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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes (北海道戚風蛋糕), and how to get to JB

I've had a number of emails asking me about how to go to JB, or specifically, how to get to certain baking shops in JB. As much as I love Malaysia, I must admit that public transport options in JB are pretty sucky, and taking buses to these baking shops I've listed can be quite a feat/hassle - since the bus stops are not exactly near those places (you have to walk across roads, etc) and there are no proper bus stops (you might know what I mean if you've seen Malaysian buses stop at the weirdest points on the road). I had initially wanted to list down a number of transport options to get to JB, seeing how qualified I am to do so - before my family decided to stay in Singapore, I travelled to and fro JB and Singapore every single day (yes, every day no joke) for over a decade. Whenever I tell people of how much time I took to commute every day (4 hours to and fro), people go, "Wow - how did you manage to do well in school while spending so much time traveling?" Well, I've to admit that I've no idea - even I feel amazed that I managed to find time to study and have a number of CCAs (after-school activities for those who are unfamiliar with the Singaporean love for acronyms). So yes, I am more than qualified to tell you how to get to JB. Back then, there were only a few buses plying the Singapore-JB route - meaning you had to wait really really long if there was a traffic jam. Today, so many buses - CW1, CW2, 160, 170, 950, TS2, etc ply the route and stop at so many more stops in Singapore and JB, making things much more convenient.

If you want more information on travel options to Johor Bahru (JB), do look at this Wikitravel entry on JB - it is really very informative and saves me from having to explain.

I also wanted to clarify certain misconceptions that readers might have got from the list of shops:

  1. Although some of the shops have addresses listed as 'Larkin' - these are not at the Larkin Bus Terminal that some JB-SG buses stop at. They are quite a distance away and I wouldn't advise walking there!
  2. For Ng Ming Huat, you can try taking a bus there - it is next to Crowne Hotel and relatively near to Pelangi Mall and Holiday Plaza and KSL City, but for the life of me, I have no idea which buses stop near it because I have never taken a bus there myself. 
  3. For the shop Perling Indah - it is NOT near Taman Bukit Indah at all. Taman Bukit Indah is another terminal for the buses CW3 and CW6. Perling Indah is actually in the row of shops next to Perling Mall, which is the mall that you might see when exiting the Second Link at the Taman Perling exit. Perling Indah is the second last shop and is next to a 24-hours Indian Muslim eatery Sayed. For the intrepid, you can choose to take CW3 and tell the bus driver "Perling Mall" - this will deposit you on the road across Perling Mall, after which you have to jaywalk across two two-lane road with a rather huge drain separating them. (The pedestrian crossing at one end of the road doesn't really work and I wouldn't advise you trying to cross there because most cars ignore the red light anyway, making it really dangerous to attempt crossing at the pedestrian crossing. Ironic yes?) Then, you still have to cross another small two-lane road (with little traffic) before getting to Perling Mall, then walking the width of the mall before reaching that row of shops that Perling Indah is on. Note that the Perling Mall stop does not have a bus stop, but there is a makeshift 'terminal' for the CW3 buses which head to Bukit Indah first before heading to Second Link via Bukit Indah and then terminates at Jurong East. Pretty confusing so yup - only for the courageous!  

Causeway link
Like I've mentioned previously, I seriously do not advise traveling around JB by bus - it is difficult and a waste of time. Either go by car or taxi if you wish to head to these places. I hope this helps those who have been wondering! For your information, the CW3 and CW6 I'm talking about is this bright yellow bus on the right. I have linked up the buses which head to Singapore in the hyperlink underneath.


Alright, now that I've said my piece, it's onto the post proper. I'm making Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes (北海道戚風蛋糕) today :]

I know quite a few people have raved about it, and I don't want to be a wet blanket, but this recipe really is in fact a chiffon cake recipe, albeit made into cupcakes. I actually don't get the Hokkaido in the title, but like SD - I reckon that it's probably because of the Hokkaido cream or milk used in the filling of the cupcake (which I've omitted here). And to be a bigger wet blanket, this recipe actually resembles most of the chiffon cake recipes I've seen and yes, I've also used this recipe in a chiffon cake tin and the cake turns out fine - without the falling and wrinkly top. In fact, I've actually tweaked this recipe to make it pandan flavored as well as reduced the amount of egg whites used (which is my mom's chiffon cake recipe) and it works fine. So erm, sorry but there's nothing much to rave about BUT I caveat this to say that it is still quite a good recipe, albeit a little on the not-so-sweet side (which is suitable for me but not people with sweeter preferences). It also kinda cheats on the usual chiffon recipe because baking powder is used (the real authentic/old school chiffon cake recipes (or at least my mom's) don't use baking powder), which explains the extra lift. 

Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes (北海道戚風蛋糕)
Adapted from Jessie who got it from the book 不用模型做点心
Makes 12-14 tall cupcakes 

4 egg yolks (about 80g)
70g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml fresh milk 
60ml odorless oil

135g all-purpose flour (or cake flour if you prefer)
4g (1 tsp) baking powder

6 egg whites (about 180g)
50g castor sugar

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk them together with the 70g of sugar until yolks turn a pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract, followed by the milk and oil. Whisk well to combine. 
  3. Next, sieve in the flour and baking powder, making sure to incorporate all the flour into the mixture. 
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites on high for about 30 seconds until foamy, before adding the remaining 50g of castor sugar. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks are achieved (but not overly stiff). 
  5. Take a third of the egg whites and fold it into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it. You don't need to be overly gently with this one-third portion of egg whites. Continue folding in the remaining egg whites, making sure to fold all the whites gently until you get a very pale yellow batter. Fill the cupcake liners until about 70%, making sure not to over-fill the liners as the batter will rise quite a bit before falling when cooling. 
  6. Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, or until the tops turn a golden brown and a cake skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing it onto a cooling rack to cool. The cupcakes will fall and wrinkle, but that's normal - you can top it with a dollop of cream or sieve icing sugar on it to cover the 'wrinkles' up. 

Janine's jots: 
  • Taste: As mentioned by Rima in her post, this cupcake is a little on the not-so-sweet side (perfect for me) but not so for someone look for that sugar hit. I'd definitely advise increasing the sugar amounts by at least 10% if you want something sweeter, or just top the cupcake off with a dollop of whipped cream or fill it with curd for that little something extra. 
  • Texture: It's almost as if you are 'eating clouds' actually - it is very light, (even though I used all-purpose flour and not cake flour), and each cupcake is easily consumed in three bites or less, without that 'heavy' gelat filling you get after eating a slice of pound cake. You can probably finish two or three of these at a go! Also, I prefer to bake these a little browner so that I get the 'crust' but if you want an overall soft chiffon, do bake it for a shorter time (start checking at 15 minutes), and once you get a golden color, you can remove the cupcakes! 
  • Serving size: I made about 14 cupcakes with the full recipe and 8 cupcakes with the halved recipe - probably because I filled the cups slightly less the second time around. 
  • Modifications: I have also made a halved portion of this recipe and it works fine. You can also bake this recipe in a normal 23-cm chiffon cake tin. 
  • Storage: The cupcakes stored well for a day or two (beyond that I've no idea because they were gone) but I'd presume that they should keep well in the fridge for at least a week. 
  • Would I make this again?: Definitely - it is a rather standard chiffon cake recipe which I turn to once in a while anyway :]
  • Note: I would advise using slightly higher cupcake liners to enable the cake to rise (it looks visually more appealing too). However, normal liners are fine too!

In pictures: 

PS: That crusty golden brown part is actually my favorite part of the cake. I ate a few of those tops and left the bottoms for my family...which led my mom to exclaim, "Which rat bit the cupcakes?" --> Of course she knew I ate them - I've this weird habit where I like to eat crusts - I like the last slice of the bread because it's the crust, same for the ends of the spring roll, etc... you get my drift. 

Oops the white balance is a little off here :/ 
As you can see, the inside of the cupcake still remains soft and fluffy, with a nice golden brown crusty exterior :] Since this is a chiffon cake in a cup, I'll be submitting this to Min for Aspiring Bakers #13: Enjoy Cupcakes! (November 2011)


Amelia said...

Hi, your Hokkaido chiffon looks delicious and fluffy. I like the cupcake liner, very pretty.

Awayofmind Bakery Hoiuse said...

