Category Archives: Fruit

{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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Filed under Cakes, Frostings, Fruit, Recipes, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Cakes, Chocolate, Custard, Fruit, Inspired, Recipes

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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Filed under Cakes, Fruit, Nuts, Recipes

{Way Too Pink} Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins

I’ve battled with this for ages and as much as I hate to admit it sometimes, the people around me have got it right all along.

I’m a girly girl.

Yeah, I don’t stress too much when I break a nail or if my hair gets unruly but take me to a store and I make a beeline for anything pink, glittery and cute. My compass is dead set on this as a criteria for anything that catches my eye. Rock chick was so 6 years ago, when I was 17 I believe.

So imagine how difficult it was not to have anything too pink in my newly decorated room. I caved, bought myself a set of Lilo and Sitch sheets and another set that’s white with a reversible option of pink. All that girly goodness hidden under a snow white duvet; wait til they lift the covers! But I swear I sleep better on pink, really.

And to explain my recent disappearance (12 days!), I’ve been away in Australia to visit Fred. Last minute decisions are rather exciting, especially when you book your tickets the day before you intend to fly. I may love pink but I’m borderline danger-lover. I arrived home early this morning to discover there was no food for my empty stomach. So I baked, and one hour later, had tall muffins in pink glaze to soothe my sore butt and jet lagged brain. I’ll make it through the day just fine.

Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins (adapted loosely from The Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook)
Makes 6 muffins

60g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour (or use buckwheat, sorghum or millet)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
100g (a little less than 1/2 cup) plain yoghurt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp strawberry jam

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 6-cavity muffin tin with paper liners.

2) Cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract together in a stand mixer until fluffy. Mix the flours, baking soda and baking powder together.

3) Add the egg into the butter and beat well. It will look rather watery but will come together after you add in 1/4 cup of the flour mix.

4) Add in half the yoghurt and  beat well. Mix in the remaining flour and yoghurt . Stir in the jam until mixed through. Using a spatula, gently fold in the berries. Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Top with strawberry glaze.

Strawberry Glaze

2 tbsp strawberry jam
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp warm water, or more if needed

1) Mix the jam, icing sugar and 2 tsp of warm water together until you get a smooth glaze. If glaze is too stiff, add in 1 tsp of water at a time until you reach a slightly runny but still opaque glaze. Use immediately.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Fruit, Muffins, Recipes

Lemon Meringue Bars

Today someone asked me why I didn’t want to be a fashion blogger since I’m obsessed with adding new things to be wardrobe all the time. I didn’t really know how to answer them. Do I like food more than I love pretty things? I love things; especially ones that make the usual me feel like SHAZAAAAMMM!!! me. Like those wide leg, high waisted flare jeans.

I came up with something half decent as she stared at me, waiting for an answer.

I don’t like taking full body photos of me and if I were to be a fashion blogger, that’s the sort I’d be. So see, it’s not that I didn’t want to…I couldn’t. Physical limitations.

Food on the other hand, can also get quite fussy. Thank goodness you can eat them after all the effort. It’s the washing up that realllyyy reeks. And the slaving over a hot stove part. You can’t win it all.

So I found a great way to satisfy my need to dress up and keep this blog going…super cute aprons! Don’t feel bad if you need to wear a string of pearls or have winged eye-liner on while you bake; I totally get what you mean.

Dad went straight for it after the photos

Besides, you never know when company’s coming, especially if you’re going to be baking these succulent, buttery lemon meringe bars. You can’t possibly answer the door looking like that.

Lemon Meringue Bars (adapted from The Essential Baker & The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread)

Base
1 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
156g cold butter, unsalted

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line a 9 x 13 baking tray with parchment.

2) Dice butter into 2-inch cubes and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes while you gather the remaining ingredients.

3) Mix the flours, icing sugar and salt together.

4) Do this either in a food processor or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment: Pour 1/2 of the flour mix and all the cold butter into the mixing bowl and (food processor) pulse on and off until the butter starts mingling with the flour. Add in the remaining flour and pulse until it comes together to form a dough. (Stand mixer) Do the same, but have the motor running on medium-low until you get a dough. Do not over mix. Place the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers, ensuring the dough covers the base of the pan and about 1/2 inch up the sides, to prevent filling from flowing over.

