Today’s guest is very close to my heart. I came across Arfi of HomemadeS through a food photography event and since then I am hooked to her blog…I like the light play in her pictures and I have been fan of her photography skills….She has even done a food photography and styling post on my blog called ‘Paint with Lights‘….I am always amazed by the energy she carries…she has home grown farm where she farms organic vegetables and fruits….she blogs, she writes and shoots for magazines, an active member in so many Indonesian blog events….beautiful mom of three and amazing friend…who never says ‘no’ to me….Thank you Arfi for the love and post….Over to you Arfi…
“…fasting seems to have been reinvented as the ancients saw it-a way of giving the body a rest, cleansing both physically and spiritually, and a way of strengthening our collective sense of self-restrain.” (Arifa Akbar; www.independent.co.uk)
There is always many pinned points gained from fasting in Ramadan. Apart from strengthening faith, observing one of five pillars of Islam, improving our worshiping religiously of Allah, it is often as a tool to unite families. Those who live overseas or other regions in one nation will come back to the homeland, to be with the atomic or extended family and celebrate Ramadan in togetherness, sharing the joy. Those who think they have not been caring enough to an old mother will be changing to a new role of a rather hopeful son/daughter. It seems things are going to the positive direction, just like what we all want, isn’t it?
Although, there are things like poverty still lingered in any parts of the world, it is in Ramadan to be the time for us to be reminded that they have the share, since it is the month of charity. Being hungry and thirsty at daytime isn’t arduos at all as we see it as a compassion towards Allah, the Almighty, let alone sharing with the poors.
Ramadan this year is a bit different for me, as my two older children have started to observe it and have become more aware of their religious faith. Waking up at night is always a fun way, as alarm clocks are just ringing in every bedroom followed by rustling feet towards the kitchen and the question of “What’s for Suhoor?”
There are always traditional sugary kicks to start breaking fasting each day, which is perhaps the most favourite thing for them to enjoy during Ramadan, the thing that most kids love. I did that too when I was a kid. I just loved the cooking smell from the kitchen, which is the mixture of fragrant pandan leaves, sweet smell of palm sugar, and the creamy coconut milk, prepared for iftar. Same thing that happens in my kitchen during Ramadan, now that my children delightfully await each iftar. Bubur Injin, Bubur Candil, Sanok or Kolak, Klepon, to name a few. There is also Ketan Serundeng or Martabak Telur for savoury options, and Bakpia for something rather delicate. There are many more Indonesian sweets and savoury you can find on my blog, if you’d like to dig in further. I just lost count.
My habit in Ramadan is to start iftar with a glass of water and a couple of dates. I will save the bowl of sweets after Maghrib or Isya, depending on in what season Ramadan is. I refuse to have an immediate-full tummy during praying. After all, it is sunnah to eat dates for iftar, isn’t it?
I make coffee chiffon cake for my dessert after Suhoor meal this time, because I am craving for coffee. I have been a coffee lover and enjoyed espresso several times a day, but I have to cut it off before eventually stop consuming coffee after having a sickness that prevents me to drink coffee. So, that was kind of a slap, it is hurt. Since then, I just make every excuse to ‘drink’ coffee in a way I don’t drink. Cake, cookies, pudding, you name it. It satisfies me in a fashion a cup of Cappuccino does. Well, sort of.
This chiffon cake I make comes originally from Mrs. Esterlitha Suryoputro who resides in Abu Dhabi, UEA. She is a food and travel writer for a portal community in Indonesia (www.tnol.co.id/kolom/dez-balcony.html). She is also the senior member of Klub Berani Baking and also a food blogger whom recipes I love to try and taste.
This is my gluten-free version, adapted from her recipe that you can view on d’Ez Balcony. I also use walnut flour that I bought from a gourmet shop in as much as seeking the flavour to match with coffee. It turns out really good. There is smoothness of skyrocket-high sponge with its light texture that is slightly nutty. There is the icing that acclaims the whole package a compliment. French coffee buttercream tastes velvety smooth, so creamy that it decides to dance slippery in my mouth. So smooth, so creamy, yet not so overwhelming. The roasted sliced almonds gives the crunch I need to complete the satisfaction. It’s just heaven. It is what it is, or I’m just hankering. I don’t quite care, really. It just tastes fantastic!