I bought the same cupcake liner from ikea many months ago still keeping it because it is so beautiful :) Love your cupcake, it looks so fluffy, let me try some please!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the directions to JB. I din know there are now so many bus services to JB! wow... 4 hours daily... really no joke! hmm.... CCAs... ha... I belong to the ECAs generation! Saw the Hokkaido Chiffon cupcake with filling from your link. Interesting...

Unknown said...

Love the cupcakes post, especially the photography ! your skills are getting better and better !

Janine said...

@amelia: they are from ikea!

@ah tze: hehe mine are from many months ago as well but i decided to finally use them!

@fong: i belong to the ECA generation too - it changed halfway to CCA when I was in Primary school i think lol

@Jacob: thanks :) I've been picking up tips on blogs here and there!

WendyinKK said...

How very true that the bus system sucks in JB. I always needed to take taxi after returning from Singapore to get back to Larkin, oh yes, I stayed in Larkin for 11 months for my teacher's training thingy.
Hmm.. I think few years back I see bloggers doing HCC with some sort of filling in it, not a plain chiffon cupcake. But I don't know which version is true. It may have got twisted with time.

Zoe said...

Love your way you present these lovely cupcakes! Your photography skills are great!

Jeannie said...

Yes, looks like chiffon cakes but easier to eat as cupcakes...I just made Japanese cotton cheesecake which I think is also similar to chiffon cakes and baked them in papercups as well and they have the wrinkly top too! Oh well, as long as the taste is not compromised, it doesnt matter huh..

Min said...

I tried this before, a good recipe to try :) Love the way you described it, like 'eating clouds', haha, the cakes are really fluffy and light...will bake this again next time!

lena said...

being a malaysian, i've actually hvnt been to JB. Only passing by the town when getting to singapore. You are still so knowledgable abt all the buses going here and there, do you still travel to JHB a lot? I havnet done anything on hokkaido..cheesecake, bread or cakes but when the word hokkaido is mentioned, i know that its texture is light and soft..just like what you mentioned here. But it's my first time seeing those hokkaido cream in cakes from your link.

kitchen flavours said...

Your cupcake look so perfectly soft and spongy! I have not tried Hokkaido Chiffon Cakes before, but have seen and imagine their light and airy "sponginees"! I love the crinkly top! Looks "rustic" and nice!

daphne said...

I never had one of these cakes before despite seeing how popular they are. IT does look soft and amazing though!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

piping some cream inside this hokkaido chiffon and store in the fridge, like eating ice-cream with chiffon, yummy!

Anonymous said...

They look lovely and thanks for the honest review of the recipe! :)

Viv said...

this is soo neat - a chiffon cake in a cupcake container which means reduced baking time too! i think id totally dig this...esp its not too you find that you always have to reduce the sugar in recipes by half most times to get the "right" sweetness like me? heheh.

i wish i have some hokkaido milk to bake with..then i can see what a diff it makes compared to normal milk!

Janine said...

@wendy: the bus system is much better now, but still cannot compare with singapore of course. yeah i also don't know which is the 'real' version.

@zoe: thanks!

@jeannie: yeah wrinkly tops can be covered ;p

@min: glad to have reminded you of them!

@lena: yup i still go back to JB every week :) well, JB doesn't have much to offer, but shopping is cheap? lol

@daphne and kitchen flavors: thanks!

@sonia: ooh sounds good - will try that!

@lorraine: glad to have helped!

@viv: yeah - i reduce sugar dramatically, especially for the american recipes :X i wish i had hokkaido milk too! although I think australian full cream milk is generally very very rich already!

Elin Chia said...

Looks delish! soft and fluffy and your photos are great too. Thanks for sharing this :) Have a nice weekend!

Quay Po Cooks said...

WOW for the fluffy cupcake, WOW for the pretty cupcake liner and WOW for the beautiful photos!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

These look so cute! I recently had the good fortune to taste these at a recent food blogger gathering. And Hey, thanks for the instructions to go to JB.... but still scared leh... alot of crimes there....

shaz said...

Snap! I have the same cupcake wrappers (who's been shopping at IKEA then?) Wow, you used to commute to and from Singapore everyday? That's seriously hard-core. But thanks for all the cool baking shop tips, going to come in handy one day soon.

And the cupcakes look very, very fluffy, well done.

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