5) Place in the freezer for 10 minutes and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and pour filling over the base. Bake for another 20 minutes or until filling has just set. Top with meringue either by dolloping heaping spoonfuls over the lemon filling or piping it in swirls and stuff. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely before slicing. It’s even better when it’s been refrigerated for 3-4 hours.

Filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp GF flour blend
145g lemon juice (about 5/8 cup)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp whole milk
pinch of salt

1) Mix all the ingredients together and whisk well.

Meringue
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1) Place the egg white, sugar an cream of tartar in a bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until an instant-read thermometer registers 60°C. It will look thick and foamy. Remove from pan and place bowl on the mixer and whisk on high speed until you get a glossy shiny meringue which holds stiff peaks.

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Filed under Bars, Fruit, Pastry, Recipes

Hummingbird Cupcakes

I like Katy Perry and all the electric bubblegum pop magic she does. She makes me want to boogie.

Okay, she probably won’t say the word boogie. Maybe something a little more down like…party. Yes, that’s it. She makes me wish every night was Friday night.

I like Ke$ha too. Or as the principal in Glee says…. “K dollar sign HA”. Love.

Fred has basically lumped my song choices into the category of trashy pop. He’s just jealous I get to admit I’m the biggest Top 40 freak, grooving to Britney and Christina. Once, I even made a tee that said I heart Britney and Christina. Trust me, when you grow up having to pick a side, it was a big deal to blatantly say hot damn, I love ’em both.

I’m applying this to cream cheese frosting. You need to pick sides; sweet or sour. But do we really need to argue about this? Can’t we all just get along? I’m in Camp Sweet when it comes to my red velvets (no vanilla buttercream for me!) and then hop over to Camp Sour for carrot cake. Then, I’m definitely in Camp Sweet & Sour for banana cake and hummingbird cake. Are you as dead-set on this as I am?

So, two days ago, I was craving cream cheese frosting. And I needed a cake to go along with it. So I made Hummingbird Cupcakes. Only thing is that I think I should’ve added more pineapple because it’s more like a banana cupcake with pineapple. Hummingbird cake is essentially that but, the ratio was a little off. Bottomline: add more pineapple if you’re wanting more hummingbird than banana.

Hummingbird Cupcakes (adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

2 cups GF flour blend
1/2 cup GF oat flour
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 cup caster sugar
270g banana, mashed
100g pineapple rings, chopped into small chunks (add more if desired)
3 eggs
300ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line 18 muffin holes with paper liners.

2) In a bowl, mix the flours and baking soda together.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar on medium-high until it’s thick and tripled in volume. Slowly add in the oil and vanilla extract, beat until emulsified.

4) Change the whisk attachment to a paddle attachment and beat in the flour in 3 additions. Add in the mashed banana and mix well. Add in the pineapple chunks, mix to combine.

5) Divide the batter between the muffin holes and bake for 20-23 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

250g cream cheese, softened slightly
80g butter, softened slightly
2-3 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2 cups icing sugar together until creamy. Add in the cream cheese and lemon juice. Beat well. Keep adding in the icing sugar if the frosting is too soft. Frost cupcakes!

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Filed under Breakfast, Cupcakes, Frostings, Fruit, Recipes

Citrus Loaf with Mascarpone & Yoghurt

Women love men who make them laugh. Apparently men don’t find that as important in a female. Is that how I rationalise my love for Steve Carrell?

Sorry, random thought. DJs over the radio were talking about that.

Wait.

So, what’s the equivalent of funny for women? Knowing the perfect time to laugh? Killer dress sense? Or… being able to cook. But hang on… I find men who like to cook attractive too. So basically, men are easier to appear attractive in comparison to women? It’s true though. Who says we’re a difficult bunch?

Thank god I already have Fred. I don’t think I’ve got enough balls to handle this dating game.

I much prefer eating cake and applying bubblegum pink lip gloss. Doesn’t necessarily have to be in that order.

(That’s my massively cute and annoying little sister who’s got her hands on my cake!)

