy and until all the sugars dissolved. Spoon the filling into a clean bowl and set aside for later use.

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Preparing the batters and folding of flours

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  • Change your whisk to a K beater (look at the second picture for the shape). Place your remaining sugar and butter, beat until light and creamy. Add in the vanilla essence and eggs yolks and use slow speed to “mix” until well mixed. Eggs yolk should be added one by one and scrap the bottom of the bowl to ensure no unmixed egg yolk settled at the bottom of the mixing bowl.

  • Once well mixed, put 1/3 of plain flours, semolina flours, ground almonds and fresh milk and use the slowest speed to let it “stir” for 2-3 cycles.

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  • Repeat the same for the remaining two third dry ingredients and milks. Once well mixed, take the mixing bowl out.

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Folding of egg whites

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  • Once well mixed, use a big spoon or spatula and  fold in the egg white swiftly and lightly until the batter are smooth.

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Baking the Cake

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  • Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for the first 15 minutes and turn down the temperature to 150 degree Celsius for the remaining 45-60 minutes or when the skewer inserted come out clean. When you note signs of burnt, just use some metal to cover the cake tin.

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Recipe 2 (Without Plain Flour Version)

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  • 250 grams of melted butter
  • 250 grams of semolina flour
  • 250 grams of almond meal or almond flour
  • 250 grams of castor sugar
  • 50 grams of milk (optional)
  • 6 eggs (separated into egg white and egg yolks)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of brandy or whisky (optional)


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Mixed the semolina flour with the melted butter. Let it soaked for at least 4 hours .

  • Pre-heat the oven to 150 degree Celsius.

  • In a whisking bowl, whisk the sugar (leave 2 tablespoons for egg white) and egg yolk until light and pale. Add the brandy, milk, soaked semolina flour followed by almond meal. Stir until well combine and resemble a sticky paste.

  • Beat the egg white until soft peak with the 2 tablespoons of sugar.

  • Fold the egg white to the thick yolk batter in 3 phases. Transfer the batter to a greased 8” inches square tin and bake in the pre-heated oven of 150 degree Celsius for about 45 minutes or when a skewer inserted comes out clean.

  • Best serve after resting one night as the cake will start to get moister. If preferred, can further infuse more alcohol and can be used as a festival cake.

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CONCLUSION

As it is a very dense cake (about 1.8 kg), a crack may be inevitable… Some international members have commented that a crack signifies that it is a “cake” with character…. It is such a consolation statement to me. The crack do become smaller after 8 hours of resting. Personally, to me that is rather irrelevant to me since the cake is very tasty. It is moist because semolina can better absorb more liquids and butters than plain flour. It goes well with icing or cream or just plain with  a cup of coffee.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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I Am Short Of Time And Craved For A Cookie.. So I Made..–Microwave Cookies

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INTRODUCTION

Previously, I have a post on Microwave Mug Cake and yesterday when I browsed through the internet, a recipe in this Facebook Page – I love showing my personality in my cooking, caught my attention. I have always loved this Facebook Page because of its simple, unusual and daring recipes. In his/her post FOR THOSE DAYS WHEN YOU JUST WANT TO MAKE ONE COOKIE!, the Page owner was using microwave to prepare some cookies. Analysing at the ingredients, I was amazed how simple were the ingredients. Looking at the number of Likes in the post, at that time, there were 110 Likes and 736 re-shares. I thought I might as well give it a try.

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This morning, I am toying with his/her recipes. I started to try the original recipe and followed by additional recipes modified by me including 2 eggless recipes. Prior to this, I do know there are some eggless cookies recipes and I thought I might as well try to make these eggless cookies using microwave. My previous post of Eggless, Butter Less and Milk Less Cup Cakes was quite well received and I believed there will be some readers who are interested in microwave eggless cookies too.

Altogether, I have prepared 5 cookies:

  1. Butter Cookies with Caramel Chocolate Chips – As per the original recipe except substitute chocolate chips with caramel chocolate chips;
  2. Chocolate Cookies with Almond Chunks
  3. Eggless Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices
  4. Eggless Blueberry Cookies with Fresh blueberries
  5. Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices

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For eggless cookies, the eggs were substituted with equivalent volumes of strawberry milks or fresh milks. For this post, I will only list out the recipe of the  first cookie and highlight the changes in ingredients for the other cookies.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: FOR THOSE DAYS WHEN YOU JUST WANT TO MAKE ONE COOKIE by I love showing my personality in my cooking

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  • 1/4 cup of plain flour

  • 1 tablespoon of butter (melted)

  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons of caramel chocolate chips (optional)

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

  • Pinches of salt

STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a bowl with melted butter, add in white and brown sugars, stir until well mixed. Add in egg yolks and followed by plain flour. Stir until combined and followed by addition of caramel chocolate chips.

