Category Archives: Cakes

{Daddy’s Girl} Strawberry Birthday Cake

There are photos. The ones you wish no one took. The ones that make you wish you were young again. The ones that remind you of the good ol’ days. The ones that you had forgotten existed. And then the best sort; the ones that make you smile and if you looked hard enough, takes you back to the exact moment it happened. You know the ones. It’s probably the photos you take out to show anyone who wants a peek into your life. Doesn’t really matter if the dress and glasses you had on looked super dorky. Or that you’re the chubby 4 year old that the other kids poked fun at. The truth is, dad was the best dance partner who had a few groovy boogie moves and mom took a mighty good photo.

Dad woke up in good spirits today, feeling rather smug he made it to 55 and still livin’ it up like the hipster he is. Surely he can’t be that old since we spent the last hour syncing his iPhone full of songs; Above and Beyond, Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi. Plus, the fact that he recognised the importance of having a birthday cake (sort of hinted I should bake him one…) makes him SUPER RAD.

Happy birthday dad!

Birthday Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese

1.5 recipe x GF Genoise; bake in 3 x 6inch round tins. Cool completely.
Strawberry Coulis
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
Creme Chantilly

Strawberry Coulis
250g frozen strawberries (frozen berries ensure consistency in flavour)
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp rose water OR 2 tsp Rose Syrup (I used Royal Rose NY)
1 tsp vanilla

1) Thaw berries in the microwave or overnight.
2) Process berries and its juices in the blender until smooth. Leave the seeds in.
3) Place the liquid berries into a small saucepan. Add in all other ingredients.
4) On medium heat, cook the sauce until it thickens. Allow to cool completely.

Strawberry Cream Cheese
250g cream cheese, room temperature
60g butter, room temperature
1.5 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup strawberry coulis

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth on LOW. Add in the icing sugar and beat well.
2) Slowly add in the strawberry coulis and beat well until combined on LOW. Use immediately or place in the fridge until ready to use.

Creme Chantilly
300ml whipping cream, very chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the cream and icing sugar until medium peaks form. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

To Assemble
1) Mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1 tsp vanilla. This is your imbibing syrup.
2) Take 1 of the genoise layers and brush with imbibing syrup. This is your bottom later.
3) Top layer with 2 tbsp of strawberry coulis and spread evenly across the layer. Using a piping bag fitted with a 10mm round piping tip, pipe the strawberry cream cheese filling over the coulis in a circular motion. Top with second layer. Repeat with coulis and cream cheese.
4) Top with 3rd layer and brush top with imbibing syrup. Cover cake top and sides with the creme chantilly. Sprinkle rainbow happiness with wild abandonment.

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[Kawaii] Love & Creme Chantilly Swiss Roll

I spent the last part of my work day meeting a Japanese magazine editor who’s here on a visit. With the help of the tour guide, I tried my hardest to speak to her. But it wasn’t the same as conversing with her directly, sans third party. So through my widest smile, hand gestures and head nods, we became friends, language barriers aside, I knew she liked Singapore, she knew I was excited to show her around. We had ice cream, with gula melaka (palm sugar) and adzuki beans. Talk about an appropriate coincidence.

I then really wished I could upload an intersect into my brain and be multilingual. Lost? You need to watch an episode of Chuck pronto.

Seriously though, is there a brain capacity on the number of languages one can learn without scrambling your brain? It’s hard enough for me to wrap my tongue around the different Chinese dialects, let alone a whole new foreign language. I spent a long time referring to a head as coconut and vice versa in Malay. Suppose they are the same shape… And they’re both gooey inside.

I’m in the midst of confirming a trip to Japan this Summer. Perhaps it shall present itself as a golden opportunity to pick up some touristy Japanese. My new Japanese friend has kindly offered to show me around, so maybe I’ll astound her with how adept I’ve become with the language…or just be really, really, really good at smiling and reading hand gestures.