But I suppose everyone’s got their own ‘deal-maker’. You know, like a dude who loves dogs, or irons all his shirts, prefers Vodka over Bourbon or… knows how to dance? Then there are also the ‘deal-breakers’ which usually fall within the scope of him being a murderer, thinking socks and sandals counts as covered footwear or… refusing to share his dessert.

It’s ok. Here’s a recipe that makes one loaf, enough to make 6 slices, and you don’t have to share. Plus it keeps well, in case you’re spending any nights over at someone else’s home. Or waiting until everyone’s out of the house.

Citrus Loaf

1 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 egg yolks
1.5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon oil
grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup sliced almond

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line a 8 x 4inch loaf tin with parchment.

2) In a bowl, mix the flours and baking powder together.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.

4) Add in the egg yolks and eggs into the creamed mixture in 3 additions, beating well after each time. Mix in the vanilla, lemon oil, lemon zest and orange zest.

5) Add in the flour and heavy cream alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well until batter is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and scatter the sliced almonds over the cake. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

6) Remove from oven and brush the soaking syrup over the cake.

Orange Soaking Syrup

Juice of 1 large orange
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over a moderate flame, stirring. Reduce the heat and let it reduce until you get a slightly sticky syrup, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Mascarpone & Yoghurt Topping

1/4 cup Mascarpone
1/2 cup Greek Style Yoghurt
2 tbsp icing sugar

1) Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Pink Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Last evening we celebrated our 46th National Day, Singapore’s birthday. For those who are unfamiliar, Singapore’s a little island city located past the tip of Malaysia. We’re not in China and we certainly don’t live in trees (someone asked me this!). I could tell you all the glorious things about Singapore but words aren’t enough to describe it all. Instead, here’s what I like to say…I wish I could HUG Singapore. Give it a big, tight bear hug. I even baked her a cake! It’s (almost) in our national colours; red and white. Plus it’s four layers tall, so grow Singapore, GROW!

National day is a big deal around here. There’s a spectacular parade which ends in a colourful bursting of fireworks. Everyone comes over because you can catch it from our window. It’s a thing we do. And we wear red and white too. It’s very festive and probably the only time I don’t mind wearing the same outfit as the next person. If you reaaalllyy wanted to join in, here’s my favourite National Day song. We have a new one every year, this was from awhile back but it still makes me tear. Watch it here.

Notice the much nicer photos for today’s post? Thanks to my cousin C who’s so handy with his camera, I get an extra pretty blog post today! Such are the perks of having multi-talented individuals as family.

And without further ado, here’s the stunner of a pink cake. The strawberry flavour is all natural, and I’m so pleased the frozen berries managed to impart such a true, true flavour permeating through the fuschia layers. Frozen berries are reliable for being tasty at any time of the year so I’m sticking to them.

Pink Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream
1) Pink strawberry butter cake
2) Vanilla bean buttercream
3) Strawberry puree

Pink Strawberry Butter Cake (adapted from Sky High by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne)
*I made a half recipe

1 3/4 cup GF flour blend
1/2 cup oat flour
1 cup sugar
2 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp strawberry puree (recipe below)
4 egg whites
1/3 cup milk

1) Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line two 6-inch round baking tins with parchment.

2) In the bowl of a standmixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Meanwhile, mix the flours and baking powder in a medium bowl.

3) In another bowl, mix the egg whites and milk together.

4) Add the flour mix and strawberry puree into the creamed butter and mix well (it will look like strawberry icecream!). Add in the egg and milk mixture in 3 additions, mixing well before adding the next. Turn mixer up to medium high and beat for 30 seconds.

5) Divide mixture evenly into the prepared tins and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from baking tin. Let cool completely.

6) To assemble, slice each cake into 2 even layers. Place one layer on the bottom of the plate andspread a layer of strawberry puree on it. Freeze for 10 minutes to allow the puree to set before spreading a layer of vanilla bean buttercream on it. Top with the next layer but this time, spread the vanilla bean buttercream directly on it, no need for strawberry puree. Repeat with the next layer, spreading strawberry puree, freezing and then vanilla buttercream. Top with the final layer and spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake.

