Ask A Chef

The experts from Humble Bakery – known for their artisanal scones and burnt cheesecakes – are here to help solve your kitchen woes.

Ever wondered why your cakes and bakes don’t turn out the way you want to? Homegrown brand Humble Bakery is here to help. Run by founders Tan Zhuo Guan, Glenn Lai and their new baker-partner Xieng Hui, the bakery is at the top of its game with its artisanal scones, burnt cheesecakes, brownies and cookies. Its products have been so popular that it has expanded from an online bakery to a cafe at One Raffles Place. It has also upped the ante by introducing more specialty bakes such as loaf cakes and choux puffs. Read on as the experts share their top tips for the best bakes and cakes.

Is there a difference between adding wet ingredients into dry vs adding dry ingredients into wet one?


It really depends on what you are making and the results you are trying to achieve! For instance, if you are making a butter cake, you will have to cream the butter with sugar first in order to create air cells for the cake to rise, followed by flour towards the end as you want less gluten to develop resulting in a more tender cake. If you are making bread, you would want to put liquids in first followed by dry as the other way round will result in dry flour being stuck to the side of the bowl.

When folding/whisking a mixture, is it necessary to do so in one direction only?


It is not necessary to whisk in one direction as air can be incorporated either way through whisking. For folding, it is in one direction most of the time as long as dry ingredients are incorporated. It is also smoother based on whichever hand you are using.

When baking burnt cheesecake, how do you make sure that the cake is not overburnt?


This would have to depend on your oven heat. Check the cheesecake surface for browning halfway through the baking time. As it starts to get darker, check the browning every two minutes (or even one minute if it starts to get burnt). Take out from the oven when the surface is burnt to your liking.

I made a chocolate pound cake. The recipe uses buttermilk, butter, sugar and cocoa powder/self-raising flour. I’m not sure if it’s because I split the recipe into two cake moulds instead of one but I followed the recipe to the T, yet it came out more crumbly and drier than usual. Any tips for a better moist cake?


Majority of pound cake recipes call for eggs, and this is a very important ingredient as it acts as a binder. It holds ingredients together and makes cakes less crumbly. I would recommend using a pound cake recipe that uses eggs. Keep an eye closely on the baking time to ensure the cake is not overbaked. After baking the cake, let it rest for five to 10 minutes to let it firm up, then remove it from the mould. Cover the cake with a cake dome/lid to create a moist environment. This will help to retain moisture in the cake as it cools. Remove the lid when the cake is lukewarm and let it cool completely. Alternatively, you can also brush the cake with milk or sugar syrup (plain or flavoured) when it is still hot and cooling down.

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