Monday 12 May 2014

Hidden Bears Honey Matcha Chiffon Cake (Steam Bake Method)

Guess who's hiding in the woods? A bunch of bears!

I was so impressed with Susanne's steam baked honey matcha chiffon cake that I wanted to try it out too. I took the chance to try out another way of making hidden chiffon cakes to see if it is an improvement from the way we used to make.

I baked a vanilla chiffon cake for the hidden bears instead of the usual flat layer cake to minimize the gaps between the hidden slices. Be warned that this is a very time consuming bake so you may want to split the work over two days. Keep the cake that is works-in-progress in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.

Black and white vanilla chiffon (15cm chiffon tin)
1 egg yolk
10g caster sugar
23g canola oil
36g milk
1tsp Vanilla essence
40g cake flour
1/4 heaped tsp charcoal
White gel food coloring (optional)

3 egg whites
30g caster sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius with tray of water at bottom rack of oven.
2. Beat egg yolk and sugar until pale yellow. Stir in oil, milk and vanilla essence. Gradually add in sifted cake flour and whisk until no trace of flour can be seen.
3. Divide the egg yolk batter into ratio of 1:2 for black:white batter. Add charcoal to the batter for black color and white food coloring for white color.
4. Prepare the meringue. Beat egg whites until foamy and add cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form and gradually add in sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
5. Add in 1/3 of meringue into each of the batters and mix well. Gently but quickly fold in the rest of the meringue in two additions. Tap the mixing bowls to release trapped air.
6. Pour the black batter into the chiffon tin slowly and level it with a spatula. Pour white batter over black batter. Bake for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 150 degrees Celsius and bake for another 20 minutes.
7. Immediately overturn to cool and remove from tin by running a thin spatula around the sides and bottom of the tin. I used to love unmoulding by hand but for really soft cakes using a spatula may be better.
8. Cut the cake (as though you are going to serve it) into thick slices. Use a bear shaped cutter to cut out the white bear heads. Use a short length of straw to cut out the eyes and nose.  You may find it helpful to use a paper template to mark out the positions of the eyes and nose. Use the straw to cut out black circles to stuff into the white bear head to form the face. Repeat for all slices of cake.

9. Proceed to prepare batter for matcha cake. I used Susanne's recipe so I won't be typing it out here. I just halved the recipe accordingly to 2 yolks and 3 whites. I just portioned out 1tsp of egg yolk batter for each color, brown and green to make the trees. I  steam baked those in silicone ice cube trays for about 20minutes at 150 degrees Celsius. About 3 tbs of meringue was used for each of the colored batter.
10. Fill the chiffon tin with matcha batter till about 1/4 - 1/3 full. Place the bear heads upside down in a tight ring. Carefully spoon the batter around the sides of the bears and then over the bears to cover them. Run a chopstick around the sides of the tin (inner and outer sides) to ensure there are no trapped bubbles. Tapping the tin may shift the bears.
11. Steam bake the cake at 150 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes. Overturn immediately to cool. Unmould when cooled completely.

12. Shape the little green and brown cakes into tree shapes using round cookie cutter and stick them into the chiffon cake with toothpicks to make a little forest.
13. Cut the cake and enjoy :).

I gave some away to neighbors and they said that the cake is really cute and nice. I found the soft texture much better than my hidden ladybugs bake although slightly drier than some of my super moist chiffon bakes (even without steam baking). This could be due to the longer exposure of parts when cutting out the bears.

With love,
Phay Shing

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