Strawberry Puree

3/4 pound frozen strawberries, thawed

1) Blend the berries and it’s juices until you reach a smooth puree. If it’s still semi cold, microwave it in bursts of 15 seconds until it reaches room temperature. Use 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp for the cake.

2) Place the remaining in a small saucepan and reduce over a medium flame, stirring constantly, until get a thickened puree. Remove from heat and let cool.This is for the cake layers.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3 sticks butter, softened
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

1) Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a standmixer or heat proof bowl set over a bain marie. Heat the mixture, whilst whisking gently, until you reach 55°C. Remove from heat immediately and whisk on high until you get a thick glossy meringue. (It’ll take about 5-8 minutes by machine and probably 10 by a hand held electric whisk).

2) Beat in the butter using a paddle attachment (I guess you’d continue with the hand held whisk if you’re taking that route) until buttercream comes together into a light but firm consistency. If it looks goopy, just keep whisking! Whisk in vanilla bean seeds. Set aside until ready to frost cake.

 

 

 

 

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Tres Leches Cake with Mango

Have you ever tried typing  ‘how to’ into the Google search bar and see what suggestions come up? Here are a few…

1) How to go
2) How to grow taller
3) How to tie a tie

I do this fairly frequently. It keeps me occupied. If you were wondering, you can grow taller naturally…there’s a whole guide written for this sole purpose. Do you think it still works when I’m 22? I’d love to look better in capri pants and still have my knees working for me when I’m 55. I heard high heels are pretty damaging. I should Google that.

Another way I keep myself plenty busy is to bake something that requires me to invest a fair bit of time and thinking. Bar cookies with many layers work, so do layer cakes. Anything that requires assembling like trifle or Tiramisu and consists of a thousand components usually help too. But I always vote layer cakes, because they’re actually my favourite dessert. And since we’d all love to have a little extra cash to get takeout for dinner (who wants to cook after making all that mess baking?), I’m voting Tres Leches cake this time around. Basically I’ve realised that anything that doesn’t require a load of butter and chocolate tend to be a whole lot friendlier on my pocket.

Since I’m writing, I might as well let you in on the DETAILS OF MY FIRST TIME…eating Tres Leches. It was in New York and it was good. It isn’t a layer cake like this one, but more a one level, no mess type of thing. Whipped topping might have been substituted for whipped cream but I ain’t no food snob y’all and it tasted mighty fine. And since then I’ve been itching to bake one of my own. TA-DAH!

So if there’s anyone who’s even later than me on trying the wonder that is Tres Leches, let me break it down for you. It’s essentially an airy sponge cake make downright decadent with a drenching of a thick, rich milk sauce made from…3 types of milk! And to even out the richness, a healthy slather of whipped cream is slapped on and I even threw in some fresh mango for colour and good flavour.It’s soft, but not mushy. Sweet but still light. Really, it’s an oldie but a goodie!

THE RECIPE…makes a large amount of milk sauce. I used half and my sponges were bathing in a sufficient amount of liquid to keep it moist without falling apart. And don’t be put off by the amount of milk and sugar you think you’re putting into the thing…it’s not going to be too sweet.

LASTLY, I’m late for this month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free event hosted over at The Whole Gang but if I had to pick a dessert to suit this month’s theme of grand finale desserts, I think I’d go with this Tres Leches. Maybe in chocolate form…or with more rum. Whatever it is, when it’s the end, I better have a little somethingsomething to mark the occasion.

Mango Tres Leches

Sponge (adapted from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson)
1 cup GF Flour blend
3/4 cup caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 eggs, seperated, at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp water, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2) Mix the flour, 6 tbsp of the sugar, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, oil, water and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the flour mix and stir vigorously to combine. Mixture will be thick.

4) In a clean bowl of a stand mixer, add in the egg whites and whisk until frothy. Mix the remaining sugar with the cream of tartar and slowly add it into the frothy egg whites while the motor is running. Whisk on high until stiff, but not dry peaks form.

5) Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until almost completely combined. Add in remaining egg whites and fold gently but quickly until no more streaks of white remain. Tip into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

6) Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a knife and turning it out into the rack. Remove parchment paper and re-invert onto wire rack (it’s easier if you have 2 racks handy). After cake has cooled completely, slice into half horizontally. Have two 8-inch pans ready (or really, just a pan big enough to hold the cake layers whilst they soak). Line a large piece of plastic wrap over each of the tins so it covers most of the bottom and hangs over the sides. Place 1 half into each tin. Prepare the Tras Leches mixture below.