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  • Place the cookie batter in the lightly greased  microwavable plate or bowl. Microwave 45-60 seconds or until the centre of the batter is set.

NOTE:

Just like ovens, every microwave oven will have some differences in terms of heat released. Like the microwave oven I have in my house, it is a very simple basic microwave oven with no function to adjust the heat. As such, you can start using medium heat (if there is any) and see how is the result. If at the end of 60 seconds, the cookie still does not look set, add additional 10-20 seconds to the cooking time. It is considered as cooked when the centre of the cookie is set or not runny.

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CHANGES IN OTHER COOKIES’ RECIPES

For other cookies, the changes are as follows:

  • Chocolate Cookies with Almond Chunks – Addition of 1 teaspoon of chocolate powder to the batter and replace chocolate chips with almond chunks; 
  • Eggless Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices – Replacement of egg yolk with 20 grams of strawberry milks and substituting chocolate chips with one fresh strawberry (cut in slices)

  • Eggless Blueberry Cookies with Fresh blueberries – Replacement of egg yolk with 20 grams of  fresh milks and replacing chocolate chips with 10 fresh blueberries (mashed)

  • Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices – Replacement of almond chunks with one fresh strawberries (cut in slices).


OUTCOME OF THE EXPERIMENTS

Butter Cookies with Caramel Chocolate Chips 

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The texture of the cookie is definitely satisfactory. It is rather light and a chewy type of cookie. It is quite fragile and if you view the original website, you will see that the Page Owner is using a fork to eat the cookie. However, given adequate time to cool, the cookie can be cut into neat pieces and definitely worth a try.

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Chocolate Cookies with Almond Chunks

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As expected, since it is a change of dry ingredients (from chocolate chips to almond chunks) and addition of chocolate powder, the texture is the same as the first cookie. Definitely recommendable even though it is not as crispy as the traditional cookie.

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Eggless Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices

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Well, for this cookie, there was a rather major modification to the ingredients. So, what is the impact of the substitution of egg yolk with strawberry milks and the addition of freshly cut strawberry slices to the cookie? As expected, as there is no egg, it become a very dense “cookie” or “cake” if you  want to call it.

As I have explained earlier in my Eggless, Butter Less and Milk Less Cup Cakes post, eggs have the role to support the structure of any baked products. Without eggs, the rise of any baked products (cookies included) will have to be solely depend on the leavening agents (baking soda or baking powders).

Since we are using plain flour (without any baking soda or baking powders), will the cookies rise? The answer is quite certain, NO.

How about if we substitute the plain flour with self raising flours? It may or may not since the milk have much more moisture content than the eggs and it may not be able to support the flours.

Taste wise, it is acceptable. It is moist and full of strawberry flavour. Having one full cookie with some strawberry ice cream will definitely be welcomed by your guest…For Asian taste, this resembles a steamed dense cake..

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Eggless Blueberry Cookies with Fresh blueberries

 

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I then continued my adventure with the blueberry cookie by substituting the yolk with fresh milk and addition of blueberries. The outcome is the same as the eggless strawberry cookie, dense but chewy and edible.

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Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Slices 

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Looking at the dense eggless “cookie” that I have made, I have decided to revert back to the usage of yolk in the cookies. For this cookie,  I have only substituted the chocolate chips with one strawberry fresh slices.

The texture is slightly better than the eggless cookies but it is too moist. The reason was simple, the juices from the fresh strawberry slices have negate part of the structure supporting effects of eggs  in the cookie.  If strawberry is to be added, I personally think that some baking powder and more flour will be needed to make it less dense.

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CONCLUSION

Depending on individual tastes, I would strongly recommended making the first two cookies (butter cookie with caramel chocolate chips and chocolate cookie with almond chunks). These two cookies are very delicious and light. However, if you do not mind to have dense “cookies”, you can try eggless strawberries and blueberries cookies. It was moist and very tasty.

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Hope you like my adventure today and do take a step out to prepare this one minute cookie for yourself or share with your family members. Is it not baking and cooking is fun with endless possibilities to try?

Have a nice day and cheers.

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How About An Eggless, Butter Less, Milk Less Chocolate Almond Cup Cakes?

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UPDATED POST ON 5-11-2014

I will include in this post another recipe that I have developed this morning, it is gluten free, dairy free, egg less and fatless. It is a rather healthy moist and aromatic snack.  I hope this post will benefit those who are on a certain diet.

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It is the same recipe for both cookies and cupcakes. For cookies just make it in smaller size and bake slightly longer.. It can be crispy or chewy. It will not be as crispy as those using flour.

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Taste wise is satisfactory. You can imagine taking some almond meal, add some cocoa powder, water and sugar.. It is definitely acceptable to most. Please scroll down for the second recipe.