Gluten-Free Coffee and Walnut Chiffon Cake
original recipe by Esterlitha Suryoputro, modified by Arfi Binsted
Chiffon cake is all about delicateness. So delicate, you need not to taste anything too sweet, too demanding, or even too sophisticated. Your whisking egg whites right will define the final texture of the lightness and height of the cake. The icing is your choice. I find that French buttercream is a perfect match to coat as a complement as it is light and smooth.
- 250g gluten-free flour
- 50g walnut flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 8 egg yolks
- 100ml rice bran oil
- 2 Tbs your favourite instant coffee
- 1 tsp caramel essence
- 100ml water or milk
- 50ml hot water
- 10 egg whites
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 250g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 170C. Slide the chiffon cake tin in the oven to heat up. This way, it will make your cake mixture won’t seep out of the tin. You do not need to grease and line the cake tin. The cake mixture needs to be able to cling on the sides of the cake tin to rise itself high. If you grease, line or grease and flour it, it won’t be able to rise properly and the cake will have a chance to fall when the cake tin is turned upside-down.
- Sift flours, baking powder, and baking soda together. I add a little pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Dilute instant coffee granules with 50ml hot water. Let cool.
- Put egg yolks in a large bowl, whisked loosely. Add in oil, diluted cooled coffee, 100ml water or milk and essence in. Whisk well. Add in flour. Mix well.
- Now the definite part to make your chiffon cake rise high is the correct consistency and stiffness of whisked egg whites. Always, always check your mixer bowl free from grease. I always rinse my mixer bowl and whisks with hot soapy water and dry them with paper towel just before I use them. Why paper towel? I’m dealing with cooking oil a lot of time, so I am just making sure I am not contributing a little spot of grease when I wipe my mixer bowl and whisks with it. If you are sure your tea towel is free from grease, be my guess, wipe them dry with it.
- Whisk egg whites in your clean and grease-free bowl until foamy, then add in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, or you can use cream of tartar for the same measurement. I don’t know if those two make the same principle, but I find that lemon juice will stabilize the eggwhites and define the fluffiness of it.
- Add in caster sugar a tablespoon at a time, keep whisking until soft peak. This is when you’re lifting up your whisks, your egg whites will still have a peak that holds its points down. If you underbeat or overbeat it, your egg whites will liquify back to its original form of protein and water. If you use this, it will cause the cake collapse. Try again. You need it the egg whites that holds its shape, smooth, glossy and not grainy.
- Spoon out one third of the whisked egg whites into the egg yolk mixture to break up the solidness of it. Try to mix it carefully. You don’t want to knock back the egg whites too much. We still need its volume. Add in the rest of the whisked egg whites one third at a time until it’s all used and mixed well. Make sure there is no lumps or unturned egg yolk mixture. Your mixture should be light.
- Take the hot tin out of the oven and pour in the cake mixture carefully and fill in. Smooth the surface and bake for around 45-60 minutes. I won’t open the oven door before it finished its 40-45 minutes baking time. When it springs back to touch, then your cake is ready.
- Flip your cake upside down immediately on a wire rack. If your cake tin has feet, you just need to leave it to its feet to hold upside-down. But if your cake tin hasn’t got feet, you may consider to use the tip of a bottle to help it hold upside down. My cake tin has a center a bit longer than the rim of the cake, so I just use it to balance itself upside down. Left the cake like that until it’s cool in the tin.
- Loosening the cake is another tricky thing. You need a long flat spatula to loosen the sides of the cake out of the tin. Insert the spatula on the side of the cake with your one hand, keep it vertical. With your other hand, help your cake tin to move around while your spatula is working loosening the sides of the cake with a long scrape movement.
- Let it cool completely. Serve as is or iced with your favourite icing. Decorate if you wish. I just like mine simple and easy. Have a blessed Ramadan!
You can find Arfi @ Blog.