Creme Chantilly Swiss Roll

1 x Sponge Roll
1 x Creme Chantilly

To Assemble

1) Trim off 2cm of the the sponge from each of the four sides. Eat.Mix3 tbsp warm water and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Brush over the sponge.

2) Spread all the creme chantilly on the remaining sponge until it’s 1cm from the edge.

3) Pick up the side of the baking paper closest to you and roll it in, towards you. Using the paper as a guide, keep rolling the sponge until you reach the end. Put it straight into the fridge to set. Enjoy!

Sponge Roll

For a 25cm x 25cm tray…

4.5 egg yolks
4.5 egg whites + 1.5 egg whites (separate bowls)
120g GF flour blend, rice-flour based
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (separate)
90g icing sugar
90ml water
60ml oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Line a 25cm x 25cm baking tray with parchment. Preheat oven to 170°C.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg yolks and 50g of the icing sugar until thick and lightened in colour. Add in the vanilla and water. Beat until well mixed.

3) Add in the oil and mix well until emulsified. Add in the flour and whisk until fully incorporated.

4) Spoon 3 tsp of the egg yolk mixture into the a separate bowl. Repeat so you have 2 bowls of egg yolk mixture. Add in 1/2 tsp of GF flour blend and 1 drop of desired food colouring (I used pink and red) into each bowl and mix well.

5) In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the 1.5 egg whites with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Divide the egg whites evenly between the two bowls of egg yolk mixture. Gently fold to incorporate. Using two teaspoons, create heart shapes on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 1 minute. Remove from oven while you prepared rest of sponge roll.

6) In the same clean, grease-free bowl, beat the remaining 4.5 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in the remaining 40g icing sugar and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and beat until stiff and opaque. Fold gently into remaining egg yolk mixture. Pour over the heart shapes and level the batter to ensure it bakes evenly. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before filling with creme chantilly.

Creme Chantilly

1 3/4 cup whipping cream, very well chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds until thickened and holds it’s peak. Do not overwhip of the cream will split. Either use immediately or chill in fridge to firm up before using.

 

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Plum Tray Bake with Lavender & White Chocolate Custard

Holiday plans work like coffee for me. Gives me that instant high, feeling all excited, imagining a whole new world of endless possibility.

Then there’s work.

Work isn’t bad. Work gives us the financial support for such day dreams of glorious sightseeing, late mornings and waking up in a place that allows you to be a new person; even if it’s just for a week. Work also makes the holidays so much better, it’s a bonus really! It’s like you paid the same amount as the dude next door, but because your job works you that much harder, you feel this much better. Score!

I like to make believe my work week gets lifted to loftier heights when I manage to squeeze in a bake session. Probably makes it even better when I feel utterly inspired and do something like whisk dried lavender flowers into my creme patisserie. And then it gets way groovier when I now have dessert sorted for the movie marathon with my man tomorrow.

What? It’s not Friday yet?!

Plum Tray Bake with Lavender & White Chocolate Custard

250g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
160g unsalted butter, softened
120g brown sugar
1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour (or  sorghum or buckwheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
400g plums, re-seeded and sliced about 1cm thick
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 18 x 28cm baking pan with greaseproof paper.

2) Add cream cheese, vanilla, caster sugar and 1 egg to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth.

3) Place butter, brown sugar, flour and remaining 3 eggs in a clean bowl and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Spread the flour mixture in the tray followed by half the cream cheese mixture, swirling gently to combine. Top with half the plums. Repeat the process with remaining flour mixture, cream cheese mixture and plums. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the cake and bake until golden. About 50-60 minutes.

4) Remove the plum tray bake from the oven, allow to cool, dust with some icing sugar and serve warm with custard.

Lavender and White Chocolate Custard

1 cup milk
300ml thickened cream
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp dried lavender flower buds
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g white chocolate, chopped

1) Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan until almost boiling. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar and egg yolks together int a bowl until lightened. Slowly pour the hot milk/cream into the egg yolk mixture, all the while whisking to ensure the yolks don’t screamble.