Tres Leches

1 cup heavy cream
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp dark rum (optional)

1) In a medium saucepan, mix the heavy cream, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt. Bring to a bowl and immediately remove from heat.

2) Stir in the condensed milk and rum, mixing well to ensure it is completely incorporated. Pour the warm milk mixture over the prepared sponges and leave it to soak for 3 hours in the fridge and 30 minutes in the freezer (this makes it easier to assemble).

Filling and Topping

1.5 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large mango, half chopped into 1-inch pieces and half roughly chopped (for the top)

1) In a bowl of a standmixer, whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in the icing sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until firm peaks form.

TO ASSEMBLE

1) Remove one half of the sponge onto a cake base or serving plate. Fill with 1/3 of the whipped cream and 1-inch mango pieces.

2) Top with second layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining cream. Top with mango chunks. Milk mixture from cake will continue to seep out but it’s normal! :) Lasts for about 3 days.

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Filed under Cakes, Fruit, Recipes

Whimsy Peach Cupcakes

My dad can’t do many things like take me through my Science homework or endure hours of shopping. He’s often out of town, so chauffeuring us from classes was mom’s department. And, let’s not even get started on dressing advice; it goes a little like the lower the heels the better (seeing that I’m already a head taller than him). But my dad is a pretty cool dude.

I remember when I wanted to catch Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty Tour whilst we were holidaying in Brisbane. Don’t know what he did, but he scored 3 tickets to a sold out concert. Then there was teaching me to ride a bike and giving me boy advice. “I’ve been a boy once, I know what they’re like. Don’t be stupid’. Good stuff.

But my dad’s really my best salesperson. He’s always there, at any party, ready to sell my baking to anyone who’ll listen. He’ll eat anything I bake, usually at any time of the day. And you know what’s awesome? He’s usually happy about it. So though I’m like a bazillion miles away, here’s a whole tray of peach cupcakes, food for the soul, and it’s got fruit too!

On a side note, I was at Red Hook yesterday and picked up a very interesting potion. It’s by a little company called Royal Rose and it’s a Lavender and Lemon simple syrup. It smells floral and critusy, and totally fresh. I didn’t have vanilla extract on hand so I used this to flavour my cake instead and it managed to impart a light floral sweetness without being overly anything (not too lemony or lavender-y). I liked it, perhaps not something I’d resort to for a high impact lavender flavour, but it’s really just pretty.

Also, this will be my entry to Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free! for the month of June. It’s all about dads this time around. I can’t wait to see what all the dads out there are being spoilt with this month!

Scented Vanilla Cupcakes (makes 24)

2 cups white rice flour
1/2 cup GF oat flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch flour
1/4 sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon + 2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla extract (or any other flavouring; I used a lavender-lemon syrup)
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
5 eggs, room temperature
2 sticks + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup caster sugar

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners.

2) Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time.

3) Mix the flours, baking powder and salt together. Add the flavouring syrup to the milk.

4) Add in the flour and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Beat on high for 30 seconds. Divide evenly into cupcake tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

5) Leave to cool for 10 minutes in tray before removing to cool completely.

Peach Buttercream

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp Lavender-Lemon syrup or any other flavouring of choice (I’d go for lemon or vanilla)
1 large, very ripe peach

1) Cut the peach up into segments and crush with your hands. Strain the juice from the peach. Also, set aside some of the flesh and the pink skin.

2) In a bowl, beat the butter and 3 cups of icing sugar together. Add in the Lavender-Lemon syrup and 2 tbsp of the peach juice. Beat well. If icing is too soft, keep adding the icing sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until the desired consistency.

3) Mix in the peach flesh and skin. This will impart some colour and bite. Frost cupcakes.

To Assemble

Place a heaping tablespoon of the frosting on each cupcake. Swirl with a palette knife and top with extra peaches if desired.

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Filed under Cupcakes, Frostings, Fruit, Recipes