Over the last few weeks, I have had some hits and misses. Actually more miss than hits.
The first miss was the Japanese Soft Cheesecake. I had wanted to bake this for the longest time but never really got round to doing it for fear of failure. I have heard so many 'horror' stories like the cake collapsing the moment it came out of the oven or even midway through baking and also the texture being very dense and heavy. Hearing all these make me nervous to even attempt it until two weeks ago. I was so careful to follow the recipe to the T (or so I thought). After popping the cake into the oven, I started to clear the tabletop and lo and behold, tucked behind the jar of sugar was the little plastic bag of cornstarch that I had measured out but forgotten to add to the batter. For a second or two, I was debating whether to just leave the cake as it was or to remove the pan and dump everything into the bin. What the heck! I then decided to just pour the batter back into the mixer and give it a quick whisk with the cornstarch. By then, the egg white which I had so nicely whisked up were all deflated. I just poured the batter back into the pan, slam the oven door shut and twiddle my thumbs and hope for the best.
This was how the cake #1 turned out.
Feeling extremely angry with myself, I attempted the cheesecake again the next evening. This time, fearful that I will leave some ingredients 'hidden' away, I place everything in full view.
This is cake #2.
Honestly if you asked me, I preferred the texture from cake #1 which is closer to the ones sold in the bakeries. Cake #2 was way too light and it felt too 'airy' in the mouth.
The second miss was the Hongkong Smiling Paus. Recently two bloggers had tried with great success the recipe posted by me in 2006 at a cooking forum. Their positive feedback to me prompted me to make some myself. It turned out a disaster. I had failed my own recipe. The Paus did not 'smile' at all. In fact they were rather dismal looking. Fortunately, I had only wrapped and filled six paus and then to do a test steaming. I threw away the rest of the dough as I did not want to waste the beautiful char siew fillings on the sad looking paus.
An hour later (and still feeling angry), I mix up a batch of oil and water dough to make the baked Siew Paus. They were terribly difficult to wrap. Despite being careful not let any of the fillings come into contact with the sealing edges of the pau skin, the shaped paus kept popping open the moment I put them on the baking tray. I managed only a few nice ones. I placed those that insisted on popping open into disposable muffin cups to bake.
Ugly looks aside, they were really good. The skin was crispy yet melt-in-the mouth and the fillings juicy.
The only hit I had was this Semolina Cake with Honey Citrus Syrup. Semolina cakes are known to be quite dry. However, this cake is really good. Honey, lemon and blood orange juice is boiled till syrupy. This is then drenched over the cake the moment it came out of the oven. The syrup helps to keep the cake moist without being soggy.
Semolina Cake with Honey Citrus Syrup topped with dried figs.