2) Return the mixture to the pot and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly. Add in the vanilla and dried lavender flower buds. When mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat immediately, whisking vigorously. Fold in the white chocolate until it has all melted. Run the custard through a sieve to remove lumps and flower buds. Serve with tray bake.

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[You’re My Favourite] Carrot Cake

You know he’s a keeper when he sees a bakery and thinks of you.

or cake.

or unicorns.

But mostly, you know he’s a keeper when he always lets you have the first bite of dessert. It’s almost better than opening doors and pulling out chairs. And not noticing (or maybe he does, but decides to let you get away with it anyway) you always choose to start eating a cake from the sides because there’s always more frosting there.

Today’s one of those rare days I’m home alone. No one’s doing anything else while I bask in the fact that it’s only Saturday afternoon and already I feel productive. There isn’t anyone on the phone, no one doing the ironing. It’s just me, pigtails, Chrysanthemums in a vase, carrot cake in the oven the murmuring of the fan.

Wait, we were talking about boys. Actually, let’s narrow it down to one specific one. The one who knows movie lines better than I do, writes postcards and thank you notes and understands me even when I’m speaking faster than a train. He sounds better behaved than I do. I can never find my keys, always blast my music way too loud and write letters but never post them. Do you have any idea how many unposted letters I have found in my drawers and bags!? The good news is that so far all the letters to him have made it.

At least I bake. People tend to be more forgiving when you have something sweet to offer. It’s a good decoy. “Hi officer, was I speeding? Wait, here’s some carrot cake, it’s even got frosting!”[cue: innocent smile]

Let me know if it works.

Try it out with this cake recipe. If the line doesn’t work, it’s probably you, definitely not the cake. Or maybe he hates carrots.

Carrot Cake (adapted from Dean Brettschneider)

250g GF flour blend
10g baking soda
10g ground cinnamon
4 eggs
150g brown sugar
100g caster sugar
370ml canola oil (or vegetable oil)
5ml vanilla extract
200g carrots, shredded
135g crushed pineapple, well drained

1) Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease and line a 9-inch round baking tin with greaseproof paper.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the eggs and sugars together until light in color and double in volume. Add in the oil and whisk to emulsify.

3) Whisk in the flour in 2 additions until there are no floury streaks. Remove bowl from mixer and using a spatula, fold in the carrots and pineapple until you get an even mixture. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 2-2.5 hours.

4) Remove from oven to cool and frost. Keep refrigerated.

Cream Cheese Frosting

115g cream cheese, softened
65g unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
200g icing sugar

1) Mix all together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add more icing sugar for a sweeter frosting or more zest/juice for a tarter one. Note that frosting will be more viscous with extra lemon juice.

Tadah- Now you can bake a Get Out of Jail Free card!

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Toffee Pudding with Ginger and Chocolate

At some point, I’m going to have to admit it. My idea of a great weekend consists of some part of it being slightly fuzzy, in this slightly happy state of yeah.

Yeah.

Am I making sense?

Like when you’re trying to put on your 4-inch heels and realising you’ve been trying to put right to left for the past 5 seconds…and then just having a small laugh to yourself, and going yeah.

Or when lunch consists of fried rice and fresh mango. Yeah.

Left your cell phone on the charger at home, on the bed. Yeah.

Walked out of the store without taking back your credit card and the new necklace you just bought. Yeah.

Store assistant rings your mobile phone 8 times and you can’t answer because you don’t have your phone. Yeah.

The whole house smells like toffee and butter. So does your hair. Yeah.

Gym at 4pm…errrr…yeah?

You get my drift. It’s like when you’re almost unfazed by anything because there’s a slight cloud of something which is almost making everything seem fairly ordinary. Yeah.

Can we just apply this to all the things that try to get us down? The things I stress about on a daily basis when there are 1000 things way more important happening concurrently? I need to prioritise the things that I place importance on and remind myself that some days, like today, it’s really liberating to say “big fat hairy deal”.