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INTRODUCTION

Seriously, when I looked at the recipe, I was curious how it would turn out to be. When I prepared the batter and baking, I am even more doubtful about its outcome.. I did not have any picture to compare and I did not know whether what I have prepared and baked was correct or not. Not until I took the first bite this morning that I am confident to issue this post…

This is an eggless, butter less and milk less cup cake that I have adapted from a 2003 recipe. I have printed out this recipe as early as year 2005 when I just started to have interest in doing some baking. Then, I have been cracking my head to look for recipes that were suitable for niche markets like health conscious people or people that are less fortunate like diabetes . While flipping my recipe file yesterday, I saw this piece of printed paper and I thought I might wanted to give it a try.

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While I am writing this post, I try searching this recipe in All Recipes Cake Recipes website, I am rather happy that the recipe is still there but with no picture, that proves that it is a very old recipe. The recipe was submitted by Ms. Kathy Thurston and some body named Ms. Bernadette Beaupre had gave some explanation of this cake:

“This cake comes in handy when all you have left in the cupboard is the tin soups just before shopping day. It really was a treat served warm when we came in from the cold. And it was c-o-l-l-l-d-d-d, North of 53′. Sprinkle brown sugar or dust confectioner’s sugar over the top.” — Bernadette Beaupre (Source: All Recipes Cake Recipes website,)

Since it is an eggless, butter less and milk less, what should be the structure liked. If you looked at the recipe in detail in later part of the post, you will note that there are some shortening and water. Butter less can be substituted with cooking oil or vegetable shortening (as in this recipe) and milk less can be substituted with any liquids (be it eggs or water). Therefore, the crucial element that determine the outcome of the cup cake will be eggs.

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Eggs have the role of supporting the structure of the cup cake or in general any baked products. They are binder which help to hold the ingredients together. In addition, it contributed to the liquid component in a cake recipe. Therefore, it is expected that without eggs, the cake will be dense and the rising of the cake will depend entirely with the leavening agents such as baking powder and baking soda. 

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I am worry about whether the dense cake will be dry and difficult to swallow. The conclusion is not, as the recipe have minimal vegetable shortenings and some liquids which is adequate to make the cake moist.

In this recipe, I have increased the amount of water, addition of cocoa powder and some almonds chunks. The final baked products were well beyond my expectations and I concurred it was some form of good snacks. As I was experimenting with this recipe, I have reduced the volumes and managed to make 4 small cup cakes. As with any other cakes, serving with additional sauces and whipped cream will heighten the palate to another level.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipes adapted from: Eggless, Butter less and Milk less Recipe by Kathy Thurston (make 8 cup cakes)

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  • 2 cups plain four

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1 cup almond chunks

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius and get ready some cup cake moulds.

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  • In a sauce pan under medium heat, bring  the vegetable shortenings, water and sugar to boil and continue boiling for about 2 minutes.

  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda together into the liquid.

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  • Use a spatula to stir the batter until it is well mixed.

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  • Stir in the almond chunks and ensure it is well mixed.

  • Scoop into the paper cups for cup cakes and baked in the oven for about 20 minutes or when the skewer inserted come out clean.

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CONCLUSION

This is a rather unusual cake. So who should prepare this? In fact this cake is very suitable for people who are vegetarian in accordance with Buddhist principles.

In my circle of friends, I have a few friends who are vegetarians. However, though all are  vegetarians, there are certain ingredients that fell into “grey area” and subject to arguments.

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One of the ingredients is eggs. Some of my vegetarian friends do not eat eggs as they believed there may be an embryo attached to the eggs. However, other Buddhist vegetarians believed that current eggs are commercially “produced”, therefore , it is impossible to have any embryos in the eggs.  Even if you hatch the eggs, no chicks will be born,

Another two special ingredients are two diary products, milks and butters. Some vegetarian will not touch any food “produced” by an animals, therefore milks and butters were excluded in their diets. Whereas some choose to believe that as there is no need to kill a cow to get milks and butters, therefore, these can be included in the vegetarian diets.

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These belies have an impact in pastry terms. Every year, when I baked my pineapple tarts for my relatives and friends, I will have to bake two types, the normal with milk, eggs and butter and another version, which is rather hard to prepare that is eggless, milk less and butter less! Of course the onus will lie on me to find relevant substitute for the ingredients.

Hope you like this rather strange post today. But, I have to admit that looking at the picture, you may not be convinced until you take a bite of it. Have a nice day and cheers.

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RECIPE 2 – GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, EGG LESS AND FATLESS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE AND COOKIES

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

  • 1 cup of almond meal or almond flour
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degree Celsius
  • Mix all the ingredients above until well combined
  • Transfer to cup cakes cup .
  • Baked in the pre-heated oven at 160 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean

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  • For cookies, add about 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder to the batter, bake at 160 degree Celsius for about 20 minutes. Let it sit in the tray for 5 minutes before transfer to the rack for cooling. If you want it to be crispier, can extend baking time by another 5-10 minutes.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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