Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Paper-wrapped Sponge Cake

My parents and I share a love for Chinese pastries. Any chance we get, we would stop at a Chinese bakery after a dim sum lunch to pick up pastries for our weekday morning snacks. At a Chinese bakery, you can purchase a plethora of savory, sweet, meat-filled or paste-filled buns, breads and tarts. If you've never been to one in your local Chinatown, I strongly suggest you find one! I guarantee you you will find a pastry that you will love. 

My mom and I share a favorite pastry - the sponge cake that is wrapped in paper - that is the literal translation of the pastry. Mom loves this pastry because of it's cake-like texture that isn't too sweet - yes, my mom doesn't like a lot of sweet things. Light and airy, this pastry is heaven and so much better than angel food cake and my mom would agree! To achieve this pastry, you need to bake them in tall paper cups that are lined with parchment paper. The height of these cakes help with the airy texture, so don't use your muffin tin.  This pastry is best when made fresh because the cake often dries out unless the sponge cake is kept wrapped with the paper. Try this with a cup of Hong Kong style tea!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monkey Bread Muffins

Hello fellow bakers! Happy new year!

I was just reminded by Siddharth that I haven't contributed much to our blog. My apologies and to make up for it, I have compiled a few recipes that I have tried since the holiday season.

My first recipe I tried is monkey bread with apples and cinnamon. I've made this before for Siddharth, thinking he's never had it, but to my surprise, he told me this is a pretty common baked good he had in elementary school. Monkey bread does not have bananas (that was my first guess) but it is simply sticky bread. Some say the etymology of monkey bread comes from the fact that the bread looks like monkey puzzle tree while others say that peeling the pieces of the monkey bread resembles monkey behavior. Who knows, who cares, right? This is a great, fast recipe that will give your guests something to munch on in place of coffee cakes and fruit muffins. This recipe calls for a can of prepared can of biscuits, cinnamon, sugar, butter and apples. I used Pillsbury's Grands Homestyle buttermilk biscuit dough and modified the recipe by Pillsbury to make muffins.