I hope you’re having a hazy, good day. I know I am. And I smell like toffee!

Toffee Pudding with Ginger and Chocolate (adapted from Best Desserts by The Australian Women’s Weekly)

3 3/4 cups dates, pitted
3 cups hot water
2 tsp baking soda
2 3/4 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
185g butter, unsalted and softened
6 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crystalised ginger, chopped finely
3/4 cup dark chocolate, 55% and above, chopped roughly

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a large rectangle tin, roughly 35 x 25cm, with parchment.

2) In a large pot, bring the dates and hot water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add in the baking soda. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before whisking to break up the dates.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until lightened in colour. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well. Mix the flours and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add the dates and flour mix into the creamed mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour.

4) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the ginger and chocolate all over the top. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Serve warm with butterscotch sauce.

Butterscotch Sauce

250g butter, unsalted
2 cup brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream

1) Place all the ingredients in a large pot and simmer until all the sugar had dissolved and butter has melted. Allow to simmer further for 3-4 minutes. You may stir the mixture to quicken the cooking process. Allow to cool slightly before serving with pudding.

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Boozy Lemon Polenta Cardamom Cake

It’s been a good weekend. The sort of weekend you feel you’re not really in the same country. It’s great how doing something entirely different from your regular routine can add a little sparkle into an otherwise ‘it-passed-too-fast’ weekend.

My best friend and I decided we should head to the zoo. I wanted to see the polar bears; she the giraffes. Pity the polar bear enclosure wasn’t open (renovations were underway to merge it with a new project) so luckily Nisa managed to feed the giraffes, or we might’ve found smelling like that totally no worth it.

A lunch spread later, we found her car had contracted a case of flat tyre caused by a nail which we possibly ran over while driving and singing Kelly Clarkson’s Mr Know it All (or in my case, MISS know it all. Bottomline; don’t judge if you haven’t a clue!) ANYWAY, being the resourceful girls we are, a phone call was made, and the car was saved. We even managed to catch a movie!

If your idea of a good time is laughing so hard you’re crying, and then deciding that at the end of the movie, you’d like to watch it all over again, I strongly recommend watching What’s Your Number. Anna Faris is cute and Chris Evans is known as the human torch for a bloody good reason.

Hello my name is Victoria and I’m addicted to highly attractive men.

And cake.

Boozy Lemon Polenta Cardamom Cake

200g butter, unsalted and softened
150g sugar
220g almond meal
100g polenta
1.5 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 tbsp Amaretto
1 tbsp Limoncello
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 8-capacity mini loaf tin. This recipe makes 7 full mini loaves.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and lightened in colour. You can also do this by hand with a big bowl and a wooden spoon.

3) Beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat on medium-high until blended through. Divide the mixture evenly into 7 of the 8 loaves. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

4) Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out. The loaves are served upside down. Prick the loaves with a skewer and pour the syrup over the top. Allow to absorb and cool completely before topping with lemon glaze. I added some Indian candy floss-like confectionery on top but don’t stress if you haven’t any.

Soaking Syrup

1/2 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp hot water
2 tsp Cardamom-Clove Syrup from Royal Rose (or you can try using a strong Chai tea instead of water)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1) Mix well in a bowl and ensure there are no lumps.

 

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An Edible Bouquet

This is a post dedicated to my amazing grandmother who has just turned 81, yet manages to look not a day older than 61. She’s one of those women who’s a clear example of living to the fullest. She still drives around (in fact, she got a new car for her birthday!), joins her friends for dancing, jets off on holidays and returns with many stories to tell. Actually, most of my aunts find it rather hard to keep up with her fashionable self. And like all grandmothers, she is the best cook. No, really, I know you’re thinking I’m being slightly biased, but I tell no lies.

So, Happy Birthday Grandma! I can only hope to be as rockin’ as you when I’m all grown up.

 

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